Trees on public Council land

Find out about the Council's pruning and tree removal policies and practices on public land.

The Council prunes public trees

Our Tree Team routinely monitors tree conditions in the city and prunes them only when necessary, for example, if they obstruct:

  • power cables
  • footpaths or roads
  • street lighting
  • vehicle access to public areas
  • traffic signage and visibility at intersections

The Council does not prune trees that block views or cast shade.

Find out if a tree is on your property:

Roadside boundaries – who is responsible for what

Trees on private property

Pruning practices

The Council's arborists prune trees according to international best practices to manage risk and maintain tree health and lifespan. They are approved contractors through the New Zealand Arboriculture Association (NZAA).

Tree-topping and height reduction

We do not practice tree topping (removing whole tops of trees or large branches from the tops of trees) for the following reasons:

  • Trees that are topped are more likely to decay.
  • Re-growth is often weak and can break off creating a safety issue.
  • New growth is often a quickly formed thick canopy that causes too much shading.

What public trees does the Council remove?

We only remove public trees that are dead, dying, or dangerous to people or property.

A tree is removed:

  • if it is diseased or dead
  • if it is causing a traffic safety problem-reducing visibility or obstructing the road or footpath
  • to preserve other trees
  • if it is assessed as high risk (size, angle, storm-damaged).

Trees are not removed:

  • to preserve or create views for properties
  • to reduce shade or leaf litter
  • because of roosting birds
  • for private property development.

Costs for requested work on public trees

Occasionally, the Council receives requests for public tree pruning or removal for private benefit – for example, to build a garage or retaining wall.

It is our preference to keep trees when possible. Any work on public trees will include a consultation with a Council arborist to make sure an adequate plan is in place to protect the trees.

If we do allow the work, you may have to plant replacements or make a payment. The cost depends on:

  • how much you or the Council would directly benefit from the work
  • how urgent or necessary the work is.

Vegetation Removal – Replacement Planting and Payment Guidelines (61KB PDF) | Text version (12KB RTF)

Need help?

If it's urgent (for example a fallen or dangerous tree) phone our Contact Centre any time 04 499 4444.