Tree Maintenance

We look after more than 3,000 street trees and countless specimen trees in parks, reserves and on other Council-administered land. Principles, policies and objectives regarding our ongoing protection and management of trees growing on our land are outlined in our District Tree Policy.

We do not manage trees on private property, but we have some responsibilities for notable trees listed in the District Plan.

Pruning and general maintenance

All of our trees are maintained according to international arboricultural pruning practices. Acceptable pruning methods such as natural target pruning, crown lifting and crown thinning are used to maintain trees in as natural a form as possible to retain and enhance their appearance.

Leaf litter is not a sufficient reason for removing a street tree. Our regular road sweeping and gutter clearance programme minimises the possibility of storm water flooding due to blockages caused by accumulated leaves.

Lopping and topping is not used as part of our approach to tree care. However, careful height reduction to clear essential services such as power lines or navigational aides may be carried out where trees are too valuable to remove.

Planting trees in public places

While we do not permit the public to plant trees on street berms, planting commemorative trees or offers of trees for donation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for more information.

What can I do about problems with my neighbour’s trees?

If the tree is a notable tree contact us, otherwise we recommend trying a tactful neighbourly discussion and/or getting legal and arboricultural advice. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to help.

Street trees

Street trees are formally listed trees that are planted on road reserve frontages throughout the district. We plant street trees in existing streets or new subdivisions to enhance the streets' amenity value. Street tree planting considers:

  • Sufficient public support.
  • Species and site suitability.
  • Underground services such as power cables and plumbing.
  • Overhead power lines and street lights.
  • Traffic and pedestrian visibility issues.
  • Ongoing maintenance.

We do not permit residents to plant trees and vegetation on berms.

How are street trees managed?

Routine inspection and maintenance of street trees ensures good health, form and safety. Street tree work is carried out by our qualified team of arborists and selected approved contractors.

Although the trees are managed as naturally as possible, the urban environment has certain demands that require street trees to be well maintained. Arborists carry out periodic pruning to shape and form the trees, remove dead and diseased branches and inspect the tree for any immediate and future problems that may arise.

We do not permit residents to prune or remove street trees. There can be serious consequences, including prosecution, if a member of the public interferes in any way with trees on our property.

We will remove street trees if they are:

  • A proven and unmanageable threat to public safety or property.
  • Dead or in such poor condition that the tree cannot be improved by treatment.
  • The tree is no longer suitable for its site.
  • The tree is inhibiting the growth of more valuable trees.
  • The tree is causing a traffic safety problem.
  • In most cases the decision to remove a tree is based upon the recommendation of an arborist.

Note: Any stump that remains after a street tree is removed will be ground down and the grass reinstated. For reasons of efficiency, stumps are collected in truck loads. This may mean a stump could be left up to a month before it is collected.

During periods of dry weather residents can help establish new grass by watering the berm in accordance with any water restrictions.

Consideration is paid while pruning to minimise the loss of views, shading or debris drop, provided that the health and value of the tree is not compromised. This type of tree work is carried out as part of the annual programmed visits for each street.

Reserve trees that encroach over private property may be pruned back at the request of the property owner. Please contact us for more information.

You can help care for street trees by:

  • Minimising lawn mower contact with the base of the tree to prevent bark damage.
  • Refraining from putting lawn clippings around the base of the tree.
  • Not parking vehicles near tree roots to prevent them compacting.
  • Reporting any vandalism or storm damage to trees.