How to apply

How to apply


If you would like to prune or remove a tree on your property, first check the exemptions outlined in the tree management controls. If you need to apply, download and complete an application and send it to the City of Sydney with a $60 fee.

Applications for tree pruning or removal are usually assessed within 28 days

Please note: The property owner or their authorised agent, such as the secretary of a body corporate or managing agent, must sign the application. We cannot approve removing a tree without the property owner's consent.

Tree inspections

A City arborist will inspect your tree before your application is determined to assess the current health, condition and structure of the tree.

If your tree needs further analysis such as aerial inspection, resistance testing, pathology assessment or root investigations, you will need to engage a consultant arborist who is qualified to report on the health and safety of trees.

After you application has been assessed, you or the property owner will receive written confirmation of the decision. If your application is approved, you must display the letter at the front of the property 2 days before, during and 2 days after the tree is pruned or removed.

Replacement trees 

In most instances a permit for tree removal will include a condition where you must plant a replacement tree. The condition may specify the size, species and attributes of the tree to be planted. When deciding on a replacement tree you should take into consideration its proximity to:

  • services such as electricity wires and sewer/drainage lines
  • buildings and boundary walls
  • neighbouring properties.
Fruit and flower-drop are natural processes and tree removal will not be granted for these reasons alone – characteristics that should be considered when you choose a replacement tree.

Decision appeals

If you want a review of the decision we made about your application you need to do so in writing, within 6 months of the determination date. You need to include further information such as an arborist or engineer's report to support your appeal application, which will be assessed by a different staff member.

Fees for a decision appeal are 50% of the original tree pruning/removal application fee.

We recommend lodging your review application as soon as possible to ensure it meets the statutory timeframe which is 6 months from the determination date.

Alternatively, you can lodge your appeal with the NSW Land and Environment Court within 6 months of receiving the determination.

Consultant arborists 

You will need to consult an arborist if your application involves complex investigation, internal diagnostic testing or an aerial inspection of the tree.

You may need to submit a report from a qualified arborist with a pruning or removal application if the tree is listed on the City's Register of Significant Trees.

Applications to prune or remove trees on proposed development sites also need an arborist's report.

Such reports can only be prepared by an arborist who holds a Diploma of Horticulture (Arboriculture) Australian Qualification Framework (AQF5) or equivalent, and has demonstrated experience in high-level tree assessment and diagnosis.

A consultant arborist is a specialist in the diagnosis and reporting of trees.

It is important to note there is a difference in the qualification and skill level between an arborist who prunes or removes trees compared to a consultant arborist who diagnoses tree health and structure.

Please review the guidelines for arborists so you know what they need to include in the report. Please note: Some of the matters in the guidelines relate to trees on proposed development sites only.

Last updated: Saturday, 1 July 2017