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Tree Removal & Pruning Guide

Standfast Tree Services specialise in the care, pruning, and removal of trees through safe tree care operations. 

Established in 1979, we are one of the premier Sydney tree removal companies. Our team is highly qualified and insured, and managed by our AQF level 3 and 5 arborists. We pride ourselves on our strict safety protocols, and conform to all local laws and regulations.

Here are our credentials: 

Tree removal Northern Beaches

Tree services

Our tree risk management can help you assess the condition of your tree, the potential for environmental damage, and its impact to nearby property.

Construction work is perhaps most common cause of tree damage. If the root network around your tree is damaged or disturbed, it can weaken or even kill your tree. If you’re planning construction work, or you are concerned about the health of your tree, speak to our arborist or book an assessment.

Arborist report

You may need council approval to prune or remove a tree. If your tree is not listed on your LGA’s exemption list (details below), you will need to apply for a permit or development approval. 

Where a permit is required, some applications will require an Arborist report with details about the size, type and condition of your tree. As well as a detailed description of the proposed tree work and safety protocols.

Each Local Government Area has their own unique set of requirements. It’s important to be aware of the restrictions, and document any proof you may need at a later date to avoid any legislative penalties.

Standfast Tree Services has produced Arborist reports for all Sydney LGA’s. As tree removal specialists, we understand the requirements, and can prepare a report to include all the necessary information.

Arborist Reports include a site survey and tree assessment. We check for safety defects, and produce a report on our findings. Including a tree management plan inline with your desired objective.

To request an Arborist Report, contact our team who will schedule an appointment today.

Sydney tree removal

Removing a tree requires specialist training, knowledge of tree anatomy, and safe tree working protocols. As well as experience working at heights and operating heavy machinery. 

Even in good conditions, removing a large tree is a dangerous job. While many claim to have the necessary experience and training, not all will stand up to scrutiny. Hiring a team run by a qualified and experienced arborist gives you the confidence that your project is run in accordance with safety protocols and regulations.

Tree removal permit & development approval

Before you prune or remove your tree it is important to check for local government restrictions. Some trees are heritage listed and require development approval, while others may need a council permit. 

As a general rule, you can remove a tree that:

  • Is dead or dying
  • Poses an imminent danger to life or property
  • Is covered by the 10/50 Legislation

Most councils allow some pruning and small tree removal without a permit. However, the amount that can be pruned, and the size of the tree will depend on the LGA’s Tree Preservation Order or Development Control Plan.

Even if your tree fits one of the above criteria, you may still need evidence as proof that your tree is exempt. Which may require a certified assessment and report from a qualified Arborist.

Tree removal restrictions & exemptions

See the links below for information about the restrictions in your area. Or alternatively, speak to one of our team who can give you advice about how to proceed.

  • Northern Beaches
  • Lower North Shore
  • Upper North Shore
  • Inner West
  • Eastern Suburbs
  • Hills District
  • Western Sydney

Removing a tree without approval, or failing to prove that a tree you removed was exempt may result in heavy fines. It’s best to speak to our team. We will do a site inspection and quote, and advise you on your LGA restrictions, and if you need to apply for a council permit.

Noxious plants & undesirable species

Common NameBotanical Name
African Tulip TreeSpathodea campanulata
Angels’ TrumpetBrugmansia suaveolens, Brugmansia x candida
Athel PineTamarix spp.
Black LocustRobinia pseudoacacia & vars.
Broad Leaf Pepper TreeSchinus terebinthifolius
Cadaghi GumCorymbia torelliana
Camphor LaurelCinnamomum camphora
Canary Island Date PalmPhoenix canariensis
Chinese CeltisCeltis sinensis
Chinese TallowoodTriadica sebifera
Cockspur Coral TreeErythrina crista-galli
Cocos Palm/Queen PalmSyagrus romanzoffiana
CoffeeCoffea arabica
Cootamundra WattleAcacia baileyana
Coral TreeErythrina sykesii
CotoneasterCotoneaster spp.
Evergreen AshFraxinus griffithii
Giant Bird of ParadiseStrelitzia nicolai
Golden Rain TreeKoelreutaria paniculata
Golden Willow WattleAcacia saligna
Green CestrumCestrum parqui
Honey LocustGleditsia triacanthos cultivars
Ice CreamBean Inga edulis
JacarandaJacaranda mimosifolia
LeucaenaLeucaena leucocephala
LoquatEriobotrya japonica
Mexican Fern TreeSchizolobium parahyba
Mount Morgan WattleAcacia podalyrifolia
Night Scented JasmineCestrum nocturnum
Norfolk Island HibiscusLagunaria patersonia
OchnaOchna serrulata
African OliveOlea europaea spp. Cuspidate
European OliveOlea europaea spp. Europaea
PoplarPopulus spp.
Princess TreePaulownia fortunei, P. tomentosa
Privet – Large LeafLigustrum lucidum
Privet – Small LeafLigustrum sinense
Radiata PinePinus radiata
Rhus TreeToxicodendron succedaneum
Rubber TreeFicus elastica
Silky OakGrevillea robusta
Slash PinePinus eliottii
TagasasteChamaecytisus palmensis
Tree of HeavenAilanthus altissima
Tung Oil TreeAleurites fordii
Umbrella TreeSchefflera actinophylla
Wild Tobacco TreeSolanum mauritianum
Weeping figFicus benjamina
Hills FigFicus hillii
WillowsSalix spp.
Yellow BellsTecoma stans

NB: This list is some but not all of the trees that may be on your LGA exempt list. Likewise, some of the trees listed here may still require a council permit. See your LGA tree removal restrictions for more details.

Sydney tree removal cost

There are two general costs when removing a tree.

  • Local Council permit fee
  • Pruning and tree removal service fee

The cost of a permit will vary depending on your local government area. However, if your tree is on the LGA exemption list, or is dead, dying, dangerous, or covered by the 10/50 Legislation, then you do not need a council permit.

The cost for small tree removal starts from $400. Additional costs apply for:

  • Larger trees
  • Trees with safety defects
  • Proximity to powerlines
  • Difficult access

Small tree vs large tree removal

Some small trees are automatically exempt from requiring a council permit. This can save you hundreds of dollars in permit and application fees.

The height definition of a small tree can vary from one LGA to another. Whereas, additional exemptions may also apply to certain species.

In addition to permit fees, removing a small tree requires less labour and heavy machinery. Our team can remove up to ten small trees for every one large tree. 

Here’s our tree size guideline:

  • Small tree under 8m high with a trunk diameter less than 300mm.
  • Medium tree 8-15m high with a trunk diameter of 300-500mm.
  • Large tree over 15m high with a trunk diameter of more than 500mm.

Removing trees and vegetation under the 10/50 legislation

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice has been prepared in accordance with section 100Q of the Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Act 2014. It allows people living in bushfire risk zones to remove trees and vegetation that may pose a fire safety risk.

The 10/50 scheme allows people in a designated area to:

  • Remove trees within 10 metres of a home, without seeking council approval
  • Clear underlying vegetation (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a home,

For more information about the 10/50 scheme and whether or not it applies to your property, see our guidelines for your LGA.

Tree pruning

Pruning your tree can be done at any time of the year. It typically involves removing dead, diseased, or weak branches, to improve the integrity and aesthetics of the tree. It can also help to improve airflow and light through the crown of the tree and to the surroundings. 

A well maintained tree looks great and can add value to your property. A poorly maintained tree can form defects and cause a safety hazard to people and the surrounding infrastructure. Our level 5 arborist can help you plan which branches to remove to improve the heath, structure, and appearance of your tree.

Tree pruning on private property

Each local government area issues guidelines on what tree work requires a permit. Tree pruning restrictions apply to some tree species. You can check the restrictions and exempt list, or speak to our team for more information.

As a general rule, you do not need a permit to prune dead and dangerous branches. However, you may need to document the health and condition of the tree before you begin.

LGA’s also allow the pruning of a percentage of the trees canopy for general tree maintenance.

Small tree pruning

Pruning your tree while it is still young will help it to develop strong structure and form. Which can help to prevent the need for corrective pruning once it has matured. 

While you can prune some small trees yourself, it is best if you know a bit about tree biology. Removing the wrong branch when it is small, can cause lasting damage to the tree’s long term health.

Large tree pruning

Larger trees should only be pruned by a qualified arborist. Working at heights and with dangerous equipment increases the risk of personal injury and property damage. 

It’s important that all tree work is insured and performed under strict safety protocols. In the event of an accident, you need to know that any injury and liability is covered by your insurance policy.

Standfast Tree Services Insurance Policy Details

  • $20 million public liability insurance with PAS Personnel, Policy no. 41 A573753 BPK
  • Workers Compensation Insurance with iCare, Policy no. 115309801
  • Motor – Fleet insurance with Global Transport & Automotive Insurance Pty Ltd, Policy no.CPG011954
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance $5m, Policy no. HC-ME-SPC-02-120839
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