Trees can sometimes cause of problems between neighbours.
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.
Works near a neighbouring tree
If you plan to do works near trees, you must ensure they are not damaged.
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.
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.
Report a dangerous tree
If you want to report overhanging branches in parks, reverses or naturestrips, you can report the 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.