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Tree Management

Tree Management

Trees are our most important natural assets. As well as beautifying our streets, they clean the air, provide cooling shade, provide a habitat for birds and other animals, and create a healthy, resilient, liveable city. We greatly value our urban forest and ensure we support it to be healthy and flourishing, so the trees in turn can continue to provide our community with all these benefits.

Street Trees

Street trees are council-owned trees planted on nature strips and median strips on nearly every street in Holdfast Bay. There are more than 100 different species that have been planted over decades. Council currently aims to plant approximately 600 new street trees every year, with a preference to plant out whole streets in one go, which allows the new trees to be watered together and grow together, creating a pleasing look to the street. There are many factors involved in choosing the right tree for the right place.

Street Trees FAQs

Not necessarily. Our community expects the retention of all trees and they are rarely removed unless there are compelling reasons to do so.

A request will need to be lodged in order for a tree assessment to be performed. The assessment takes into account specific criteria and the outcome of this will be the main deciding factor as to whether the tree will be removed.

Our Tree Management Policy states that healthy trees will not be removed for any of the following reasons:

  • potential upheaval of public property/infrastructure
  • potential to attract wildlife
  • causing a nuisance by way of dropping leaves, fruit, seeds, nuts, bark, etc.
  • the tree is in the way of a non-essential driveway
  • aesthetic reasons including personal distaste, shading of private property (including solar panels), and obstruction of view (other than traffic and pedestrian sightlines)
  • perceived safety risk
  • causing interference with utilities (it is the utility provider’s responsibility to address these matters)

Residents are not allowed to remove, damage, or prune trees on council land.

Yes, we aim to plant hundreds of new and replacement street trees every year. All street tree planting is undertaken during the cooler months of the year, usually between May and September. Trees will be planted to create whole avenues of street trees that will, in time, grow in unison with one another, which creates a pleasing look. They are occasionally planted individually to replace damaged/dead trees and as part of succession planting.

Please note that private property owners cannot plant on public land. If you are interested in having a street tree planted in front of your property, please make a request through our Adopt-a-Tree program.

Regulated trees are defined as trees with a trunk circumference of 2 metres or more (measured at 1 metre above ground level). Significant trees are defined as trees with a trunk circumference of 3 metres or more (measured at 1 metre above ground level). Regulated and significant trees are protected under state government legislation whether they are on private or public land. Where appropriate we will continue to protect and maintain regulated and significant trees on council land.

We greatly value the canopy provided by these magnificent trees, however, we are unable to assist with trees on private property, even if they are regulated or significant.

Not all trees will be drought resistant, however, we will always look to plant the most compatible tree for each location.

Only with approval given via a Verge Application Form (Section 221 Application). However, homeowners are encouraged to participate in our Adopt-a-Tree program through which we will supply you with a tree, plant it and prune it. See the Adopt-a-Tree page for more details.

If you would like to redevelop the verge outside your property, please complete a Verge Application, and submit it with a detailed plan of what you would like to do. There is no fee for applying.

Permitted verge treatments include lawn, mulch, small shrubs (under 500mm in height), and permeable surfaces such as permeable paving. We encourage the use of low plants to help cool and beautify your street. We provide a subsidy to Holdfast Bay residents, for the purchase of local native plants via our Green Living Rebate, and you can find a list of suitable native species on our verges page.

Non-permeable paving and new installations of artificial turf are not allowed to be used on verges.

More details are available in the Verge Management Policy. When you submit a verge application, we will confirm that your planned verge meets the required standards.

Only with sufficient reason.

The following reasons will not warrant consideration for pruning:

  • The tree is considered too tall
  • Aesthetic reasons
  • Perceived risk
  • Nuisance by way of berry or nut drop, leaf litter, bark, twigs, sap, etc.
  • Tree shading lawns, gardens, houses, pools, solar panels, etc.
  • Unsubstantiated damage to infrastructure
  • To enhance clear views, including advertising signage
  • The tree attracts wildlife
  • To prevent animal defecation
  • Due to allergies or health problems
  • To accommodate clearance for larger vehicles beyond clearance guidelines
  • For the installation of non-essential services.

We will only prune to ensure:

  • adequate physical clearances are met for pedestrians, traffic, and infrastructure
  • clearance for any necessary line of sight
  • a better outcome for the health and structural integrity of the tree

Please note that residents are not allowed to prune council trees. If council trees are overhanging private property, residents can lodge a request for us to prune the tree.

For lodging tree pruning/maintenance requests please contact customer service. Please be as specific as possible about the location, and if you can attach a photo please do.

Most native or threatened species (and remnant vegetation) are protected by legislation such as the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and can only be removed under certain circumstances.

When considering trees for your private property (i.e your garden), please note that some trees, and other plants, are considered a biosecurity risk and are not allowed to be sold or moved, or must be controlled to prevent them from spreading. These trees, some other plants, and some animals are ‘declared’ under the Landscape SA Act 2019 and you can find the full list of declared trees here.

If you see a tree in the council area that you think is deserving of recognition, you can nominate it for Tree of the Month. If you would like to have a tree planted on your verge, you can sign up to Adopt a Tree. You can also keep an eye out for anyone damaging trees. Damaging trees is considered an act of vandalism and should be reported to police immediately, as well as to the council.

Tree Canopy and Urban Cooling

Trees are quiet achievers and are vital in providing comfort, beauty, and health in our increasingly warm climate. Trees are also one of the most effective and efficient ways of adapting to a warming climate by providing significant cooling during our hot summers, and therefore, we have a target to increase the tree canopy in Holdfast Bay by 10% by 2030.

The benefits of tree canopy include:

  • supporting health and wellbeing
  • cleaning water, air, and soil
  • holding cultural and historical significance
  • UV protection
  • uptake of carbon dioxide thus helping to reduce the effects of climate change
  • increasing property values
  • muffling sounds
  • contributing to good mental health
  • habitat for wildlife
  • contributing to a liveable city
  • providing cool shade on hot days
  • water vapour released by trees helps to further cool the air
  • tree shade helps with energy savings in buildings
  • providing soothing greenness and beauty
  • adding character to our neighbourhoods

In 2018, we collaborated with the State Government and 15 other metropolitan councils on a major project to map Adelaide's metropolitan tree canopy in great detail. The results are publicly available on this State Government Urban Heat and Tree Mapping Viewer, which includes an urban heat map. The first page provides some information about the different layers of information you can access and to see the actual maps, click on 'Launch Map Viewer'.

In this viewer, you can zoom in to see the surface temperatures of your home, garden, or business that were captured on a day that was 39 degrees Celsius in 2018. You can also see the tree canopy in areas of interest to you.


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