Once a tree dies, it is no longer protected by any local laws and in fact, becomes a hazard and will need removal for safety reasons.

You can remove dead trees from your property. You will not need to seek council permission before doing so. Once a tree dies it is no longer protected by regular tree ordinance laws.

Under normal circumstances, a live tree would be subject to laws and regulations set out by the city Tree Ordinance. Once the tree dies1, this is null and void.

large dead tree removal in progress

Cost to cut down a dead tree

The cost to remove a dead tree will depend on its size, location on your property, and obstacles in the way.

The average cost of dead tree removal is $981, but it can vary depending on the above factors.

It costs more to remove a dead tree than a live one, due to the timber being a lot harder when dead and a lot more dangerous.

Most trees need climbing by an arborist to remove. When a tree is dead, it is prone to snapping risking the arborist’s life. They normally charge more as it takes more time to rig the tree up in a safe manner.

For more detailed information on cost, check out our tree removal cost guide.

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Should dead trees be cut down?

No you know it is legal to remove a dead tree on your property, but should you?

The answer is yes and the sooner the better.

Once a tree has died it begins to slowly rot. The wetter the environment, the faster the process.

When you think about it, the only thing holding a tree upright is the roots that attach it to the ground. Once these rot out, it is anyone’s guess when and where the tree will fall.

If the tree is in the middle of a paddock, no big deal, but if it is in your yard and has the potential to hit your home, it needs to go.

How long can a dead tree remain standing?

It depends on a lot of variables. A healthy tree can come down in a storm, do a dead tree, with its reduced ability to hold itself upright can also come down at any time.

Under normal circumstances, it will take about 12 months for the tree to begin to deteriorate to the point where it begins to the branches. For about 24 months after this, it will fall.

In dry environments like the desert, dead trees can stay standing for decades. As there is no moisture to rot the timber, they tend to hold on for a lot longer.

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Ways to recycle dead trees


Mulching2 your gardens not only looks great, but it also serves a vital purpose for the health of your plants. By having a layer of wood chips, you trap in moisture that would normally get easily evaporated by the direct sun.

Secondly, it increases the heat with increased organism activity below the ground which further increases heat. All of the above is amazing for your plants as it happens just like this in nature as trees drop their leaves and bark, they essentially mulch themselves and provide their own food for themselves as the leaf litter breaks down.

tree mulch pile in drivways


If you have an open fireplace, then you have probably already thought of this one. Get the tree service to cut up the timber and use it in the fire. Considering good hardwood timber is over $100 per cubic meter split, you are saving yourself a packet doing it this way.

Don’t have a fireplace? No problem, still get the tree service to cut up the timber into 1-foot logs and get them to leave them in a pile.

Take a photo of the pile and put it on eBay as an auction. Start the bids at $1 to get lots of interest, and watch people bid it up.
The great part about this is they will come out and load the timber themselves.

firewood in pile

Wood slabs or turning

If you have a large tree, you might be sitting on quite a bit of money. When cut into tables like slabs, these planks of timber can be sold for quite a bit of money.

You would need to speak to a mill and it would depend on the type of timber you have, but well worth investigating.

timber slab redwood

Does Insurance cover dead tree removal?

In short, if a tree has fallen on your property, your insurance3 will normally cover the removal. If the trees are dead, they will not come to the party.

The problem is, trees are the responsibility of the owner to maintain.

By leaving a dead tree on your property for an extended period of time and not having it tended to, the insurer will claim negligence on your part and not pay up.

3 Sources

  1. International Society of Arboriculture, (2023) Tree Owner’s Manual. <https://www.treesaregood.org/treeowner/planthealthcare/deadtrees> Accessed: 07-03-2024
  2. Joey Williamson and Janet McLeod Scott, (2016) Mulch. <https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/mulch/> Accessed: 07-03-2024
  3. Insurance Information Institute, (2019) Trees and Insurance. <https://www.iii.org/article/if-a-tree-falls-on-your-house-are-you-covered> Accessed: 07-03-2024
Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.