Brisbane City Council plants and maintains street trees in Brisbane. 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.
Council estimates Brisbane's street trees return $1.67 million each year in air quality, rainfall interception, carbon storage and sequestration benefits. There is also $29.7 million in residential property value benefits (measured using i-Tree ECO V5 in 2011).
Street and park trees are valuable Council and community assets with protection under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL). It is an offence to prune, remove or interfere with Council trees above and below the ground without Council's permission. This does not include minor street tree pruning permits. Find out more about street tree maintenance and minor street tree pruning below.
Council will plant more than 100 'water smart street trees' between 2014-18 using water smart design features. Stormwater is diverted through a garden bed to irrigate the tree. The stormwater system filters pollutants, improving the health of our creeks. Find out more about this project.
Council chooses trees 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 fun and informative events. You can plant new street trees with neighbours and have a barbecue and a cold drink afterwards. Shadeways plantings target sunny and open footpaths in residential suburbs. In the 2017-2018 financial year, more than 660 residents came along to plant 2843 trees in local streets. Find out when the next events will be held.
Street tree maintenance
Council's tree management program includes schedules of street tree maintenance. There is also a 24 hour responsive service for urgent work. Request street tree maintenance by phoning Council on 07 3403 8888. If the street tree is growing through, or within, one metre of power lines, report an overgrown tree to Energex.
Street trees are those trees growing on the footpath or in a road reserve. You require a permit to do minor pruning to street tree/s directly in front of your property. Minor street tree pruning includes removing small branches overhanging the front fence, driveway or footpath. Council prunes all other trees, including park trees.
Guidelines are available to help permit holders undertake minor pruning. Permits include a clear set of conditions to comply with. The permit conditions ensure appropriate safety measures are in place. They also ensure minor work to trees promote long-term health, strength and form. Permit holders must remove all trimmed vegetation promptly from the footpath or road reserve. Disposal should be at a green waste facility, or in an appropriate alternative manner.
Permit holders 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 our Minor street tree pruning fact sheet (Word - 986kb).
How to apply for a permit
You can apply for a permit by:
- completing the Application to Carry Out Works on Protected Vegetation online form
- completing the hard copy form and emailing it to CARS-NALL@brisbane.qld.gov.au
- mailing a hard copy form to:
Brisbane City Council
Compliance and Regulatory Services
Environmental Management Team
GPO Box 1434
Brisbane Qld 4001
Unlawful street tree plantings
Council does not permit tree planting on Council land, unless the planting is in strict accordance with a street planting plan. This must approved by Council, or authorised under another local law or subordinate local law.
Verge garden guidelines help residents to self-assess their compliance with Council's verge garden requirements. Download a copy of the Verge garden guidelines (Word - 122kb).