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Overhanging tree branches

Information on issues with overgrown tree branches, plants and foliage from private property, including how to report overhanging vegetation hazards.

Issues with overhanging tree branches

Overgrown vegetation is hazardous to the community. It can:

  • injure pedestrians
  • block footpath space
  • trap litter
  • make streets look unsafe and untidy
  • harm businesses in commercial and industrial areas
  • limit access for people with disabilities.

Maintaining the trees and plants on private property is the responsibility of the home or landowner.

Laws and branches

It is an offence to let your plants grow onto or over land controlled by Knox City Council.

This applies to:

  • roads, footpaths and sidewalks
  • nature-strips
  • parks
  • other Council-controlled reserves.

All vegetation must be kept clear to a height of 2.5m over a footpath, and 5m above a road. You are also required to ensure they do not obstruct any road traffic control devices.

Notice to prune

During routine footpath and asset inspections, if Council identifies your plants are overhanging, we will leave a card in your letterbox requesting you cut back branches within two weeks.

This will automatically be referred to the Community Laws team who will reinspect your property to ensure works are completed.

Complaints about overhanging trees

You can report online if you notice overhanging tree branches or plants from a private property that may cause a hazard.

Report overhanging trees or plants

Once Council receives a complaint, we will send out a Community Laws Officer to inspect the property.

What happens next?

If the officer identifies overhanging vegetation from your property, you will be issued with a Notice to Comply to clear the hazard by a certain date.

You must fix the problem by the date on the Notice.

When work is not completed

If vegetation remains overhanging from your property after the deadline in the notice, Council will issue you with an infringement.

Council may also engage a contractor to remedy the issue. Any costs incurred are the property owners’ responsibility as per the Local Government Act 1989.

If more time is needed

If you need more time, contact the Officer on your Notice to Comply before it expires.

They can tell you if can get an extension.

Complaints about overhanging trees from a private property

Council cannot provide assistance with overhanging branches, damage from roots or dropped foliage from a private property onto another neighbouring private property. 

Contact the Dispute Settlement Centre on 1300 372 888 to obtain advice on your rights and responsibilities. 

Keeping people safe

Foliage hanging lower than 2.5m from the ground can hurt people walking past. They could be hit in the eye or body, causing injuries.

Keep in mind that plants get wet during rainy weather. This can make them hang lower to the ground.

Ground-level vegetation can also cause people to trip or slip over.

Need help?

Contact us and we will get back to you.

Or call our Community Laws team on 9298 8000.

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