Trees are an integral part of the community. We have an ongoing commitment to manage and enhance our urban forest, which includes: tree planting, establishment, pruning, removals, tree management and future planning.
In 2017 we endorsed our first Urban Forest Strategy, providing a clear charter for the future custodianship of Yarra’s street and park tree population.
Download the Urban Forest Strategy (PDF 4.45MB)
Download the Urban Forest Strategy canopy cover by suburb appendix (PDF 3.16MB)
Tree management in Yarra
We manage approximately 30,000 trees in Yarra streets and parklands.
All of the trees, exotic or native, old or young contribute to the livability of Yarra and provide environmental, social, and economical benefits to the community.
Street tree policy
Yarra plants and maintains street trees guided by its Street Tree Policy (PDF 213kB).
We have researched and developed practical and innovative methods to achieve improvements to street tree maintenance and health.
We are also maximising opportunities for planting new street trees.
Is there a significant tree in your area that you feel needs protection, pruning and/or removal? Read more about significant trees and their management.
Caring for trees in Yarra
We have dedicated professional tree contractors to care for Yarra’s tree population.
The activities performed by the contractors include:
- pruning and removals
- planting and establishment
- tree pest and disease management
- tree root management
When does Yarra prune street trees?
All trees within our streets and parks are inspected and maintained on a 2 year cycle.
See our Pruning works Schedule for 2023/24
We will not prune or remove a tree to:
- Reduce leaf litter or debris
- Increase car parking
- Reduce overshadowing or solar access
- Improve visibility of advertising signage
- Prevent wildlife accessing tree or properties
Powerlines and trees
We have a duty to ensure Yarra's street trees are clear of any powerlines. To ensure compliance with the Electricity Safety Regulations 2020 (Electrical Line Clearance), we've developed a management plan to keep any vegetation clear of powerlines. Read our Electric Line Clearance Plan 2022/23 (PDF 1.19MB)
In 2020 the Victorian Government regulations changed and the distance required to keep trees clear of the powerlines has increased. This means that we must prune trees harder to comply with the regulations.
In some cases, hard pruning can affect the vitality and health of a tree. In these cases (which are rare), a tree may need to be removed.
When making decisions about removing trees we are guided by our Street Tree Policy (PDF 213kB).
Removal of a tree is usually the last option and only considered when other options to rectify the concern have been exhausted.
We will only consider removing trees that are:
- Structurally unsound
- Proven to be causing property damage that cannot be remedied through other arboricultural solutions
Tree planting in Yarra
We plant approximately 800 trees per year, along with thousands of other plants for revegetation in local parks and gardens.
Whenever a tree is removed, a replacement tree will be planted.
How do I request a new tree be planted?
You can make a request online.
Community planting days
Planting days predominantly occur in spring and autumn, though successful plant regeneration can occur all year round.
We work with a number of organisations who run community planting days in Yarra.
Visit our events calendar to find out about community planting groups and initiatives.
Our street trees are often growing in confined spaces within road and footpath cut outs and close to properties.
The majority of our estimated 30,000 street trees do not cause damage, though on occasion there can be conflict with surrounding infrastructure and private properties.
We complete a 2 year inspection of all roadways and footpaths and all root pruning and management works are performed between April and October to minimise any effect on the tree.
Structural damage to private property is not always tree related and can be caused by any or many of the following:
- Inadequate or poor quality footings
- Poor drainage or inadequate storm water discharge
- Damaged, leaking water or sewage pipes
- Nearby construction disturbance
- Alterations to the property
- Service pits such as gas or Telstra
Home owners responsibilities
As a property owner it is your responsibility to ensure that all pipes on your land are completely sealed to prevent roots entering. You also need to make sure there are no leaking pipes encouraging root growth close to pipes.
For these reasons we require the property owner to provide evidence that the damage to their property has been caused by a Yarra City Council tree by providing a GEO technical (soil engineer) report on the site.
If a Yarra City Council tree is proven to be causing damage to private property, our arborist will review measures to prevent the damage continuing and ultimately retain the tree. As a last resort the tree may be removed.
If you suspect your property is damaged by a Yarra City Council tree roots, call 03 9205 5555 and ask for our Risk and Insurance area.