Skip to Content

Trees on Private Land - Backyards and Gardens

Trees cool and shade our homes and streets, reduce electricity bills, and are our best way of adaptation to the impacts of climate change. 

St Morris - Winning Sustainable Garden - November 2018-26With 69 percent of the City’s land privately owned, backyards, gardens and private landscaped areas make significant contributions to our City’s tree canopy cover.

The benefits of tree canopy include:

  • cleaning water, air and soil
  • reducing the effects of climate change
  • providing habitat for wildlife
  • contributing to mental health and wellbeing
  • adding character and economic value to our neighbourhoods

Trees on private land - topics

Tree selection and planting

Child planting gardenIndividuals can enjoy the many benefits of trees by planting a tree – or more than one – in their backyards and gardens.

There are many resources available to help you find a suitable tree.

The following resources provide information describing features such as: 

  • size
  • evergreen/deciduous
  • canopy shape
  • colour of leaves
  • seasonal colour and ability to flower
  • tolerance to drought, pests and more


The City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters also encourages you to talk to your local garden centre or nursery for specialist advice.

Tree removal on private property

Before you remove a tree on your property you must check if it is significant or regulated. For more information click on the tab below.

For every tree you remove, we encourage you to plant a replacement tree. There are resources available to help you find a suitable tree. Click on the Tree Selection and Planting tab above for information.

Regulated and significant trees

Staff Matt Cole thumbRegulated and Significant trees are particularly important and common in the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters.

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and Regulations provide that any ‘tree damaging activity’ to a regulated or significant tree is ‘development’ and therefore requires development approval.

For more information, contact the Council's Planning & Development Department on 8366 4530.


Neighbours and trees

Native Bird and Plant 480x320Sometimes, problems can arise between neighbours regarding overhanging branches, encroaching roots, gutters becoming clogged and berries or fruit decomposing in neighbouring properties.

The best solution is to contact your neighbour and try and reach a mutually beneficial solution.

You do have the right to trim branches and shrubs back to the boundary, however, it is important to trim the tree or shrub appropriately to ensure that the health of the plant is not compromised. You should discuss and negotiate with your neighbour about getting rid of any debris.

Please note: The City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters does not have authority over trees on private property except when they are afforded protection through legislation.

Trees and the Law Booklet

The Legal Services Commission of South Australia Trees and the Law Booklet outlines the law relating to tree problems between private neighbours and suggests practical ways in which problems may be avoided.

For more information about neighbours and trees, visit: Local Government Act 1999

Trees and development

For information about trees and development, contact the Council’s Urban Planning & Environment Department on 08 8366 4530 or

Pruning of trees through powerlines

Gum treeEven if trees in public areas are owned by Council, SA Power Networks (SAPN) is required by legislation to inspect and clear vegetation from around some powerlines. 

It is the responsibility of SAPN to implement regular cyclic pruning by appropriate skilled and qualified personnel in a timely manner of no more than every three years.

For pruning of trees through power lines contact SA Power Networks on 131 261 or visit: or visit: SA Power Networks

Related content


For more information, call Citizen Services on 08 8366 4555 or email: