Nature Strip Tree Laws: Do I Need a Permit To Trim or Remove Nature Strip Trees?

Nature strips are aesthetically pleasing and they add a touch of greenery to your landscape and help with stormwater drainage. Even though the nature strip close to you is not legally part of your property, it’s common to see it as one.

Residents who need to plant, trim, or remove any tree on the nature strip can only do that after getting a permit. General maintenance activities such as mowing the grass and taking care of the trees can be done without a permit. Pruning, trimming, or removing trees on the street without obtaining a permit from the council will attract a fine.

Can I concrete my nature strip?

It is not allowed to have a concrete surface on your nature strip.  Any form of walls or hard surfaces such as concrete, pavers, asphalt, irrigation systems, or stepping stones is not accepted.

Instead, you’re allowed to plant your nature strips with a range of ground cover plants,  grasses, fine gravel mulch, organic much, and any other interventions that keep the area as natural as possible.

For more information, click here

Are Councils liable for damage caused by street trees?

The council is liable for any damage caused by trees on the nature strip. You only need to report to them immediately after the damage is done.

However, since you’re close to the tree and maintain it by default, you need to report to the council if you notice any signs of hazard with the tree. This will help to avoid any form of damage that can happen if the tree falls unexpectedly.

How to maintain landscaped nature strips

  • Residents are required to keep the nature strip in a well-maintained and safe condition at all times.
  • Plants (especially grasses) are to be pruned to a height of no more than 500mm at all times  
  • Plants are not expected to protrude into pathways, driveways, or within 1m of the back of the kerb
  • The nature strip is to be kept free of weeds and rubbish;
  • If the mulch is used, the level of the mulch must not extend above the level of the footpath or kerb
  • The nature strip is to be kept free of any tripping hazards and protruding objects.

Nature strip tree removal service near me

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Can I put synthetic turf on the nature strip?

Most cities do not allow putting synthetic turf on the nature strip, organic ones are always allowed. However, where an existing Council nature strip is characterized by poor growing conditions, such as an area in significant shade, synthetic turf is allowed in other places.

The installation of synthetic turf must comply with the following criteria:

  • Synthetic turf must be installed by a qualified, insured professional company;
  • It must be installed on a sand leveling layer and a subgrade of compacted material such as road base or finely crushed rock to a depth of 75mm.
  • Synthetic turf must not be laid within the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) of any tree. The TPZ is an estimate of the area around the tree required to protect a tree from adverse construction impacts.
  • It must be laid with all edges fixed down with a flush edge installed between synthetic turf and adjacent natural turf or garden bed areas
  • Synthetic turf must have a sand or rubber infill ensuring that the pile stays in an upright position at all times;
  • Synthetic turf must be maintained in a neat, level and weed-free condition.
  • If the nature strip contains a drainage swale or rain garden, no synthetic turf is to be installed.

Who is responsible for fixing damaged synthetic turf on the Council nature strip?

When synthetic turf on the nature strip is damaged or disturbed, the Council is not responsible for replacing it. Similarly, utility companies, which supply water, gas, electricity and telecommunications, may require access to the nature strip to perform maintenance work.

Utility companies are also not required to repair nature strips that have been landscaped to include treatments other than natural turf.

Therefore, property owners are responsible to fix or maintain the synthetic turf on the council nature strip.

Best trees for nature strip

You don’t have the authority to plant trees on the nature strip, but you always have the right to request the council to plant trees on the nature strip. They will present you with several species of trees which you can pick from and the council will do the job.

Some of the trees you can pick from are the Australian native and non-native tree species.

The native tree species recommended for the nature strip are:

  • Lemon Scented Myrtle: This is an evergreen, small domed tree that grows up to 18 meters. It is not suitable for planting under power lines.
  •  Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’:   Evergreen tree growing to 4 meters in height and is suitable for planting under power lines.
  • Willow Bottlebrush: Evergreen, small tree to 8 meters. It is also not suitable for planting under power lines.
  • Blueberry Ash: This is an evergreen, narrow domed tree that can grow up to 7-25 meters. It is not suitable for planting under power lines.
  • Mugga Ironbark: Evergreen tree growing up to 20-25 meters and not suitable for planting under power lines.
  • Native Frangipani: Evergreen tree growing up to 6-10 meters and not suitable for planting under power lines.

Non-native tree species that can be considered for nature strips are Red Maple, Leopard tree, Fried-egg plant, Little Gem Magnolia, Pink Oak, Red Oak, Callery Pear, and so on.


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