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Street trees

Gisborne District Council plants street trees to enhance the street's amenity value.  We look after over 4,730 street trees and areas of vegetation planted on road reserve within the city and rural townships. 
Street tree planting and maintenance work is carried out by our approved contractors only.  street trees in Harris St

Street tree needs pruning

We do not allow residents to prune or remove street trees.  Only approved arborists can maintain street trees.  Please tell us if a street tree is a causing a problem such as:

  • blocking footpath access
  • causing traffic safety issues
  • damaged or needs pruning
  • causing any other nuisance

Read our Pruning and Removal of Public Trees Procedure

You can let us know - fill in the eFix form

Want to plant a new street tree

All street tree planting will be done by our approved contractors.  You cannot plant on street and road sides unless you have written approval from us.  Only our contractors can plant and maintain street trees.

If you would like a tree on your front verge, you need to talk to us first.

Any digging in the road reserve (grass verge) requires permission from us.  Permission includes being granted a 'Corridor Access Request' and complying with the conditions. 

Street tree planting will take into account:

  • the effect on adjacent properties at the time of planting and in the future, including shading, loss of views, traffic visibility, possible root damage 
  • public support for planting in the street
  • tree species and site suitability
  • utility services including street lights, water, sewage and stormwater pipes and overhead or underground power, phone and gas
  • pedestrian and traffic visibility and activity in the street, including kerbside collection trucks, road sweepers etc.
  • the ongoing tree maintenance

Street tree general maintenance 

Tree management

Street trees will not be topped unless they were planted prior to 1999 and pose a threat to overhead power lines.

Pollarding is not an acceptable technique for street tree management.  Where trees have been pollarded in the past, further pollarding will be carried out until the tree is replaced.  This includes for example the London Plane tree.

Before making any decision about street tree complaints, we will consider issues relating to tree health, amenity value and the effect of removing or trimming the tree. 

Read our Pruning and Removal of Public Trees Procedures

What happens if trees or shrubs are planted without permission?

Any trees planted by residents on road reserve are deemed to be Council trees.  They will be maintained under the street tree maintenance contract or removed if they are assessed as being inappropriate. Residents will be notified before a tree is removed.

If the tree is removed, it will not be replaced unless the site is approved for a street tree under our guidelines.
See the criteria for replanting a tree.

Do we carry out regular maintenance of street trees?

Council inspects all street trees twice each year and carries out maintenance as necessary.  This is to keep the trees healthy and within the specifications for road clearance for vehicles and footpath clearance for pedestrians. Every street tree is allocated a replanting reassessment year and if it is still healthy at that time it's retained and reassessed at a later date. Any trees that are assessed as being in poor health are scheduled for removal.

Planting a street tree in a new location

A tree may not be appropriate for every address in a street.  Some streetscapes may be better suited to a tree outside every second, third or fourth property or not at all.  Road and utility concerns and also the orientation of the street will affect the positioning of trees. Street trees will not be planted where there is no curbed roadway and a minimum 1.5 metre wide planting strip.

Street trees are maintained to specifications based on the use of the road for transport and the location of utility services and drains - any of these may prevent the tree growing to its natural dimensions and maturity.  Street trees must be planted to the following minimum standards:

  • 1 metre back from the face of the curb
  • 4 metres from underground utility pipes
  • 4 metres from underground utility pipes
  • 5 metres from power poles
  • 3 metres from driveways
  • 8 metres from street lights or other existing trees
  • 60 metres from street intersections

Trees for commemorative purposes will not be planted as street trees.  Please contact us for more information

Trees that are not appropriate for street trees

The following trees are identified as inappropriate for street tree planting, and will not be planted by Council:

  • Phoenix Canariensis
  • Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
  • Rhus Tree (Toxicodendron succedaneum
  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterphylla)
  • London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Replanting a street tree

Unless there is a valid reason not to replant, where an individual street tree has been removed, a tree will usually be replanted close to the same location. In cases where a tree is removed, it will not be replaced unless the site is approved for a street tree. Criteria that will help decide whether a new street tree is planted include:    

  • whether street trees are presently in the street
  • whether street trees have been removed from the street or location
  • presence of underground and overhead utility services
  • distance from street intersections and kerb crossings
  • current theme of trees in the street
  • soil conditions
  • orientation of the street
  • whether the applicant has previously requested a tree planting

Problem with neighbour's tree

Council does not get involved with trees on private property.
For information about private trees

Related documents 

Pruning and Removal of Public Trees Procedure