Trees on Private 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 trees on private 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 in 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. The tree owner may 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. The removal of a tree less than 3 metres in height not located within native vegetation
  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. Trees on private property (alive or dead) that 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

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

Hornsby Shire Council does not provide recommendations for tree contractors to undertake arboricultural work.

It is advised you contact a professional Tree Contractor that is a member of the Tree Contractors Association to ensure that you use a professional, fully qualified and insured tree contractor to undertake works on your tree. Refer to the Tree Contractors Association website and select the ‘Find an Arborist’ link.

As tree work is an inherently dangerous task, it is recommended that you engage a Tree Contractor with appropriate qualifications and demonstrated competence in tree pruning and removal works.

When selecting a Tree Contractor to undertake tree pruning or removal works on your property, Hornsby Shire Council recommends the following:

  • Familiarise yourself with Council’s DCP – Hornsby Council Development Control Plan 1B.6 Tree and Vegetation Preservation and discuss with the contractor.
  • Complete Councils online tool to determine if an application is required for the proposed works
  • Familiarise yourself with advice from SafeWork NSW on engaging a professional Tree Contractor
  • Obtain a minimum of three (3) written quotes that includes details of all proposed work and includes business name and ABN, contact details and costs.
  • Sight the contractor’s Public Liability Insurance Certificate and Worker’s Compensation Certificate (Public Liability Insurance should be for a minimum of $20million)
  • Check contractor’s qualifications and industry associations. A contractor should have at least a formal qualification in Arboriculture (AQF Level 2) and/or preferably should have an AQF Level 3 qualification
  • Agree on the extent of work to be undertaken
  • Only pay the Tree Contractor only upon satisfactory completion of the work

Fair Trading NSW recommends that you protect yourself from travelling conmen and complaints and be suspicious of people who:

  • Turn up unexpectedly offering special one-off or today-only deals
  • Ask for cash up-front
  • Offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment
  • Pressure you into accepting their offer
  • Disappear and leave the job unfinished or in a poor standard

Fair Trading NSW can be contacted at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call direct on 13 32 20.

Hornsby Shire Council does not provide recommendations for Arboricultural Consultants to advice or reports on trees.

Should you wish to seek advice on your trees, it is advised you contact a Consulting Arborist with appropriate qualifications and demonstrated competence in providing the advice or service you require. Refer to the Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturists (IACA) website to find a consulting arborist.

The consulting arborist can inspect your trees and provide advice on their health and condition. A consulting arborist can undertake a ground-based visual inspection of the tree and/or use diagnostic testing to provide you with a written report detailing management options.

To ensure the Arboricultural report is accepted by Council and considered as part of your Tree Application, the report must be written in accordance with Councils Guidelines for Preparing an Arborist Report.

It is advised you provide a copy of the Arboricultural Report Guideline to your arborist prior to them producing their report.

Hornsby Council Development Control Plan 1B.6 Tree and Vegetation Preservation is made in accordance with State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (the Vegetation SEPP). It requires a focus on retaining and protecting trees unless there are strong reasons for removal.

The following are NOT considered reasons for tree removal or pruning where there is evidence the tree is healthy and has no major structural issues:

  • Flower, leaf, fruit, seed or sap fall
  • Belief the tree too large or high
  • Insects and animals e.g. possums jumping from tree to roof or cockatoos damaging the property or scale insects causing sooty mould or spiders in the tree
  • Reduce bird or animal droppings
  • Termite infestation where the structural stability of the tree is not affected
  • Increasing natural light, including for solar access/panels
  • Enhancing views
  • Tree does not suit the existing or proposed landscaping
  • Lifting of driveways, paths and paving where there are alternatives to solve problems and retain the tree
  • Damage to building ancillary to a dwelling house, detached garages, carports, roof structures, outbuildings, footpaths, garden structures, retaining walls, driveways and fences
  • Damage to underground services such as sewer and water pipes and where there are alternatives to solve problems and retain the tree
  • Proposed development. Tree removal is considered under the development assessment process and not in a Tree Removal Application Form
  • Fence construction
  • Tree removal for bush fire hazard reduction, unless identified by NSW Rural Fire Services as a bush fire threat

The following may be considered reasons for tree removal or pruning:

  • Where there is likelihood of tree failure and remedial actions are not feasible or practical. An AQF5 Arborists report and testing may be required as supporting documentation. The report must comply with Council’s report guidelines that are available on the Council’s trees webpage
  • Where the tree is causing substantial and continuing structural damage to a dwelling or substantial structure (excluding building ancillary to a dwelling house, detached garages, carports, roof structures, outbuildings, footpaths, garden structures, retaining walls, driveways and fences) and remedial actions are not feasible or practical. A structural engineering assessment may be required
  • Where the tree is in poor condition or structure, or declining health with a life expectancy of less than 5 years. There are no tree management options. An AQF5 Arborists report and testing may be required
  • A tree located in an unsuitable position where its future growth will result in major damage to a dwelling or substantial structure and there are no practical options to prevent damage
  • Pruning to improve tree’s health and structure
  • Where the tree is proven to be directly causing substantial ill health, such as severe allergies. This must be supported by specialist medical evidence linking the health condition to the tree and where all other reasonable management options have been explored

Botanical Name

Common Name

Acacia binervia

Coast Myall

Acacia decurrens

Sydney Green Wattle

Acacia elata

Mountain Cedar Wattle

Acacia falcata

Sickle Wattle

Acacia floribunda

White Sally Wattle

Acacia implexa


Acacia longifolia

Sydney Golden Wattle

Acacia parramatensis

Parramatta Green Wattle

Acacia parvipinnula

Silver-stemmed wattle

Acacia schinoides

Green Cedar Wattle

Acmena smithii

Lilly Pilly

Aegiceras corniculatum

River Mangrove

Allocasuarina distyla

Scrub She-oak

Allocasuarina littoralis

Black She-oak

Allocasuarina torulosa

Forest Oak

Alphitonia excelsa

Red Ash

Angophora bakeri

Narrow-leaved Apple

Angophora costata

Sydney Red Gum

Angophora floribunda

Rough-barked Apple

Angophora hispida

Dwarf Apple

Avicennia marina

Grey Mangrove

Backhousia myrtifolia

Grey Myrtle

Banksia integrifolia

Coast Banksia

Banksia serrata

Old Man Banksia

Callicoma serratifolia

Black Wattle

Callistemon linearifolius

Netted Bottle Brush

Callistemon salignus

Willow Bottlebrush

Callitris rhomboidea

Port Jackson Cypress

Casuarina glauca

She-oak, Swamp Oak

Ceratopetalum apetalum


Ceratopetalum gummiferum

NSW Christmas Bush

Corymbia eximia

Yellow Bloodwood

Corymbia gummifera

Red Bloodwood

Cryptocarya glaucescens


Doryphora sassafras


Elaeocarpus reticulatus

Blueberry Ash

Eucalyptus acmenoides

White Mahogany

Eucalyptus agglomerata

Blue-leaved Stringybark

Eucalyptus botryoides


Eucalyptus camfieldii

Heart Leaved Stringybark

Eucalyptus capitellata

Brown Stringybark

Eucalyptus crebra

Narrow-leaved Ironbark

Eucalyptus elata

River Peppermint

Eucalyptus eugenioides

Thin-leaved Stringybark

Eucalyptus fibrosa

Broad leaf Ironbark

Eucalyptus globoidea

White Stringybark

Eucalyptus haemastoma

Broad-leaved Scribbly Gum

Eucalyptus longiflora


Eucalyptus luehmanianna

Yellow Top Mallee Ash

Eucalyptus multicaulis

Whipstick Ash

Eucalyptus oblonga

Common Sandstone Stringybark

Eucalyptus paniculata

Grey Ironbark

Eucalyptus pilularis


Eucalyptus piperita

Sydney Peppermint

Eucalyptus punctata

Grey Gum

Eucalyptus racemosa

Narrow-leaved Scribbly Gum

Eucalyptus resinifera

Red Mahogany

Eucalyptus robusta

Swamp Mahogany

Eucalyptus saligna

Sydney Blue Gum

Eucalyptus siderophloia

Northern Grey Ironbark

Eucalyptus sieberi

Silvertop Ash

Eucalyptus sparsifolia


Eucalyptus squamosa

Scaly Bark

Eucalyptus tereticornis

Forest Red Gum

Eucalyptus umbra

Bastard White Mahogany

Eupomatia laurina


Ficus coronata

Sandpaper Fig

Ficus rubiginosa

Port Jackson Fig

Glochidion ferdinandi

Cheese Tree

Hakea dactyloides

Broad-leaved Hakea

Hakea salicifolia

Willow-leaved Hakea

Leptospermum petersonii

Lemon-sented Tea Tree

Melaleuca decora

White feather honey-myrtle

Melaleuca ericifolia

Swamp Paperbark

Melaleuca linariifolia


Melaleuca quinquenervia

Broad-leaved Paperbark

Melaleuca styphelioides

Prickly-leaved Paperbark

Myoporum acuminatum


Omalanthus populifolius

Bleeding Heart

Pittosporum undulatum

Sweet Pittosporum

Rapanea variabilis


Rhodamnia rubescens

Scrub Turpentine

Schizomeria ovata

White Crab-apple

Stenocarpus salignus

Scrub Beefwood

Syncarpia glomulifera


Synoum glandulosum

Scentless Rosewood

Syzigium oleosum

Blue Lillypilly

Syzygium australe

Brush Cherry

Syzygium paniculatum

Magenta Lilly Pilly

Toona australis

Red Cedar

Tristaniopsis laurina

Water Gum