Trees on My Property

Council’s commitment to preserving the legacy of Hornsby Shire’s bushland within the urban environment means if you want to carry out any pruning or removal of the trees on your property, generally, you will need to apply for a permit.

If you do need a permit, then it will be assessed by one of Council’s qualified arborists using current industry methodologies and standards.

In some instances, an exemption may apply. These exemptions do not apply if the tree is located within a/an:

  1. Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)
  2. Locally Significant Ecological Community (SEC)
  3. Endangered or Critically Endangered Ecological Community (EEC or CEEC)

Find out if your property is in an HCA, SEC or EEC


In accordance with Council’s Tree Preservation Chapter exemptions
  1. You can remove a tree where you have provided Council evidence in the form of photographic or video imagery and/or conjunction with a written statement from an arborist holding a Diploma in Arboriculture:
    1. It is dead, and it is not the habitat of native wildlife or
    2. It is an imminent risk to human life and / or is likely to cause substantial damage to your property.
  2. You can remove a tree if it is listed under the NSW Biosecurity Act, 2015
  3. Removal of deadwood for the purpose of tree maintenance in accordance with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees, 2007 (AS4373-2007)
  4. Live branches can be pruned only where they are causing nuisance eg if touching your roof you can prune up to 10% of the leaf canopy (area) of a tree on your property
  5. You can remove a tree within three (3) metres of an approved dwelling (excluding detached garages, carports and other buildings ancillary to a dwelling / house). This measurement must be taken from the trunk of the tree to the external wall of the building at 1.4 meters above ground level.
  6. You can remove a tree that is less than three (3) metres in height if;
    1. If it does not have the potential to achieve a height greater than three (3) metres at maturity
    2. It is not located within native bushland
    3. It is less than 150mm in diameter when measured at the base
  7. You can remove a tree if it is on Council’s list of exempt tree species
  8. If the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has designated your property to be in a 10/50 area, you may have access to the entitlement to remove:
    1. Trees within 10 metres of your home,
    2. Vegetation / shrubs within 50 metres of your home

All work must be undertaken in accordance with the 10/50 code of practice. Enquiries for the application of the code of practice need to be made directly to the RFS.

You will need a permit to prune or remove any tree or vegetation if your property falls into one of these categories
  1. You wish to undertake tree work which is not to address issues of nuisance
  2. You wish to remove or prune greater than 10% of a tree
  3. It is in a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA), has heritage conditions or is heritage listed
  4. It is mapped as Biodiversity on the HLEP Terrestrial Biodiversity Map
  5. It is home to threatened species or contains native vegetation, which is habitat for threatened species, populations or ecological communities
  6. The trees on your property (alive or dead) are within an Endangered or Critically Endangered Ecological Community (EEC or CEEC). This is regardless of the size or proximity of the tree/s to an approved dwelling. Trees in this category may also need a licence or approval from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage or Commonwealth Department of Environment.
  7. You have been issued a development consent that requires trees to be retained, or replanted
  8. A development application is required for the removal of a number of trees
  9. You have a property in a designated 10/50 area but do not have the green tick because:
    1. Your property is a heritage site, located within a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) or
    2. Your property is assessed to be a Regionally Significant, Threatened Species or Endangered or Critically Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC or CEEC)
Use our Tree Prune/Removal Decision Tool to determine if you can prune or remove a tree located on your property

Tree Prune/Removal Decision Tool

Please follow the application process below to request a permit which will be assessed by one of Council’s qualified arborists.

The owner of the property needs to complete the consent on the permit application form. Permission by property type includes:

  • Property owner – living in the property
  • Property owner – renting out the property (tenant are not eligible to provide permission)
  • Authorised officer of a Strata or Company title property
  • Body Corporate of Strata where the tree is located on common property
    • Shared common property (between 2 properties) permission of both property owners
    • Shared common property (between 3 properties or more) the permission of the Body Corporate is required under its seal on letterhead.

To complete an application and pay online, visit the online services portal below:

Apply online

To download an application, click the link below:

Application to Prune or Remove a Tree

Any tree approved to be removed from a site must be replaced with a tree of like habit and indigenous to Hornsby Shire, planted as near as practicable to the location of the removed tree, grown to maturity and replaced if the planting fails to survive and thrive in accordance with Council’s Green Offsets Code.

Hornsby Shire Council holds several open days each year, giving away free native plants to encourage the ecosystem of our Bushland Shire.

Visit the Native Plant Giveaway page for more information.

When submitting an Arboricultural Report for a Tree Application or an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) for a Development, Council requires you to prepare the report using the attached report guidelines.

Guidelines for Preparing an Arborist report