Tree Management

Trees and associated vegetation are an important part of the natural environment.

Native trees and vegetation exist in bush land reserves, vacant land, sections of Council’s parks, along stream corridors and the like.

Trees in managed parks, reserves and public places, and residential properties may have elements of native/remnant vegetation in addition to ornamental/planned plantings.

There is a need to ensure the impact of trees on the built environment and human activity is managed so as to minimise the possibility of damage and injury occurring.

The task of maintaining balance between the needs of the natural environment and that of the built environment is a difficult one for the Council and the establishment of policies for the care and management of its tree stock establishes a consistent approach for Council.  More information can be found in Council's Tree Management Policy - CP33

 The following sections provide guidance for planting and management of Trees.

Tree Planting

Tree roots can be aggressive and can often exert pressure on buildings, footpaths, fences and pipes. Existing cracks in pipes allow root invasion, as tree roots will seek out sources of moisture and nutrients.

When selecting trees, the type of tree chosen should provide the most benefits and the least problems by:

  • Being suitable to the site conditions
  • Not interfering with services such as powerline and undergrounds pipes
  • Growth won't obstruct visibility for road users and pedestrians
  • Compliments the character of an area
  • Minimise shade in the winter on private property
  • Roots will no affect kerbs, driveways or footpaths
  • Non/Low Fruiting

Trees shall not be planted Less than

0.6 m from kerb
1.0 m from a fence
1.0 m from a retaining wall
3.0 m from a manhole

It is recommended that before any planting is done of large tree species that you find out where the services (e.g. drains and pipes) are located on your property. Dial Before You Dig can assist in advising the location of services on your property.

Only approved species may be planted within easements and under power lines.

Please contact the Relevant Authority for their Guidelines for Planting within Easements. 
Dial Before you dig can assist with identifying easement locations - Water, Sewer, Stormwater, Gas, Telecoms, or Electrical Transmission.

Tree Maintenance

Council Responsibility

Trees on footpaths or median are planted and cared for by Burnie City Council. Council also requires developers to provide landscaping within most development sites.Tree-Clearance-Zones

Council prioritises tree care activities.  New trees are routinely maintained and mulched to establish maturity. As they grow, those branches which begin to encroach into clearance zones above footpaths/roadways are targeted for removal.

Sometimes trees must be removed with replacement being planted in keeping with others in the area.

Service Levels

  • Trimming
  • Dangerous Tree Removal

Council will clear storm damaged street trees  - please call city offices detailing the location and size of any fallen  tree / limbs.

Trees on public land, including nature strips are Council assets and can only be pruned or removed by Council staff or contractors engaged by Council.

Planting of trees in a naturestrip should only be undertaken with the approval of Council and must conform to Council's planting policies and standards.

Non-Council Responsibility

Boundary Trees & Trees on Private Property

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that vegetation, including any tree, hedge or shrub is not extending beyond their boundary and encroaching onto public footpaths, public right-of-ways or obstructing the view of motorists. Trees on private property must be pruned by the owner to maintain a 2.5m height clearance zone over a fence, footpath, or nature strip.

Under the Local Government (Highways) Act 1982, Council can issue a property owner with a written request to tend to the overgrown vegetation. Property owners will be given a nominated timeframe, not being less than 14 days, that they must comply within.  If the property owner fails to comply with the request, Council may carry out the work and recover the expenses from the property owner.

Property owners are also responsible for ensuring that trees on their property are not causing tree root damage to neighbour's or public property. 

Disputes Between Neighbours
Neighbours do not always see eye to eye. From time to time a problem will arise which needs to be resolved. These problems can be varied; overhanging Trees and Vegetation, blocked views and blossom nuisance are common.  These types of problems are best be sorted out by neighbours who are willing to work together towards a mutually benefitting solution. 

You may remove limbs from a neighbours tree that overhangs into your property. Council cannot intervene in such matters, It is best advised to seek your own legal advice on these matters if the issue cannot be resolved.

State Highways and Roads

Managed by Department of State Growth - Transport (formally DIER)
For more information see:

Power Line Clearances

For more information see Tas Networks Safe growing near powerlines & Who's responsible?

Tree Removal on Private Land

Some areas require a permit for Vegetation planting, clearing or modification under the Burnie Interim Planning Scheme 2013

Some examples include: Heritage areas, areas of protected Scenic or Landscape values, areas with Biodiversity value, Landslip hazard areas, or land located within 30m of a wetland or watercourse. The removal of any threatened vegetation will require a permit.  This means you may require written approval from Council before trees can be removed. Please contact Council to Discuss.

Clearing large numbers of trees

You are required under the Forest Practices Act 1985 to obtain a Forest Practices Plan If:

  • you are clearing more than 1 hectare of trees or 100 tonnes of timber for any purpose;
  • those trees are over 5 metres high;
  • tree ferns are being cleared; and
  • you are clearing 'vulnerable' land (land which is 800 metres above sea level, within 40 metres of a watercourse, has a slope of more than 26 degrees, is within 2km upstream of a water supply intake or is a habitat for threatened species).

Further information is available at the Forest Practices Authority website


What do I do if I notice a fallen tree or fallen branch?

Council will clear storm damaged street and reserve trees.  Please call the city office detailing the location and size of any fallen tree or branch. Trees on private property are not council’s responsibility.

I have a tree on my nature strip that is getting too big.  Can I prune it myself?

No, you will need to report this to Council.  Trees on public land, including nature strips, are Community assets and can only be pruned or removed by Council staff or contractors engaged by Council. Please call the city office to provide the location of the tree.  TasNetworks provide tree pruning to trees directly under and likely to interfere with power lines.

Is it okay for me to plant a tree or shrub on my nature strip?

Trees cannot be planted on nature strips without prior approval from Council.  Any plantings must also conform to Council's planting policies and standards.

My next door neighbour has a big tree that hangs over my yard, drops leaves and blossom and blocks the sun.  Can Council force them to prune or remove it?

Overhanging trees and vegetation, blocked views and blossom nuisance are common, but trees on private properties are not the responsibility of Council.  It is best to talk to your neighbour first and try to work together toward a mutually agreeable solution. 

The tree on my nature strip clogs up the storm water drains with fallen leaves.  Who is responsible for keeping the drains clear?

Council has responsibility for keeping public drains and gully pits clear and does so with a regular program of works.

Can I have a Council tree removed?

Requests for removal of street trees will be followed up with an assessment of various aspects of the tree’s health and likely impact on infrastructure or property. Subject to the outcome of the assessment the tree may stay or be scheduled for removal subject to availability of funds.