Trees can sometimes cause of problems between neighbours. 

If a neighbour’s tree is causing problems or you plan to do works near a neighbouring tree, chat to them first about your concerns. This is usually an easy first step to resolving the issue.

Pruning a neighbouring tree

Check with your neighbour

Make sure you chat to your neighbour about your plan before you start pruning. 

As a neighbouring property owner, you can prune any leaves or branches that hang over onto your property. This must be done at your own cost and you must not damage the tree. 

Check if you need a permit

Check if you need a permit to prune a neighbouring tree. 

If the tree is on the Significant Tree register, you will need a Tree Protection Local Law permit before you can prune.

If you are in a Significant Landscape Overlay or Vegetation Protection Overlay, check if you need a permit to prune the tree. You can call our Statutory Planning team on (03) 9278 4888

Follow the Australian Standard 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees

Make sure you prune in accordance with Australian Standard 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees. The standards explain how to prune without damaging trees.

Make sure the arborist you hire is familiar with the standard and can explain what good pruning looks like.  

Only prune to the boundary

Pruning can only be done from your property up to the common boundary. You or your arborist cannot enter your neighbour’s property to remove branches unless you have the property owner's permission. 

If you do not have permission and enter the property, this can be seen as trespassing.

Works near a neighbouring tree

If you plan to do works near trees, you must ensure they are not damaged. 

Damaging trees can compromise their health and structure. If you damage a tree during works or while pruning, you could be fined, sued or prosecuted for the damage. 

Resolving tree disputes

We cannot help settle your dispute with a neighbour if their tree is causing an issue or damaging your property.

We also cannot make property owner to remove the tree in question. If a tree needs to be removed to help resolve the issues, a permit may be required.

Any application to remove a neighbouring tree will need the consent of the tree owner. 

The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has helpful information on how to talk to your neighbour about tree issues and can be contacted if your issues cannot be resolved.

The State Government has recognised that there is not a clear way to resolve tree disputes. They are looking to set up a Tribunal for hearing neighbouring tree disputes. 

This will take time to set up, but we are hoping there will be a better way to solve tree disputes in the future. 

Your responsibility as a property owner

As a property owner, you have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to manage risks and issues associated with trees on your property. 

Organise regular inspections

You can do this by engaging a qualified arborist to routinely inspect and prune your trees.

It is recommended you have your trees inspected every 3 to 5 years, or more frequently if there are existing issues with it. A qualified arborist can remove dead, diseased branches or dangerous branches.

Neighbours removing branches

Your neighbour can remove or prune branches that overhang onto their property. 

This can only be done from their property. They cannot enter into your property without your permission. 

Overhanging branches

If you have a branch or foliage that overhangs into public space or Council property, we may send you a notice asking you to prune it..

Report a dangerous tree

If you want to report overhanging branches in parks, reverses or naturestrips, you can report the issue online. 

Report a tree issue online

We cannot help resolve disputes between neighbours or cut back a tree, unless it is on council land. For more information on settling disputes with neighbours, visit the Disputes Settlement Centre of Victoria website. 

Report illegal tree damage or removal

If you think someone has removed a tree illegally or has damaged a tree, you can report it online.

Report damage or illegal removal

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