This guide is designed to help with Tree Removal in New South Wales
Please keep in mind that tree and vegetation management policy can differ from council to council.
Answering the following seven questions helps you finding out which of the three procedures (Exempt Development, Development Application - DA and
Complying Development - CDC) is necessary to lawful removal of your tree.
In case your desire is to prune a tree, please visit our page on
Question 1: Where is the tree located?
You can't remove trees outside of your block without Development Application (DA) from Council.
Click here if your neighbour's tree is causing problems
What to do if a neighbour's tree is affecting you?
Before applying for removal of a tree which is not on your property, you should think about pruning the tree. Often, it is possible to eliminate any problems by tree pruning.
Click on this link to find more information about Tree Pruning.
Question 2: Is the tree or a part of it dead or has it become a hazard?
A tree can be removed without Development Application if it is a real danger. Wether a tree has really become a hazard or not is defined by council.
Find some advice below or contact an arborist to find out about the status of your tree.
Information about dead and dangerous trees
Is my tree dead?
The Tree Scratch Test can help you finding out if your tree is dead. Scratch the outer layer of the trunk with a sharp tool. Your tree is dead when the layer beneath the bark is brown and dry. Is my tree an imminent danger?
Trees become a potential danger when there is a target. A target is a structure, vehicle or a person that would be struck by a falling tree or its parts. The target directly influences the degree of hazard. Has my tree become a hazard?
Some examples for trees that have become a hazard are: storm damaged trees, bug infested trees, leaning trees and trees dropping excessive debris.
It is also legal to remove any kind of parasite mistletoe or parasitic plant.
Question 6: Is the tree on the exempt tree species list?
If you can not identify the tree species it is worth it contacting an arborist for some advice.
Information about exempt trees
Common trees on the Exempt Tree List: Box Elder, Cocos Palm, Coral Tree, Cotoneaster, Evergreen Alder, Hackberry, Norfolk Island Hibiscus, Privet, Tree of Heaven, Umbrella Tree Is my tree on the Exempt Tree List?
Choose your Council in the list below and follow the instructions to open the according Exempt Tree List.
Please search for the Exempt Tree List on the website of your Council, if your Council is not in the list.