Tree hazard reduction in parks program

About the program

Council regularly carries out a formal inspection of all trees within Merri-bek’s parks and reserves to identify hazardous trees and branches, through the Tree Hazard Reduction in Parks program.

This program helps ensure that the trees within the municipality’s parks and reserves remain safe for users, and reduces the need for reactive works.


How are trees assessed?

Qualified arborists inspect and assess each tree within every park and reserve, looking for hazardous trees or branches.

Trees are assessed for their health and condition, with an emphasis on structural condition.

Council has assessment guidelines which it uses to prioritise follow-up actions.

When is a tree hazardous? 

There are a number of reasons why a tree may weaken or fail, which can then cause injury or damage:

  • There is a structural fault within the tree or branch
  • The tree or branch is dead
  • The tree or branch may contain decay or rot, or
  • The tree may be affected by a disease.

What happens after a tree is assessed?

Following the assessment, the qualified arborist recommends if works need to be carried out on the tree. These works can involve tree pruning or, in limited circumstances, total tree removal.

Tree pruning works include deadwood removal, removing branches which have a structural fault, and remedial branch pruning.

Full tree removal is recommended only when all other options have been considered.

Preserving existing trees is of prime importance to Council and practical techniques are used to maintain the health of trees in parks and open space.

Reasons to remove a tree are that the tree is dead or severely declining, the tree contains decay or rot, or the tree contains a structural fault making it unstable.

If a tree is removed, Council replaces the tree with a new tree during the next planting season.

How to report a tree issue

To report an urgent issue, such as a fallen or hanging branch which is dangerous, phone Council on 9240 1111 (24 hours).

Report a tree pruning or maintenance issue through the Council website. You can upload a photo of the tree to help us respond to your request. Alternatively you can contact Council.

Reports are assessed as part of Council's regular tree maintenance activities.