Why are street trees important?

Trees provide significant amenity in the urban environment and contribute to the health and well-being of the community. Trees help to cool suburbs and by providing shade they make walking and cycling more comfortable.

Trees can also provide a range of environmental benefits, including absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, improving air quality and absorbing nutrients that can pollute waterways. Trees can reduce problems caused by stormwater run-off, by storing water and increasing infiltration. They also enhance biodiversity and support a wide range of animal species.

How can I request a street tree?

Any resident may request a street tree. In general, one tree can be requested for the front verge and two for any side verge. Requests for street trees can be made using the online form, or by phoning the City’s Contact Centre on 9397 3000. Applications close in March with planting usually commencing in June.

Apply online for a street tree

What species of trees are permitted?

The City is supportive of a wide range of choices and has an approved street tree list. The choice of tree changes on a case by case basis dependent on things such as the width of the verge, the proximity of services such as overhead power and street lighting, visibility and sightlines, and whether the tree has the potential to spread into adjacent bushland.

Note: Fruit trees are not permitted on verges within the City of Gosnells.
DownloadApproved street tree list

How can I assist in establishing my tree?

The most important help in establishing a new tree in our climate is keeping regular watering during the summer months. When planted the trees are watered in and long-term fertilizer tablets are added. A tree well is installed (the black plastic ring around the base of the tree). The trees are then placed on the twice-weekly watering cycle for the first year – however one 9L bucket of water a week from residents will help our street trees thrive.

The second way that residents can help is by maintaining the tree well by keeping the tree well free of grass and returning any washed out material. If you believe the tree needs additional attention or appears dying, then please contact the City or call on 9397 3000.

May I plant my own tree?

As the verge is the pathway for public utilities to access properties (such as water, phone, gas, sewer and electricity), it is highly recommended not to plant your own tree on the verge. Street trees not planted by the City are the responsibility of the owner to maintain. They are planted at the owner’s risk and the owner may become responsible for any services damaged.

If you still wish to go ahead and plant your own tree, then you will need to contact the City on 9397 3000 and advise them of the intended planting location. A City officer will then check the appropriateness of the tree species and location.

Am I allowed to remove or prune my street tree?

As the street tree is the property of the City residents are not permitted to prune or remove any street trees. To request pruning or removal of your street tree please contact the City via the call centre on 9397 3000.

What conditions must be met for the removal of a street tree?

Council policy 2.3.9 allows for the removal of street trees if one or more of the following conditions exists:

  • Where the tree is dead,
  • Where the tree in a state of decline to the point that survival is unlikely,
  • Where the tree is causing significant damage to infrastructure or services, or presenting an unacceptable level of risk to public safety; or
  • As provided for by a subdivision or development approval, granted in accordance with Local Planning Policy 4.7.

No other reason for tree removal will be supported by the City’s officers.

Will the City prune street trees by “lopping”?

Lopping, that is, pruning a tree between growth points (between branches), is not an acceptable practice for general pruning. It leads to:

  • Excessive growth in response to the stress of the prune
  • Weak connections between the trunk and branch on new growth
  • Depletion of the food reserves of the tree and
  • Requires additional maintenance and inspection to ensure the tree remains low risk.

Therefore, the City will not undertake this practice.

What should I do if I am concerned about my neighbour’s tree?

The City has only limited authority to be involved in a dispute over a private tree. This authority usually applies to private trees that could fall onto a public road. This is best dealt with by speaking directly with your neighbour. A useful starting point is consulting Legal Aid WA which has good information on their website.

Help: Process to resolve private tree disputes 

What should I do if the street tree is growing into power lines?

Advise the City via the Contact Centre on 9397 3000. It is the City’s responsibility to keep a planted street tree the required clearance distance from Western Power infrastructure.

Does Western Power issue notices to residents to prune street trees?

No. A resident will only be issued with a notice to prune the vegetation on private property. This is vegetation too close to the service wire which runs from the pole to the house. Western Power uses another mechanism to inform the City of any street trees that require pruning.

What happens if a street tree is causing damage to other public infrastructure such as footpaths or kerbing?

Please contact the City and the City will arrange to inspect the site and arrange works as required.

What should I do if a street tree is restricting visibility?

If a street tree is restricting visibility for vehicles entering or exiting a property, please contact the City via the Contact Centre on 9397 3000.

What can I do if I believe a street tree is damaging my property?

Inform the City that you believe the street tree is causing damage to your property. The City will inspect the tree and undertake tree maintenance to remove the problem whenever practical. The City will work with residents to ensure the tree remains healthy, and the issue is minimised. Residents are not permitted to prune street trees themselves as doing so can cause further issues.

What happens if I plan to redevelop my property and a street tree is blocking the proposed driveway location?

Where the City agrees with the removal request an amenity value and removal cost will be calculated and invoiced. The tree will be removed upon payment of the invoice. However, removal of the tree is not guaranteed. To avoid any difficulties, owners need to be conscious of street trees when making redevelopment plans. It is better to address these issues as early as possible in the planning process.

Often, the driveway is forgotten in the planning and building process until the realisation that it will be blocked or restricted by a street tree. Ideally, plans submitted to the City must include the location of all street trees. Driveway crossings need to be at least 2m clear of any tree on the verge. If a driveway crossing does conflict with an existing street tree, the tree will be assessed and valued.

If your redevelopment is likely to conflict with a street tree, then contact the City via the Contact Centre on 9397 3000 for advice as early as possible in the planning process.

Can I install artificial turf around the tree on my verge?

Yes, artificial turf is permitted under local laws. However, the nature of artificial turf means that at some point in the future the roots of the tree will disrupt the artificial turf, or the compact material it is installed on. Maintenance of artificial turf is the responsibility of the owner – this includes releveling the turf if required.

The City recommends owners allow 0.5 - 1m around the base of the street tree to allow water to reach the roots and ensure the health of the tree.

Who is responsible if tree roots are damaging my reticulation?

In general, the maintenance of anything installed on a verge is the responsibility of the installer. It is important that irrigation is designed around the presence of any verge trees. The City takes no responsibility for damage to any reticulation used in the verge that becomes damaged by the growth of street tree roots. “Black poly” pipe is discouraged in the verge as the joints used encourage tree roots through leakage.