Trees on public land
We manage more than 100,000 trees on public land, including roadside verges, parks, reserves, and around sports fields and natural areas.
We routinely inspect trees, and resulting work may include:
- formative pruning to enhance shape
- removal of low-hanging or damaged limbs
- mulching of waste
- condition assessments
- complete removal.
If work requires a road closure or Traffic Management Plan, we communicate this widely, including directly with those likely to be most affected.
We also work with WEL Networks and other companies to keep power lines and overhead services clear of trees.
We respond after storms and other events that cause damage to trees and scatter debris, and prioritise safety-related work.
To report damage within the city’s boundary, you can contact our Customer Services Team by calling 07 838 6699 during office hours, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the Antenno App (available to download free on the App Store or Google Play).
One of our staff will check the situation as soon as they are available to do so.
From around April to July each year, a truck sweeps up fallen leaves from streets and footpaths, keeping these areas safe and preventing blocked drains. Around 400,000kg of leaves are collected and turned into compost for gardens.
Planting, pruning and removing trees
Pruning is considered if a tree is causing a visibility hazard to road users or pedestrians, a public nuisance, a safety issue, or if leaves are falling onto private property. We also consider the impact of pruning on the tree's health and appearance. We do not remove tree debris from private property.
Removal is considered if a tree is dead, dying or potentially dangerous.
If you would like a tree pruned, contact us to arrange an inspection. Street or park trees should not be pruned or removed without Council’s permission – there are penalties for doing so.
After a tree is pruned or felled, you can collect firewood left onsite, but cannot use chainsaws or other machinery to do so.
In some streets, trees have caused damage to assets such as roads, footpaths and pipes, or may be unsuitable for urban areas. We are working on replacing these with a better option.
We generally plant new trees in autumn, so there may be a gap after a tree is removed. We use root guards and other methods to make sure new trees don’t cause the same sort of damage.
Before starting work, we contact residents for feedback and to give them an opportunity to choose the replacement species from a preferred list.
In new suburbs, planting the right species of street trees will protect essential infrastructure and utility services. Developers are responsible for selecting and planting street trees with approval from our Parks and Open Spaces Unit.
Our approved tree species list helps developers choose appropriate trees (other species may be planted if Council agrees).
Guiding factors for selecting species include:
- road type - arterial or local
- neighbourhood character - existing or intended
- berm width - plantable area
- soil type and conditions - dry, well-drained, wet, windy etc.
- form, structure, and size at maturity - shape, number of trunks, spread of branches
- debris - fruit, large seeds or pods
- diversity - to limit pest and disease potential.
Protected trees on public or private land
The District Plan protects more than 350 native and exotic trees in Hamilton with significant heritage value. Many are more than 100 years old and in older neighbourhoods (particularly Hamilton East and Claudelands).
Protected trees – both on private and public land – cannot be removed. For any work undertaken on:
- private land - you must contact us for advice on process, and you will probably need a resource consent
- public land - we manage the process and work.
Trees on private land
If trees or shrubs on your property overhang a public footpath, you may receive a request to prune them. Beyond this and protected trees, Council does not get involved in other matters relating to trees on private property. Such matters are best handled by lawyers.
Last updated 12 July 2022