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Maintenance requests for work on public trees

We assess requests for public tree maintenance and carry out work when needed, such as removing a broken hanging branch.

​Request maintenance work on a public tree

If you think there is an issue with a tree on public property, you can log a request online for us to investigate. The tree will be inspected and work undertaken where necessary.

Requests that are not categorised as "general maintenance", such as tree work needed to develop a new private dwelling or vehicle crossing, will not be completed by us.

Construction or building work near public trees

Trees are sensitive to environment changes and construction work near them can significantly damage or destroy them. 

The root system is vital to a tree’s health and stability and must be protected during any nearby work. If a public tree is damaged, those responsible for the work can be fined. 

You must apply for tree owner approval to find out the requirements and restrictions if you are planning any project that could affect a public tree. If approval is granted, the applicant is responsible for all associated costs and organisation of the work in accordance with our conditions.

It is our priority to keep public trees whenever possible. If we do allow removal or work to commence, you may have to plant replacements, make a payment, or place a bond. 

The cost will be determined by our Urban Forest team.

Trees and power lines

We prune public trees around power lines as part of our regular line-clearance schedule.

Trees that grow from private property are the property owner's responsibility. 

If your tree is getting close to power lines, contact Vector.

Tree roots and infrastructure

Tree growth is strongly influenced by below-ground conditions. Tree roots will flourish wherever moisture, oxygen, nutrients, and soil structure are favourable.

Tree root growth in the urban environment is highly modified and is not governed by property boundaries. Root pathways cannot be predicted.

Direct root damage can contribute to the distortion of built structures as the growing tree root exerts pressure.  Tree root damage is usually limited to light-built structures, such as pavements and low walls. It can also be seen in buildings with sub-standard footings. 

Should tree root growth be the cause of direct damage, we may seek a solution that fixes the issue and retains the public tree. 

Leaking or blocked pipes and tree roots

Leaking pipes (due to poor construction, old earthenware, cracked and faulty joints, and degradation) can create moisture that encourages tree root growth in the direction of the pipe and then causes indirect damage.

A properly constructed and maintained lateral pipe (sewerage or wastewater pipe from private property to the public main) is designed to withstand normal tree roots. Occasionally issues can occur.

Property owners are responsible for private property stormwater and sewage pipes including their maintenance, repair, and replacement. 

When a blockage occurs, the property owner must ensure a replacement or repair is completed to a standard that withstands damage from tree roots. 

Tree removal due to root damage

Trees will not be removed for unsubstantiated claims of damage from tree root activity.

Removing public trees because of infrastructure damage will only be considered if a geotechnical or structural engineer’s report attributes the damage to tree root growth and if no practical alternative arboriculture solution can be found

The potential for soil heave because of tree removal must also be considered.

Claims of property damage from tree roots must comply with our claims guidelines.

For more information on our claims guidelines, email insurance@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or call us on 09 309 01 01.

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