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Street trees

We plant 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.

On this page

Street tree needs pruning

Only approved arborists can maintain street trees. So we don't allow residents to prune or remove 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

Want to plant a new street tree?

You need our written approval to plant on street and road sides.  Only our contractors can plant and maintain street trees. If you would like a tree on your front verge, talk to us first.

Any digging in the road reserve (grass verge) requires an approved Corridor Access Request

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

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

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.

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's no curbed roadway and a minimum 1.5m 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.

These are guidelines in our Street Trees Plan, for safe planting distances:

  • 10m from kerb at a street intersection
  • 6m from the centre pole of power poles, street light poles, sign posts
  • 2m from the edge of a stormwater drain grate
  • 3m from the edge of a bus stop zone
  • 6m from painted lines of a pedestrian crossing

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

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)

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

Council does not get involved with trees on private property.

Street trees and gardens plan

This plan provides the strategic direction for street trees and gardens in our district.

Read the street trees and gardens plan in the Community Facilities Strategy.

Take a look at some of our frequently asked questions below.

Street trees and gardens improve the overall appeal and enjoyment of our neighbourhoods, urban spaces and provide a range of other benefits. Planting will generally occur between May and August during winter.

Street trees can:

  • Define a neighbourhood’s character and strengthen local identity.
  • Provide summer shade for the comfort of pedestrians and residents.
  • Diminish traffic noise, screen unappealing views and reduce glare.
  • Absorb heat, dissipate cold, filter air, and capture dust and allergens.
  • Provide orientation within the city street network.
  • Enhance property values as trees establish and mature.
  • Provide seasonal interest and natural beauty through foliage, leaf patterns, flowers, bark, fruit and canopy.
  • Offer a habitat and a food source for native birds.

The Street Trees and Gardens Plan recommends a range of species for each suburb. The plan is a start point used to select species for each street.

Trees are specifically selected for individual streets based on:

  • The width of the verge to ensure the tree has enough space to grow.
  • Aspect (direction in relation to the sun) of the verge (ie: to prevent shading buildings) in winter.
  • Soil conditions.
  • What growing well in the street already or in private properties.
  • Species proven to work well as street trees (for example fast-growing, hardy easily maintained and no common maintenance or health and safety issues for example allergens (Rhuse tree), susceptible to dropping branches (Eucalyptus).
  • Availability of tree stock.
  • Previous community feedback about specific species.

Elected members  have expressed a desire to plant as many street trees as possible in the district. However, we do recognise there are legitimate reasons some residents may not want a tree on their verge and will consider individual requests not to plant.

Prior to requesting a tree not to be planted we remind you that:

  • Trees have been specifically selected and positioned on your verge to avoid any potential future issues such as shading or interference with services or visual impediments from driveways.
  • Trees are small (1.5m-2m tall) when planted and generally take 15-20 years before any perceived issues are likely to occur.
  • Data collected by Tauranga City Council and Auckland City Council suggest the average life of a street tree is between 17- 28years.
  • It is our responsibility to maintain the tree.

We want as many native street trees as possible to be planted, however, we do acknowledge they aren't always the best option.

Species proposed have been carefully considered to ensure the right tree is planted in the right location so that it thrives and minimises issues for property owners and Council in future.

Often there is only space to plant 1 tree per property due to the size of the berms, setback requirements from driveways, intersections and underground services.

However, please contact us if you would like to explore the potential for a second tree to be planted on your verge.

Generally, we will only plant 1 tree per property. However, some properties have exceptionally large road frontages that can easily accommodate more than 1 tree.

In these circumstances, additional trees may be planted to retain continuity with the rest of the street, avoid planting gaps and help achieve a tree avenue effect along the street.

We have a contract for Street tree maintenance. Generally the contractor who plants the trees will be tasked with their maintenance during the establishment phase over the first 2 to 3 years. Then maintenance will be included in an annual scheduled maintenance programme.

We request that property owners or members of the public do not prune street trees regardless of expertise of experience. Street tree pruning is a specialist task included in tree establishment and scheduled maintenance contracts undertaken by qualified arborists to ensure tree health and reduce future street tree related issues.

New trees like a dry trunk dry and moist roots. Mulch or grass clippings piled up against the trunk, promotes moisture that causes bark rot. Mulch helps keep roots moist, and when a new tree is mulched, the mulch will resemble a doughnut, around the tree away from the trunk.

Some simple things you can do to help your street tree grow and remain healthy:

  • Give it a bucket of water during hot dry weather.
  • Keep mulch that resembling a doughnut not a volcano around the tree.
  • Avoid spraying weed killer sprayed on the mulch or around the base of tree.
  • Avoid bumping and damaging trees with weed eaters or lawnmowers.

A newly-planted tree takes while to anchor itself firmly in the soil. Until then, a tree stake provides support, preventing wind rock and movement of the roots, and ensures the young tree establishes well.  We generally remove stakes and ties after 12-18 months but some require longer.

Mulch holds moisture for the tree to use and is provides slow-release nutrition that leaches down to the roots below with rain. In addition, mulch moderates soil temperature to help contribute to vigorous root growth and protecting roots from extreme summer and winter temperatures.