There are rules in the Christchurch District Plan to protect a number of the city's most significant trees, as well as trees in Council-owned roads, parks, reserves and public open spaces.
Trees are a major part of the city’s character and amenity. One of the objectives in the District Plan is to maintain and enhance the contribution of trees to the amenity of the community while also providing for the reasonable use and enjoyment of property.
Trees are identified as being significant because they have particular botanical, heritage, amenity, landscape, cultural, ecological and/or environmental values.
Significant trees and groups of trees on private property are listed in Appendix 22.214.171.124 of the Christchurch District Plan.
These trees are also identified on the Planning Maps.
Pruning is permitted if it meets the following criteria:
The following additional pruning work is permitted only if it is carried out by a qualified works arborist, or in accordance with advice from one:
If a tree is causing a hazard to electricity lines or airport approach slopes it should be pruned to remove the hazard. The work must be carried out by or under the supervision of a qualified arborist. For electricity clearance work, the arborist must be engaged by the utility company.
A significant tree on private property may be removed if it:
Prior to felling the tree, a Tree Removal Certificate (P-024)(external link) must be submitted to the Council confirming that the tree meets the above criteria for removal. The certificate must be prepared by a qualified technician arborist and contain the information outlined in Appendix 126.96.36.199 of the District Plan.
Technician arborists are available at the following companies:
Gardening, including planting of shrubs, flowers, ground cover and other small plants, and covering ground in lawn in bark, is permitted within the dripline of a significant tree as long as it does not involve:
The dripline is shown in this diagram:
If in doubt about which to apply, use whichever of the two measurements is greater.
With irregular shaped trees (e.g. leaning trees), the dripline is calculated by taking the greatest radial spread of the canopy from the trunk in a full circle around the tree.
A resource consent is needed for any pruning, gardening or felling not listed above.
The District Plan includes rules relating to pruning and felling of trees on public land, including roads (street trees), parks and reserves, and other public open space.
These trees are owned by Council and no work should be carried out without the appropriate permission. Please contact the Council if you have any questions about trees on public land, or report a problem.
You can read the full set of rules relating to Significant Trees in Chapter 9 of the Christchurch District Plan(external link).