How we manage trees in City of Ballarat

Image of tree sapling with support stakes

Hundreds of hours of work each year go into managing the 100,000 trees across the City of Ballarat, many of which are more than 100 years old. 

The City of Ballarat’s Tree Management Plan 2018-22 maps the diverse range of trees in terms of species, age, size and density, and outlines the essential role they play in our urban and rural neighbourhoods in providing economic, social and ecological benefits. 

As October draws to a close, the City of Ballarat is coming to the end of its annual tree planting – a critical element and a priority of the 2021-2025 Council Plan goals in ensuring an environmentally sustainable future. 

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in 2021, there has been 2000 trees planted over the winter months across Ballarat, including 21 streets in Wendouree, 16 streets in Wendouree West, 3 streets in Miners Rest and 4 streets in Sebastopol.   

“The City of Ballarat has identified a number of suburbs that have a lack of tree cover and over the next 10 years we aim to plant a further 25,000 trees in line with the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance study," he said.  

“The tree planting season for 2021 will end as the weather and the ground warms and trees come out of winter hibernation. 

“Excitingly we remain on target for a 40% urban canopy by 2040 as per the City of Ballarat’s Urban Forest Action Plan and the Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan 2019-2025.” 
 

Frequently asked questions about trees in City of Ballarat 

How does City of Ballarat choose the types of trees to plant? 
The right mix of species and age diversity are vital components of a sustainable tree population. The method used for achieving this is for a single species to not make up any more than ten percent of the whole tree population.  

The age of trees is also spread evenly across the City with variation between young and old trees to lessen the impact of, or need, to remove large areas of trees. 

How does City of Ballarat decide where trees are planted? 
When selecting species and locations for street and parkland tree planting, the City of Ballarat considers factors such as preferred landscape character, masterplans, strategies and development plans, drought tolerance/low water usage, growth habit, size and structural integrity, tolerance to harsh urban environments and many more factors.  

The complete list of factors and more information on the selections of tree species for planting in the City of Ballarat is available to view in the Tree Management Plan which can be viewed at www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/treemanagement 

How does City of Ballarat decide which trees need to be removed? 
City of Ballarat maintains an up-to-date inventory of applicable trees within our Integrated Asset Management System (IAMS) with each tree in the IAMS uniquely identified and assigned a category based on risk. 

High priority maintenance works on trees deemed to be most as risk of causing damage to property, people or infrastructure take precedence over reactionary or lower priority requests.  

Who is responsible for looking after nature strips and can I plant on them? 
Nature strips are maintained by the property owner or occupant and should be grassed or compacted granitic sand may be used in non-heritage overlay areas.  

Council does not encourage the planting of shrubs around established trees as the planting process can impact on tree roots. Existing plantings must be managed and kept below the maximum height of 500mm. 

Any nature strip alternations will need to be submitted to Council for approval. Materials, planter boxes, shrubs or tress can be used on nature strips, but a local laws permit will be required.  

Can I add decorations such as pavers or stepping stones to my nature strip? 
Hard surfaces such as concrete, pavers, asphalt or steppingstones are not permitted in residential areas. If a hard surface is required for vehicle access purposes, a vehicle crossing permit should be obtained. 

Can I cut back or remove a tree or plant on my nature strip? 
Council is responsible for the planting, maintenance and removal of all street trees in the urban area, including on nature strips.  

More information about the dos and don’ts of nature strips in the City of Ballarat can be found at www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/naturestrips 

Who is responsible for keeping trees away from powerlines? 
Under the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2015, the City of Ballarat must maintain street trees and make sure they are clear of power lines within the urban area of Ballarat. 

Powercor is responsible for tree clearance for private trees adjacent to street power lines and outside the urban area of Ballarat such as Buninyong, Delacombe, Miners Rest, Cardigan Village and Learmonth. 

What consideration is given to the trees under established powerlines? 
When any tree plantings are proposed in the vicinity of above and below ground infrastructure, careful consideration of species selection, soil type, planting technique, available root space and the appropriateness of root control measures are needed to ensure damage is avoided or minimised. 

For information about the City of Ballarat power lines tree clearance program or the regulations, view our Electric Line Clearance Management Plan 2021–22 at www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/treemanagement