Tree management

Please note: in relation to tree planting guidelines, locations of existing utilities networks must be obtained from Dial Before You Dig. Telephone 1100 prior to any excavation taking place on public land.


  • Generally, one street tree should be planted in the centre of each residential allotment.

  • Where practical, provide consistent, equal spacing between trees and place trees centrally in the naturestrip.

  • Street tree placement on side boundaries of properties must meet the requirements of section 5.7 Intersection Site Distances and Clear Zones.

  • Street tree numbers and species proposed for side boundaries of properties may be subject to additional requirements. Generally a maximum of two trees will be approved.

  • Where the allotment is to be used for unit development and a central crossover is proposed, place a street tree on either side of the crossover if practicable.

  • Trees in parks and reserves must be located at least 3 metres apart and 3 metres from garden beds and fixed structures to allow for future mowing. Trees may be planted closer than this in mulched clumps.

  • Plans shall be prepared taking into account surrounding hard infrastructure and services however, every site is subject to ‘ground-truthing’ and it is acknowledged that changes may be required as a result.

  • Proposed mulch must meet Council standards and be placed around the tree in accordance to the specification shown in figure 4.

Tree specifications

When selecting trees to be planted, it is the responsibility of the Site Superintendent to ensure that all stock meets the requirements shown on the endorsed landscape / streetscape plans.

Unless otherwise agreed, all street trees must be in a minimum 45 litre sized container and be 1.5 metres tall depending on the tree species. Tree stock must be in a sound and healthy condition and be self-supporting wherever practicable. Should the Site Superintendent wish for the Council Representative to inspect stock prior to delivery, then contact must be made with the Council Representative within reasonable timeframes to allow this to occur.

Indigenous stock: where indigenous trees are to be used they must be pre-ordered well in advance to ensure supply numbers and pot sizes are achievable.

Tree sizes: Tree stock selected for planting within each street and reserve must be of a minimum container size suitable for each particular landscape treatment.

Expected stock and pot sizes are listed in the table below.

Table 2: Tree stock minimum planting size

Use/Location Minimum size
Street 45 litre pot/ 1.5 metres high.
Reserves less than 1 hectare 300 millimetre pot/ 1 metre high.
Reserves greater than 1 hectare Smaller stock may be used (subject to negotiation).
Iconic/specimen trees 150 litre pot (subject to negotiation).
Shrubs 150 millimetre pot.

Figure 4: Tree planting detail

Figure 2: Shrub and groundcover planting detail with table showing 5 points: 1 - specified shrub; 2 - excavate hole large enough to provide a 75mm-100mm clearance around the rootball. post hile diggers not to be used. backfull with approved topsoil. hole to be no deeper than the height of the rootball; 3 - top of rootball level with soil; 4 - 75mm depth approved mulch. mulch to be feaqthered away from stems; 5 - fertiliser to be mixed with backfilled soil around the rootball.
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Note: It is the responsibility of the contractor to confirm the location of all underground services prior to commencement of any excavation or staking works.

Street tree offsets/clearances

  • 3 metres from pedestrian pathways in reserves (species dependant).

  • 3 metres from driveways (species dependant).

  • 4 metres from power poles.

  • 4 metres from light poles (species dependant).

  • 3 metres from service assets, including junction boxes, pits etc.

  • 2 metres from service conduit crossing.

  • 3 metres from fire plugs.

  • 2 metres from domestic service tapping points.

  • 2 metres from stormwater outlet points.

Distances provided may be subject to change dependant upon the site and species selected.

Hold points (trees )

Once a site has been marked out for planting contact shall be made with the Tree Management Council Representative to arrange an inspection and provide authorisation to proceed with planting works. The Council Representative should be provided seven (7) working days notice to ensure that the site visit can be pre-arranged.

During the course of planting should any unforeseen circumstances arise or a particular request is received contact shall be made with the Tree Management Council Representative to inspect and authorise any nominated changes.

Council will endeavour to provide a prompt response to any queries or concerns whilst having regard to the size of the site and the anticipated timeframe for the completion of planting works.

Species substitution/sourcing issues

Whilst it is acknowledged that from time to time sourcing particular stock at certain sizes can be difficult, the substitution of tree stock and installation size is not permitted without the prior authorisation of the Tree Management Council Representative. Stock substituted without authorisation will not be accepted at Practical Completion.

It is the responsibility of the Site Superintendent to raise any concerns or issues relating to the supply of stock with the Tree Management Council Representative as soon as is practicable.

Tree staking

Please note: locations of existing utilities networks must be obtained from Dial Before You Dig Telephone: 1100 prior to any excavation on public land.

Wooden stakes must only be used. Metal stakes or star pickets will be not approved for use in any location. It is preferable that tree ties are hessian banding however nylon banding may be used by negotiation. Tree ties must be secured to each of the stakes. ‘Shoe string’ or nylon interlocking type ties will not be approved for use.

Residential Streets: dependant upon the size and species involved, two stakes may only be required.

Industrial Estates: tree stakes should be a minimum of 75 millimetres x 75 millimetres x 2400 millimetres and use three stakes.

Intersection site distances and clear zones

The diagrams below are the Austroads guide to ‘Clear Zones’ at road intersections. For traffic safety, the Approach Distances (ASD) shown should be retained in all instances where the speed limit on the major road is 60km/hr or above. However, the vast majority of intersections are on low speed residential roads where the speed limit is restricted to 50km/hr. In this instance, the distance may be safely reduced to 10 metres.

Figure 5: Austroads ‘Clear Zones’

Figure 5: Austroads ‘Clear Zones’
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Tree maintenance

All streetscapes and landscapes must be maintained to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority for a minimum period of two (2) years however this timeframe may be extended by negotiation with Council.

The Site Superintendent is responsible for all maintenance on the site during the maintenance period.

  • All tree pruning shall be carried out by appropriately trained horticultural/arboriculture staff.

  • Tree pruning must be carried out in accordance to AS4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

  • At no stage should any more than 25% of the existing canopy foliage be removed at any given time.

  • Advice must be obtained from the Tree Management Council Representative where any doubt arises in relation to tree pruning. Uplifting the canopy of trees can only be performed with the approval of the Tree Management Council Representative.

The Site Superintendent must provide a signed and dated Maintenance Checklist (Appendix 2) to the Council Representative every three (3) months during the maintenance period. Failure to adhere to this requirement may result in the maintenance period being extended.

Council Representatives will regularly inspect the site during the maintenance period and any defects will be communicated to the Site Superintendent in writing. Works must then be completed within two (2) weeks or as agreed by the Council Representative.

Trees not meeting the required standard at the date of the expected handover date will have their maintenance period extended. Evidence (that is: date of replanting) must be provided to the Council Representative as part of the quarterly report.

Note: replacement planting undertaken immediately prior to handover will not be accepted and will be subject to an extension of the maintenance period.

Inappropriate maintenance regimes and standards will not be accepted by Council. Failure to adhere to standards may result in the extension of the maintenance period. If required, maintenance bonds may be utilised by Council in order to engage contractors to fulfil the outstanding requirements.

Existing tree protection


Existing trees to be retained shall be protected on construction sites as follows, and in accordance with AS4970 – 2009 Protection of Trees on Development Sites:

  • Determine the extent of protection required for the tree(s) using the guiding principles prescribed within AS4970.

  • Tree Protection Zones (TPZ) must be calculated, submitted and approved prior to work commencing. TPZ’s must be retained at all times and no access, stockpiling of materials, soil disturbance, excavation works or storage of machinery to be allowed inside the nominated TPZ. The extent and the alignment of the TPZ must be in accordance with location set out at pre-site inspection. The fence should be retained and maintained for the duration of construction.

  • Works proposed within the Structural Root Zone (SRZ) of the tree will not be approved; any unauthorised work within the SRZ will result in the tree as being lost, with the Developer and/or their representative remaining liable for all legal and/or financial consequences.

  • Temporary vehicular movement across the TPZ can be facilitated by using heavy plywood or metal sheets laid over coarse bark mulch for short-term protection. These should be removed as soon as movement is complete.

  • Where services are to be implemented through the root zone of a tree to be retained, their alignment should be bored rather than placed in open trenches, to ensure that root severance does not occur.

  • Should root excavation be required, the work should be carried out by hand digging or the use of an air knife. Root cutting should be done by hand, not backhoe or other mechanical equipment, to avoid tearing of roots.

  • All pruning works must be carried out by a qualified Arborist.

  • All works carried out within the TPZ to be supervised by a qualified Arborist.

  • No signs, fences or other items may be attached to trees at any time.

  • Once installed, tree protection fencing/measures must not be encroached or removed without the knowledge and authorisation of Council. 18 City of Greater Geelong Landscape Standards Manual

Generally, the TPZ may be encroached by up to 10% of the calculated protection zone in negotiation with Council. The TPZ must not be encroached in any manner without Council authorisation and works will not be permitted at any time within the calculated value of the Structural Root Zone (SRZ) of the tree. Please refer to Appendix D of AS4970 – 2009 for additional guidance.

Note: The endorsed Planning Permit may require the need to prepare and submit for approval a Tree Protection Plan, Tree Management must be consulted during this process.

Tree protection zone examples

Figure 6: Tree protection zone - dripline

Figure 6: Tree Protection Zone - Dripline

Tree Dripline - Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) is to be erected around the tree dripline. Installation is to be signed off by the Site Superintendent prior to commencing any works.

No excavation, trenching, storage of materials or waste is to occur within the TPZ.

Any tree surgery to be conducted is to be carried out by an approved Arboriculturalist.

No excavation is to be carried out inside the TPZ without the Site Superintendent's written approval. No mechanical excavation is permitted within the TPZ - hand excavate only.

Any works within the TPZ is to be under the supervision of the Site Superintendent.

Figure 7: TTPX - 300mm diametre tree measured 1.4m from ground level
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Page last updated: Monday, 30 August 2021