Brisbane City Council plants and maintains street trees to ensure Brisbane residents receive all the benefits trees bring to our city and suburbs. Street trees help to:
- provide cooler, greener, more comfortable pathways for walking and cycling
- improve air quality
- reduce and clean stormwater runoff
- improve property values
- add to the identity of our suburbs and the subtropical character of the city.
Brisbane's street trees are estimated to be returning $1.67m each year in air quality, rainfall interception, carbon storage and sequestration benefits, and $29.7m in residential property value benefits (measured using i-Tree ECO V5 in 2011).
Street and park trees are valuable Council and community assets and are protected under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL). Other than minor street tree pruning permits, it is an offence to prune, remove or interfere with Council trees above and below the ground without Council's permission. Find out more about street tree maintenance and minor street tree pruning below.
Council will also plant more than 100 'water smart street trees' between 2014-18. These new street trees are planted with water smart design features underneath, that will divert stormwater through a garden bed to irrigate the tree and filter pollutants from the stormwater system which will help improve the health of our creeks. Find out more about this project.
Trees are selected to:
- suit the site conditions
- not interfere with services such as power lines
- not obstruct visibility for road users and pedestrians
- complement the character of an area.
View the types of street trees Council currently uses.
Street tree planting events
Council's Neighbourhood Shadeways program invites the community to plant street trees at these fun and informative events. You can come along and plant new shade street trees with your neighbours and afterwards have a barbecue and a cold drink. Shadeways plantings target sunny and open footpaths in residential suburbs. In the 2017-2018 financial year, more than 660 residents came along to plant trees, helping keep Brisbane clean, green and sustainable. Together we planted 2843 trees in our local streets. Find out when the next events will be held.
Street tree maintenance
Council's tree management program includes schedules of street tree establishment and maintenance and a 24 hour responsive service for urgent work. Requests for street tree maintenance can be made by phoning Council on 07 3403 8888. If the street tree is growing through, or within one metre of power lines, you can report an overgrown tree to Energex.
Street trees are those trees growing on the footpath or in a road reserve. A property owner or occupier can apply for a permit from Council to carry out minor pruning to the street tree/s directly in front of their property. Minor street tree pruning includes removing small branches that may be overhanging the front fence, driveway or footpath. All other pruning work (including park trees) must be carried out by Council. Permits can be issued for ongoing minor pruning works, enabling the community to continue to help Council care for the city's extensive urban forest.
Guidelines have been developed to help permit holders undertake minor pruning. When a permit is granted it will include a clear set of conditions that need to be complied with. The permit conditions ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place and that minor work to the tree is done in a manner that promotes the tree's long-term health, strength and form. All trimmed vegetation must also be promptly removed from the footpath or road reserve and disposed of at a green waste facility or in an appropriate alternative manner.
Permit holders will also need to keep a copy of the permit. This needs to be available upon request by an authorised Council officer.
For more information on minor street tree pruning download the Minor Street Tree Pruning fact sheet (Word - 986kb).
How to apply for a permit
- Online: Complete the Application to Carry Out Works on Protected Vegetation online form
- Email: print out and complete the hard copy form and email it to CARS-NALL@brisbane.qld.gov.au
- Mail: The hard copy form can also be mailed to the following address:
Brisbane City Council
Compliance and Regulatory Services
Environmental Management Team
GPO Box 1434
Brisbane QLD 4001
Unlawful street tree plantings
It is unlawful to plant street trees on Council land unless the planting is strictly in accordance with a street planting plan approved by Council or authorised under another local law or subordinate local law. You can request to plant a street tree (PDF - 96kb) or tell us where you think Brisbane needs more trees by completing the street tree feedback form.
Council has developed Verge Garden Guidelines to help residents who are interested in establishing a verge garden to self-assess their compliance with Council requirements. Find out more about verge gardens.
For more information on street trees, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.