Frequently Asked Questions

Council tree compared to private tree

A council tree is one that you will find on any Council land/property, inclusive of parks, reserves, street trees, nature-strip trees and green space.

A private tree is one found on private property of any type, inclusive of industrial, residential, vacant property.

Other land management agencies such as Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and Vicroads also have responsibility to maintain trees on land under their management.

Council Owned Trees


Q: If a tree on council owned land falls (totally or branches) onto my residence but causes no damage – is Council responsible for cleaning up the fallen tree/branches?

A: Yes, you can let us know of by lodging a Snap Send Solve, an online request, or call 1300 322 322.


Q: If a Council tree damages my residence or property (for example, car/caravan) and I pay via insurance to fix repairs and clear debris will Council pay for my insurance excess?

A: The matter would be investigated. It would have to be established that Council has been negligent in its management of the tree prior to the event and has breached its duty of care. The fact that the event has occurred, does not mean that Council is automatically responsible.

Council reactively responds to customer concerns regarding tree risk and has in place a cyclic maintenance program where trees are routinely inspected by qualified, experienced Arborists, to undertake proactive maintenance and rectify any risks or defects in accordance with Australian Standards for Pruning of Amenity Trees.


Q: I have complained about a Council tree for many years and nothing has been done about it – it has now fallen onto my residence and caused damage. Will Council prioritise this issue and will they pay for repairs?

A: This matter would be investigated as above. All customer requests regarding tree hazards are inspected by Council’s Arborist. Council currently employs five qualified Arborist across multiple departments, engages independent Arboricultural consultants and four experienced arboricultural contractors. All outcomes of arboricultural inspections are documented in councils Tree Asset management systems.

In a storm event we prioritise rectification works based on risk as much as possible but there can be a delay due to the amount of damage sustained in the Municipality.


Q: An Arborist from Council has said a Council tree that doesn’t look safe to me is in a healthy condition. How do I escalate the issue?

A: Please lodge your concerns in writing to info@frankston.vic./, by or mail P.O Box 490 Frankston or hand delivery to any customer service centre and we will investigate the matter further.


Q: The tree on my nature strip is making a mess – will Council clean this up – or could it be removed?

A: No, generally, Frankston City Council does not carry out maintenance on nature strips except for street trees which are cared for and maintained by the Council. The usual practice is for residents of abutting properties to maintain nature strips by regular mowing, edging turf, weeding and picking up litter and twigs.  Fallen leaves, twigs, fruit and flowers are considered normal and are not considered valid reasons to remove a tree. Trees will only be considered for removal if they are presenting an unacceptable risk as a result of health or structural defects. Tree roots may sometimes affect roads and footpaths which are inspected every two years and hazards are responded to within timelines specified in councils adopted Road Management Plan.


Q: I never see Council looking after the trees - why is that the case?

A: Council maintains more than 65,000 street trees. Council has a routine cyclic maintenance program where each tree under Council’s responsibility is inspected every two years.  Trees may be pruned or removed as a result of this inspection.  The cyclic inspection routine does not negate any requests from residents for pruning or inspections due to safety concerns. These tree requests, once reviewed, are prioritised according to the level of risk.


Q: The roots of a Council owned tree are affecting my property – whose responsibility is to fix this?

A: Any issues with tree root damage from Council trees will be investigated by a Council Arborist. If an inspection determines that private infrastructure damage is caused by tree roots, Council will work on solutions to reduce the risk of further damage

Tree removal will only be considered if no alternative solution can be found.  Residents are able to consult an independent Arborist or building expert if they are unsatisfied with Council response and findings.


Q: Can I prune my street tree?

A: No, Council is responsible for the cared and maintenance of Street trees. Pruning request that relate to safety concerns can be lodged for review by Council’s arborist at Snap Send Solve, and online request or call 1300 322 322. Pruning for other reasons may be considered by Council on a user pays principle with works undertaken by Council or Council’s approved contractors.


Trees on private property


Q: My next-door neighbour’s tree has fallen into my residence – there is no damage, but there is a mess – can I force my neighbour to clean up the debris, or pay for it to be cleaned up?

A: Council is unable to become involved in a private matter of this type. You should initially try to come to a mutually agreeable solution with the property owner or seek advice on your legal rights.

If you are unable to contact the property owner Council can help in putting you in touch. 

Further information on neighbours and trees is available here.


Q: My next-door neighbour’s tree has fallen into my residence – there is extensive damage – is my neighbour responsible?

A: As above. This is a matter between yourself and your neighbour. If you are unable to contact the property owner Council can help in putting you in touch. 


Q: I am worried that a tree on a neighbour’s property doesn’t look safe since the latest storm – what can I do about that?

A: As above - in the first instance we encourage to discuss your concerns with your neighbour, seek your own legal advice and if required engage a private arborist to assess the tree.  If you are unable to resolve the matter with your neighbour privately, the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria may be able to offer some assistance and, if necessary, mediate between both parties. The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) is a free dispute resolution service funded by the Victorian Government.

Branches that overhang your property boundary can be pruned back. Please contact Council to determine if a permit is required for the extent of pruning you seek to undertake. It is advisable to speak to your neighbour before undertaking any work

You may also like to engage a private arborist – details are available here on choosing an arborist.

Where a tree is posing an immediate risk to people or property call Council on 1300 322 322.


Q: A tree within my property has fallen or dropped branches, will Council come and clean it up?

A: Private trees are the responsibility of the resident, council does not undertake tree maintenance works or clean up branches from private property, residents may need to engage assistance from private arborist contractors for assistance (refer to website ‘choosing an arborist’)



Q: How can I tell if a tree is protected?

A: Call Council on 1300 322 322 or email to determine if a permit is required to remove, prune or undertake works within the tree protection zone.


Q: There are fallen trees in public locations (including waterways, wetlands) – Council has not cleaned them up and they are still unsafe.  How can I escalate this?

A: Council will clear fallen trees and branches in these locations. Fallen Trees within natural areas may be left where they are not representing a risk, as they may provide valuable habitat to native wildlife. You can let us know of by lodging a Snap Send Solve, and online request or call 1300 322 322. These requests are prioritised according to the level of risk.  During high storm and wind event there may be delays experienced.


Q: I have reported fallen branches on my nature strip and council hasn’t collected them yet, when will they come to remove them.

A: During and after a storm we will prioritise urgent works. Piles of branches on nature strips or general tidying of reserves can take many weeks to complete whilst resources are directed to those urgent and high risk works as a priority.

We may not be able to give a specific timeline for removal, however all hazard and tidying works for Council trees will be completed as soon as possible.