Guide to Arborist Reports in Sydney: What to Look For

Arborist reports are essential for anyone managing, developing, or caring for land with trees in Sydney. Whether you're a government department, a tier 1 or 2 company, or even a homeowner, understanding the components of a comprehensive arborist report can be crucial. Here's our guide for Arborist Reports in Sydney.

Understanding the Basics

Firstly, let's clear up what an arborist report actually is. It's a document prepared by a qualified arborist that provides detailed information about the health, condition, and management recommendations for trees on a given site. These reports are often required for development applications, tree removal permits, and general tree management. Drawing from the detailed requirements of the Ku-ring-gai Council, let's dive into what makes a complete and reliable arborist report.

Site and Tree Identification

Site Details

An arborist report must start with the basics: the site's address, the date of inspection, and the report's aim. This sets the stage for a contextual understanding of the assessment.

Inspection Methods

The methods and tools used for inspection should be clearly listed. This might include advanced techniques like aerial assessment, sonic tomography and resistance drill testing, which provide in-depth insights into tree health and structure.

Site Plan

A detailed, scaled plan of the site is crucial. It should accurately depict the locations of trees, buildings, services, and other relevant structures, providing a clear visual reference.

Tree Data Collection

Tree Inventory Table

Each tree assessed should be listed in a table with details like species, height, trunk diameter, canopy spread, health condition, and estimated life expectancy. This data is vital for understanding the overall tree population on the site.

Tree Significance

The report should evaluate the significance of each tree in the landscape, considering factors like age, rarity, and ecological value.

Detailed Tree Analysis

Tree Health and Structure Analysis

A thorough analysis of each tree's health and structural integrity is required. This includes examining wounds, cavities, cracks, root zones, and signs of pests or diseases.

Supporting Evidence

Photographs, test results, and other forms of evidence should be included to support the observations and findings of the arborist.

Management and Risk Assessment

Management Recommendations

The report should provide detailed recommendations for tree care, maintenance, protection during construction (if a development report), and necessary tree work such as pruning or removal.

Risk Assessment

If part of the agreed scope, the report should assess the risks associated with each tree using recognised methodologies like TRAQ or QTRA. This includes the likelihood of tree failure and its potential impact on the surroundings.

Impact Assessment

For development sites, assessing how proposed works will impact trees is crucial. This includes potential damage to roots, changes in water and light availability, and other environmental factors.

Legal and Environmental Compliance

Local and State Regulations

The report must align with local council and state regulations.

Environmental Considerations

The protection of native trees and compliance with heritage listings are essential environmental considerations that must be addressed.

Additional Considerations

Proposed Replacement Plantings

Where tree removal is involved, the report should recommend suitable replacement plantings.

Options and Recommendations

A discussion of all management options, including those recommended and those not recommended, should be provided, along with justifications.

Choosing the Right Arborist

When commissioning an arborist report in Sydney, it's essential to choose a qualified and experienced professional. Look for arborists with:

Innovations in Arborist Reporting

For those in the industry, like us at Canopy Consulting, staying ahead with technology is key. Utilising technologies like geospatial, 3D scanning, and decay diagnostics gives us a distinct advantage.


A well-prepared arborist report is invaluable for tree management and development planning in Sydney. It's not just about complying with regulations; it's about preserving and managing one of our most valuable natural resources - our trees. Whether you're a business owner, a government department, or a homeowner, understanding these key components will ensure you get the most out of your arborist report in Sydney.

Looking to ensure your trees are expertly assessed and managed? Contact Canopy Consulting, your dedicated experts for arborist reports in Sydney. We offer comprehensive tree reports, advice, and specialty services tailored to your needs. Whether you're a government department or a corporate entity, let us help you with our advanced GIS assessment and tailored solutions. Visit our contact us page or call us now to schedule a consultation and see how we can assist you in making informed decisions about your trees.

Visual summary for a blog post on arborist reports, featuring a prominent green tick symbolizing the accuracy and completeness of a report that includes all essential components, with a subtle background checklist of key report elements.