Tree pruning and maintenance

Council is responsible for trees in streets and on nature strips, as well as in more than 170 parks and reserves in Moreland.

Trees are an important community asset. They make our streets more attractive, provide shade, and are a home for birds and wildlife. As our city gets hotter with the urban heat island effect, trees play a vital role in cooling down the city by providing shade to properties and streets.

Urgent works and impact of storms

To report an urgent issue with a tree, such as a fallen or hanging branch which is dangerous, phone Council on 9240 1111 (24 hours). 

If the tree is on private property, contact the Victoria State Emergency Service (SES).

Council carries out emergency works on trees where there is a risk to personal safety or the health of a tree is threatened.

Following storms and bad weather, Council receives many requests about branches and tree damage. Requests are responded to by Council in the following order:

Priority 1

  • A branch has fallen over a road or obstructing access to a property.
  • A tree or branch has fallen onto an overhead electrical wire.
  • A tree is in danger of falling.
  • A large branch is hanging and is in danger of falling or damaging a property.

Priority 2

  • A large branch is obstructing a footpath.

Once emergency works are complete and trees made safe, Council then removes debris and branches and responds to other tree-related requests. During periods of emergency works, our regular tree maintenance program is placed on hold.

Regular tree maintenance program

Council's regular tree care and maintenance program visits every neighbourhood in Moreland every 18 months to prune and maintain Council trees.

In addition, Council has a special program to prunes trees around power lines.

Enter your address in the tree maintenance schedule to find out when Council is scheduled to visit your area.

Enter your address

We sometimes need to change the regular tree maintenance program schedule as a result of storms or other urgent work.

How Council cares for trees

The preservation of existing trees is of prime importance to Council and practical techniques are used to maintain the health of our trees.

Pruning of trees on streets and in parks may only be carried out by an authorised Moreland Council arborist or contractor.

When Council will prune a tree

Council carries out pruning of Council trees as part of the regular tree care and maintenance program where:

  • The tree is rubbing or against a building
  • The tree is significantly overhanging a building and a practicable pruning outcome can be achieved without removing structural limbs
  • The overhang within the property or over the road is less than 3 metres high
  • There is a Council tree branch which is hazardous or obstructing electrical wires, or
  • The tree is near power lines on Council land.

When Council does not prune a tree

Council does not prune trees for any of the following reasons:

  • Overhanging tree is on private property. This is the responsibility of the property owner. 
  • Tree leaf, seed or gum drop.
  • Tree is blocking a view.
  • Tree is blocking light into a resident’s property or onto solar panels.
  • Tree is obstructing a satellite or other telecommunications signal.
  • Tree branch movement is activating a resident's movement direction light.
  • Problems associated with birds, bats or possums living in a tree.
  • Tree obstructs street lighting into a resident’s property.
  • Spiders or other insect issues that are not affecting the health or viability of the tree.
  • To provide for views of business or real estate signs.

Council does not sweep residential footpaths for seed and leaf drop.

Insects in trees

Detecting insects or termites in a tree does not necessarily require tree removal. Most insects which live on trees are harmless. Some insects can cause damage to a tree, but this is often temporary and does not cause long-term harm to the tree.

Wood boring insects are often the most harmful to trees. Signs of borer infestation include entry or exit holes in the bark and small mounds of sawdust at the base.

If insects are discovered in a tree on Council land, Council arborists may assess the tree and the extent of any damage. Council may choose to carry out insect removal depending on the significance of the tree, its structural integrity and the extent of damage.

If an outbreak occurs that threatens the tree survival, Council investigates options, such as insecticide stem injection to keep the number of insects in check the following year.

Residents can help by mulching and watering the tree, physically removing the insects where possible, and fertilising the tree using seasol or carbohydrate (molasses or sugar 25g - 70g/lt).

Council is not responsible for insect infestations on private property. If you find an insect infestation on private property, you should consult a professional. Council is not legally responsible for any damage insects or other pests may cause to private property.

How to report a tree issue

To report an urgent issue, such as a fallen or hanging branch which is dangerous, phone Council on 9240 1111 (24 hours).

Report a tree pruning or maintenance issue through the Council website. Upload a photo of the tree to help us respond to your request. Alternatively you can contact Council.

What happens after you report an issue

After you report the issue, a Council arborist may assess the tree or branch. Council notifies you of the outcome if requested.

If the health of the tree is at risk, such as through disease, pests or damage, Council will carry out necessary tree pruning and repair.

Other pruning is scheduled as part of the Council regular tree care and maintenance program which visits every neighbourhood in Moreland.

Trees on private property

Resident responsibilities

Residents need to make sure footpaths, laneways, rights of way and roads that adjoin your property are free of obstructions to pedestrians and other road users. 

Trees on private property need to be trimmed to a clearance height of 3 metres. Branches, shrubs and other vegetation must be pruned back to your property line. This is for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, to allow clear visibility and to prevent damage to vehicles.

Property owners are responsible for inspecting private overhead power lines on their property to ensure they are clear from trees or branches. If you receive a letter from Jemena asking you to prune trees on your property, this is the property owner's responsibility. Please note that Council does not prune trees on private property.

Overhanging branches from a private property

If branches overhang from a private property onto a footpath, laneway or road, report the issue through the Council website or contact Council. A Council officer will inspect the property and then contact the property owner to request they cut the branches. Property owners may be fined if they do not comply with the request.

The pruning of privately-owned trees away from power lines should be referred to the relevant utility company, which is Citipower south of Moreland Road and AGL north of Moreland Road.

Council does not have the power to deal with trees or branches that are overhanging from a private property onto another private property. Disputes between neighbours about trees are covered by common law and are best resolved by talking directly to your neighbour.

If talking to your neighbour is unsuccessful, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. This is a free service and can help you resolve your dispute without having to resort to taking legal action. Interpreters are provided.