Trees on Council land
Advice on planting programs, clearance and pruning, and tree damage or disease.
Street trees are vital to the urban character of our neighbourhood, including trees in our parks. We can advise you on tree plantings, and arrange damaged or diseased trees to be inspected.
Individual tree planting occurs every year. Residents who require a tree for their nature strip should contact us.
If you are enquiring about the maintenance of street trees or tree maintenance in parks you should also contact our Customer Service team.
Damaged street trees
Have you noticed a damaged, dead or diseased tree on your neighbourhood or in a local park?
- Tell us the location of the tree.
- We will arrange for an arborist to inspect the tree within the next 5 working days.
- If you are a resident, a card will be left in your letter box advising you when and what action is to be taken.
Watering street trees
Under the Yarra Valley Water Drought Response Plan, street tree watering with a mobile water tanker has an exemption under every stage of water restrictions. Darebin has obtained the relevant exemption to continue the program.
Residents are encouraged to water newly planted street trees in accordance with current restrictions. Mature drought tolerant trees should not require additional water unless during times of extreme drought in which case residents are advised to use grey water.
Trees are an investment in the future vitality and value of our streets and community. Once established, the new trees provide additional canopy cover for our footpaths and roads, helping to keep them cooler in summer. Tree lined streetscapes also provide habitat to local fauna, helping reduce the impact urbanisation has had on our ecosystem, while revitalising our neighbourhoods with native foliage.
We are taking into consideration any and all impacts a tree would have on its immediate area, because the safety and comfort of residents is always Darebin’s top priority.
Tree planting program
We plant approximately 1200 trees per year as part of the street tree planting program.
Following a request for a tree to be planted on a residents’ nature strip, our Inspections Arborist will inspect the location to determine if the location is suitable for planting.
The tree is then added to the program to be implemented in the planting season, which is during May to October every year. All available spaces are usually planted as part of this process.
The RAPID planting program, which planted 6000 trees over two years (2019—2021) enabled us to plant all available opportunities in streetscapes and allocate street tree themes for all streets.
Many site requirements are taken into account when selecting an appropriate tree species to plant, with the ‘right tree for the right spot’ method used in accordance with our urban forest strategy. Read more about site requirements for street trees.
Caring for your new street tree
Darebin City Council has approximately 65,000 street trees planted throughout the municipality. We have intentional establishment and maintenance programs in place, but also rely on the goodwill of local residents to assist us with their care.
Council has a two-year establishment program for all newly planted trees which includes watering, staking, mulching and weeding. The trees are then maintained as part of our proactive maintenance program which works on a two-year cycle.
The following are some helpful hints on how to care for your street tree:
- Maintaining soil moisture is important to a tree’s success in the streetscape. During dry weather conditions a tree could require 2-6 deep watering per month. We have a watering program for the first two years of each planted tree. This involves weekly watering during the warm season of the first year and as required during the second year. Residents can assist by watering your tree particularly during the warmer and dry weather conditions.
- Hand removing grass and weeds from the base of the tree would help the tree to establish by reducing competition for water and nutrients. Our establishment program includes weeding and mulching for the first two years, but residents can assist with additional weeding if desired.
- Please don’t cut the grass around the base of the tree with a lawn mower or weed trimmer closer than 150mm to the trunk of the tree. Young, thin-barked trees are particularly vulnerable to weed trimmer and lawn mower injury. Damage to the trunk can weaken the tree structure over time and introduce infection, reducing the trees life expectancy. Instead, this area should be mulched, which we top up in the first two years.
- Please do not deposit lawn clippings around the base of the tree. This may lead to trunk decay and disease.
- Tying your tree should not be required. Rope and wire can bite into the trunk encouraging disease. Once trees are established, stakes and ties will be removed by the Council which will then encourage the tree to develop a strong trunk and root system.
Tree planting works on High Street
The Darebin community has told us they “value ‘green’ spaces (both parks and street trees) and want more of them”. This fits in with one of our 10 Big Actions in the 2021—2025 Council Plan, which is to “… increase tree canopy coverage in … retail precincts …”. The planting of more trees is also a key action in several Council strategies including the Open Space Strategy, Urban Forest Strategy and the GreenStreets Streetscape Strategy.
We will plant over 100 trees along High Street in Preston, Thornbury and Northcote with a total project budget of $500,000 which includes a $200,000 grant from the State Government as part of the Living Local Suburban Grants Program. High Street along these parts have few trees, and we’re delivering this project with the Victorian Government to increase shade for patrons. This continues from previous rounds of plantings in High Street, Reservoir, Preston and Northcote over the past six years, with areas along central Reservoir having been planted last financial year as part of the Reservoir Revitalisation program.
The project budget includes project management fees, investigatory works, traffic management, tree pit excavation, planting and maintenance. Our tree-planting project, carried out in partnership with the Victorian Government, will increase shade for shoppers and patrons while encouraging them to spend more time at High Street shops.
A consultant was asked to carry out underground service proving to help us find suitable locations for the planting of new street trees. Several factors were considered such as the location and depth of existing underground services, available space (furniture, poles, shop awnings), and visibility sightlines.
Planting will begin in March 2023 (the start of the tree-planting season) and go on for two months. Additional information will be provided to the community prior to the start of tree-planting works. We engaged with the community in February 2023, during which time business owners and residents were offered the opportunity to provide feedback and raise specific concerns, which were assessed and addressed as they came through.
Electrical line clearance management and block tree pruning
We have a two-year cyclic program that prunes all street trees to ensure compliance with electric lines clearance regulations, maintain the health and aesthetic appeal of the Darebin's tree population. All street trees are pruned to regulated clearances from electrical lines, road and pathways.
Our approved electrical line clearance management plan is available for viewing.
Street tree species selection process
Darebin Parks has a focus on planting the right tree for the right location. This means a mixture of native / indigenous and exotic trees are planted to create species diversity, sustainability and resilience in our street tree population.
Site characteristics such as available growing space, proximity to powerlines, vehicle sightlines and pedestrian movement are just a few of the factors taken into consideration when selecting a particular species for each street. Additional factors such as preferred soil types, root system morphology and previous performance are also considered when selecting tree species for streetscapes.
Shading and solar panel access
Shading is often a desirable service provided by street trees helping to reduce the heat island effect. In some cases shade can conflict with other elements of a street. We receive tree removal requests because shade from a street tree conflicts with their solar panels, vegetable garden or entry garden. A tree will not be removed solely because of the shade it casts on private property.
Each request for tree removal will be assessed on its individual merits.