Tree maintenance

As a board of trustees you must maintain trees so they don’t become a hazard to students or to neighbours. Some trees are protected, and you should talk to your local council before trimming or removing them.

Make sure trees are regularly trimmed.

If they get too big they become costly to look after and difficult to remove.

Large trees can also be a hazard in high winds, and can block light and affect neighbours.

Trees around swimming pools

Trees can also be a health and safety hazard around a swimming pool. Remove trees close to the swimming pool to prevent leaves and branches falling in and contaminating the water, and to prevent people trying to jump from the tree into the pool.

Protected trees

Some trees are protected, such as:

  • naturally established native trees
  • trees with historical, cultural or botanical value
  • trees protected on the certificate of title, which might need a resource consent to do anything to them.

Some councils have general rules around removing trees.

Check if a tree is protected

Contact your local council or Heritage New Zealand to find out if any trees at the school are protected.

Find out what your school is allowed to do before carrying out any work.

Work with protected trees

If your school has a protected tree, you may need resource consent for activities near it such as:

  • excavating or digging
  • depositing material close to the tree
  • construction work
  • putting in pipes or power lines
  • storing things under the tree.

Although resource consent is probably not needed for maintenance, such as trimming or removing dead branches, it’s best to check first.

If a protected tree needs emergency work to deal with a hazard to people or buildings, such as a damaged branch that may fall, contact your local council to find out what you can do.

Pay for maintaining or removing trees

General maintenance work on trees (such as trimming and removing dead branches) must be paid for from your Property Maintenance Grant.

If you have council consent to remove a protected tree, you must also use your PMG funding for this.

You cannot use your 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding, as this is only for capital improvements to buildings and other school facilities.

Talk to your property advisor at your local Ministry office before using any non-PMG funding to deal with trees. 

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