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In this article

  • What to consider before planting a verge tree
  • Types of trees suitable for verges and urban gardens
  • How to avoid damaging underground services when planting verge trees

Selecting a tree for your garden can be an exciting and daunting task.

For most, the first consideration is what type of tree will best suit your garden style. But when it comes to tree selection, it’s just as important to consider how your tree or shrub will look below ground.

Tree roots can creep into underground wastewater pipes and cause damage and even blockages. While falling leaves can block up stormwater drains. So when choosing a tree, here are a few things to consider to ensure they don’t cause issues at your property. 

Man selecting plants and trees at a garden centre

What waterwise trees can I plant?

Use our handy waterwise tree list below to understand which trees and shrubs will suit your property, and the amount of maintenance they require. There are a range of sizes, as well as both WA natives and exotic trees and shrubs to select from.

Waterwise trees tend to have non-invasive root systems which reduces the risk of damage to underground assets. For example, with deciduous trees, you will need to collect fallen leaves to keep them out of stormwater drains.

Our waterwise tree list also includes the amount of maintenance each tree requires. For example with deciduous trees, you will need to collect fallen leaves to keep them out of stormwater drains.

Once established, waterwise trees only need to be watered once or twice a week. Many of these trees will flourish over the summer months with minimal watering.

Young couple at a garden centre selecting plants and trees

Where can I plant waterwise trees?

Prior to planting a tree anywhere on your property, you must contact Before You Dig Australia to make sure underground pipes won’t be damaged or interfered with.

If you want a tree on your verge, be sure to contact your local council for the relevant guidelines. This is an essential step as vital public assets such as water, electrical, gas and telecommunication infrastructure are often located underneath a verge.

All verge trees must be planted at least 2.7 metres from the property boundary line and a minimum of 0.5 meters from water pipes.

 When planting a verge tree make sure to take note of the clearances.

What if I don't select the right tree?

Trees and shrubs are an important part of our built environment. But, if they’re not carefully chosen, they may cause avoidable damage to infrastructure.

Trees and shrubs rely on their roots to find moisture and nutrients. And your property’s wastewater pipes can be an attractive moisture source. All it takes is for the root to sneak into a crack in the pipe. Once inside the pipe, the root can grow quickly, causing a reduction in water flow or even a complete blockage. Often, complete sections of pipe need to be replaced which can be expensive.

Waterwise tree list

The following list is intended as a guide to assist you with selecting the right trees or shrubs for your garden. Each tree has been scored on a water rating and level of root invasiveness by specialist tree consultants.

Water rating

  • 0 drop - once established will require no supplementary watering.
  • 1 drop - requires watering once a week once established.
  • 2 drop - requires watering twice a week once established.

Root invasiveness

  • Low - the species doesn’t display vigorous root development and isn't commonly associated with damage to pipes.
  • Moderate - the species may cause some damage to pipes. Tree species are more likely to originate in more temperate climates than the Perth region, and have a higher requirement for water.
  • High - these species have vigorous root development. Trees within this category are generally not recommended for planting near pipes. They may also be included within a list of trees considered unsuitable for verge or urban garden planting.

Flowering type

  • Showy / ornamental - trees have large flowers or voluminous displays of flowers.
  • Inconspicuous / small - trees have flowers, however these may be small, sparse, or not ornamental
  • No flowers - tree does not have flowers, or in the case of figs are cryptic


Trees and shrubs suitable for planting on verges and urban gardens  
Tree size Waterwise drop rating Common name  Botanical name Origin   Deciduous or evergreen   Root invasiveness Flowering Type
Small (4-8m) 1 Bald Island Marlock Eucalyptus conferruminata WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Beard's Mallee Eucalyptus beardiana WA native Evergreen Low Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 1 Bell Fruited Mallee Eucalyptus preissiana WA native  Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 1 Brachychiton 'Belladonna' Brachychiton acerifolia x populneus
Aus native  Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1 Burgundy Weeping Peppermint Agonis flexuosa 'Burgundy' WA native Evergreen Low Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 1 Chinese Tallow Triadica sebifera Exotic  Deciduous Low Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 1 Cottonwood Hibiscus Hibiscus tileaceus Aust. native   Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 2 Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica Exotic Deciduous Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1 Crimson Mallee Eucalyptus lansdowneana Aus native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  1 Cut-Leaf Banksia Banksia praemorsa WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 2 Dawson River Weeper Callistemon ‘Dawson River’ Aust. native  Evergreen Moderate Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) Desmond Mallee Eucalyptus desmondensis WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Drummond's Mallee Eucalyptus drummondii WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1 Dwarf Yellow Bloodwood Corymbia eximia 'Nana' Aust. native  Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 1 Euky Dwarf Eucalyptus leucoxylon sub species 'Euky Dwarf Aust. native  Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 0 Firewood Banksia Banksia menziesii WA native  Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Fremantle Mallee   Eucalyptus foecunda  WA native   Evergreen  Low Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 0 Fuchsia Mallee Eucalyptus forrestiana  WA native  Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1 Golden Rain Tree Koelreuteria paniculata Exotic Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 2 Golden Shower Tree Cassia fistula  Exotic   Deciduous  Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1 Gumbi Gumbi/Weeping Pittosporum Pittosporum angustifolium WA native  Evergreen  Low Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 1 Hybrid Coral Gum  Eucalyptus 'Torwood' WA native   Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Illyarrie Eucalyptus erythrocorys WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Kings Park Special  Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’   WA native   Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  0 Mottlecah Eucalyptus macrocarpa WA native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  2 New Zealand Christmas Bush  Metrosideros thomasii Exotic   Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  2 Ornamental Pears Pyrus calleryana varieties Exotic   Deciduous Low  Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m)  2 Ornamental Plum  Prunus blireana varieties Exotic  Deciduous Low  Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m)  0 Pear Fruited Mallee Eucalyptus pyriformis WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 2 Persion Ironwood Parrotia persica Exotic Deciduous Moderate  Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) Pin-Cushion Hakea  Hakea laurina WA native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  2 Purple Leafed Ornamental Plum Prunus cerasifera varieties Exotic  Deciduous Low  Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m)  0 Red Flowered Mallee Eucalyptus erythronema WA native   Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  1 Red Flowered Moort Eucalyptus nutans WA native   Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m)  1  River Yate  Eucalyptus macrandra WA native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) Rose Mallee Eucalyptus rhodantha WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Round-Leaved Mallee Eucalyptus orbifolia WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 1 Saltwater Paperbark Melaleuca cuticularis WA native  Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 0 Sandplain Woody Pear Xylomelum angustifolium WA native  Evergreen Low  Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 0 Tallerack Eucalyptus pleurocarpa WA native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 0 Webster's Mallee Eucalyptus websteriana WA native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 1 Weeping Bottlebrush Callistemon viminalis Aus native Evergreen Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1 Western Tea Myrtle Melaleuca nesophila WA native  Evergreen Moderate  Showy/Ornamental 
Small (4-8m) 0 Woody pear Xylomelum occidentale WA native Evergreen Low Inconspicuous/Small
Small (4-8m) 0  Telopea Eucalyptus rosacea WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 1 Wilga/Australian Willow Geijera parviflora Aus native Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 1 Argyle Apple  Eucalyptus cinerea Aust. native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 0 Bull Banksia Banksia grandis  WA native  Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 2 Butterfly Tree / Orchid tree Bauhinia sp. Exotic Semi-deciduous  Low Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 1 Chinese Pistachio Pistacia chinensis Exotic Deciduous  Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 1 Claret Ash Fraxinus 'Raywoodii' Exotic Deciduous Low Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Coastal Moort Eucalyptus utilis WA native Evergreen Low Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Coral Gum Eucalyptus torquata WA native  Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 2 Evergreen Ash Fraxinus griffithii Exotic Evergreen  Low Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Gungurru Eucalyptus caesia ssp caesia WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Holly Leaved Banksia Banksia ilicifolia WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 2 Irish Strawberry tree Arbutus unedo Exotic Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 0 Jam Wattle Acacia acuminata WA native Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 2 Japanese Elm Zelkova serrata 'Green Vase' Exotic   Deciduous  Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Large Fruited Mallee Eucalyptus youngiana WA native Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 1 Lemon Flowered Gum Eucalyptus woodwardii WA native Evergreen Low  Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) Lilly Pilly Acmena Smithii Aus native Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 2 Manchurian Pear Pyrus ussuriensis Exotic Deciduous Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Moort Eucalyptus platypus WA native  Evergreen Moderate Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 0 Olive Olea europa Exotic Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Orange Banksia Banksia prionotes WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 2 Red Flowering Broadleaved Paperbark Melaleuca viridiflora Aust. native  Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 1 Red Flowering Gum Corymbia ficifolia WA native   Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 1 Rock Sheoak Allocasuarina huegeliana WA native  Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) SA Yellow Gum Eucalyptus leucoxylon sub species megalocarpa Aus native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Salmon White Gum Eucalyptus lane-poolei   WA native  Evergreen  Low Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 1 Sea Urchin Hakea Hakea petiolaris WA native  Evergreen  Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Silver Mallee Eucalyptus crucis WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Silver Princess Eucalyptus caesia ssp magna WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 1 Snow-in-Summer Melaleuca linariifolia Aus native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 1 Stout Paperbark Melaleuca preissiana WA native  Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 0 Strickland's Gum Eucalyptus stricklandii WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Swamp Banksia Banksia littoralis WA native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 1 Swamp Mallet Eucalyptus spathulata WA native  Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 2 Swamp Paperbark Eucalyptus rhaphiophylla WA native Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) Swamp Sheoak Casuarina obesa WA  native  Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Tuckeroo Cupaniopsis anacardioides Aus native   Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 2 Water Gum Tristaniopsis laurina Aus native  Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Medium (8-16m) 0 Western Coolabah Eucalyptus victrix WA native  Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m)  1 Willow Bottlebrush Callistemon salignus Aus native  Evergreen  Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Medium (8-16m)  1 Yellow Gum  Eucalyptus leucoxylon 'Rosea' Aus native   Evergreen  Moderate  
Large (16m+) 0 Coastal Banksia Banksia integrifolia Aus native Evergreen Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Large (16m+) 2 Flowering Ash Fraxinus ornus Exotic Deciduous Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Large (16m+) 1 Illawarra Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius Aus native Deciduous Low Showy/Ornamental
Large (16m+) 1 Jacaranda Jacaranda mimosifolia Exotic Deciduous Moderate Showy/Ornamental
Large (16m+) 1 Lacebark Kurrajong Brachychiton discolour Aus native  Deciduous Low Showy/Ornamental
Large (16m+) 1 Queensland Firewheel Tree Stenocarpus sinuatus Aus native Evergreen Low Showy/Ornamental
Large (16m+) 0 River Banksia Banksia seminuda WA native Evergreen Moderate Showy/Ornamental 
Large (16m+) 1 Rough Barked Apple Gum Angophora floribunda Aus native Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small
Large (16m+) 2 Weeping Broadleaved Paperbark Melaleuca leucadendra WA Native Evergreen Moderate Inconspicuous/Small

Trees and shrubs suitable for planting on large properties and in public open space  
Tree size Water drop rating
Common name Botanical name   Origin Deciduous or evergreen   Invasive roots  Flowering type 
Small (4-8m) 2

Cape Leeuwin Wattle
Paraserianthes lophantha WA native  Evergreen
 Moderate  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 2
Native Frangipani Hymenosporum flavum

Aust native

High  Showy/Ornamental
Small (4-8m) 1
Rottnest Island Tea-Tree  Melaleuca lanceolata
 WA native  Evergreen
Moderate   Inconspicuous/small
Medium (8-16m)
Australian Teak Flindersia australis Aust. native  Evergreen
 Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
Medium (8-16m)
Carob Ceratonia siliqua Exotic  Evergreen
 Moderate Inconspicuous/small 
Medium (8-16m) 2 Chinese Elm Ulmus parvifolia Exotic   Deciduous
Moderate Inconspicuous/small 
Medium (8-16m) 0 Coastal Blackbutt Eucalyptus todtiana   WA native  Evergreen
Low  Inconspicuous/small  
Medium (8-16m) 0
Common Sheoak Allocasuarina fraseriana
WA native Deciduous
 High  Inconspicuous/small  
Medium (8-16m) 1
Dwarf sugar gum  Eucalyptus cladocalyx ‘Nana’ Aust. native   Evergreen
 Moderate  Inconspicuous/small  
Medium (8-16m) 2 Judas Tree Cercis siliquastrum Exotic   Deciduous
Moderate Showy/ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 0 Kurrajong Brachychiton populneus  Aust. native   Evergreen
High Showy/ornamental
Medium (8-16m) 2
Lebbek Tree
Albizia lebbeck Aust. native  Semi-deciduous
 Moderate Showy/ornamental 
Medium (8-16m) 1

Macadamia Macadamia integrifolia Aust. native   Evergreen
 Moderate Inconspicuous/small 
Medium (8-16m) 0

Pepper Corn tree Schinus molle   Exotic   Evergreen
 Moderate Inconspicuous/small 
 Medium (8-16m) 0 Power-bark Wandoo   Eucalyptus accedens  WA native Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/small 
Medium (8-16m) 1 Redheart Moit   Eucalyptus decipiens  WA native Evergreen  Low Inconspicuous/small 
 Medium (8-16m) Rottnest Island Cypress  Callitris preissii  WA native Evergreen Low Inconspicuous/small 
 Medium (8-16m) 0 WA Weeping Peppermint  Agonis flexuosa  WA native Evergreen  Moderate Inconspicuous/small
 Medium (8-16m) Water Gum Eucalyptus petiolaris  Aust. native  Evergreen Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
 Medium (8-16m)  1 Wild Plum/ Kaffir Plum  Harpephyllum caffrum  Exotic Evergreen  Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
 Large (16m+) 1 Blackbutt Eucalyptus patens  WA native Evergreen Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
 Large (16m+)  1 Cape Chestnut Calodendron capense  Exotic Deciduous Moderate Showy/ornamental
 Large (16m+) Cork Oak Quercus suber Exotic  Evergreen Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
 Large (16m+) Darling Range Ghost Gum   Eucalyptus laeliae  WA native Evergreen Low  Inconspicuous/small 
 Large (16m+) Holly Leaf Oak Quercus ilex   Exotic Evergreen Moderate  Inconspicuous/small 
  Large (16m+)  2 IIlawarra Plum   Podocarpus elatus  Aust. Native Evergreen Moderate No flowers
  Large (16m+)  1 Iron Bark  Eucalyptus sideroxylon Aust. native  Evergreen Moderate Showy/ornamental
  Large (16m+)  0 Jarrah Eucalyptus marginata WA native Evergreen Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  2 Magnolia  Magnolia grandiflora Exotic  Evergreen Moderate Showy/ornamental
   Large (16m+)  1 Marri  Corymbia calophylla  WA native Evergreen Moderate Showy/ornamental
   Large (16m+)  1 Narrow-leaved Peppermint   Eucalyptus nicholii  Aust. native Evergreen Moderate   Inconspicuous/small
   Large (16m+)  2 NZ Christmas tree  Metrosideros excelsa Exotic Evergreen High  Showy/ornamental
 Large (16m+)  2 Oriental Pane tree  Platanus orientalis   Exotic Deciduous Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
 Large (16m+) 1 Red Box Eucalyptus polyanthemos Aust. native  Evergreen  Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  2 Red Oak  Quercus rubra Exotic  Deciduous Moderate Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  1 Rose She-oak  Casuarina torulosa Aust. native  Evergreen  Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  1 Spotted Gum  Corymbia maculata Aust. native  Evergreen  Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  1 Sydney Red Gum  Angophora costata   Aust. native  Evergreen Moderate  Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  1 Tuart  Eucalyptus gomphocephala   WA native Evergreen Moderate   Inconspicuous/small
  Large (16m+)  0 Wandoo  Eucalyptus wandoo  WA native Evergreen Moderate   Inconspicuous/small
 Large (16m+) 0 Yellow Bloodwood Corymbia eximia  Aust. native Evergreen Moderate Showy/ornamental

A list of trees that are not suggested for urban gardens.
Common Name Botanical name
 American Sweetgum  Liquidambar styraciflua
 Box Elder  Acer negundo
 Broadleaved Paperbark  Melaleuca quinquenervia
 Cook Pine Araucaria columnaris
 Cypruss Pine  Cupressus species
 English Oak  Quercus robur
 Golden Ash  Fraxinus aurea
 Hackberry Celtis mississippiensis
 Honey Locust Gleditsia triacanthos
 Lemon-scented Gum  Corymbia citriodora
 Moreton Bay Fig Ficus macrophylla
 Norfolk Island Hibiscus Lagunaria patersonia
 Norfolk Island Pine  Araucaria heterophylla
 Northern River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis var. obtusa
 Norway Maple  Acer platanoides
 Port Jackson Fig  Ficus rubiginosa
 Queensland Box Lophostemon confertus
 Red Maple Acer rubrum
 River Sheoak Casuarina cunninghamiana
 Rosewood Tipuana tipu
 Rubber Tree Ficus elastica
 Small Leaf Fig Ficus microcarpa
 Tupelo Nyssa sylvatica ‘Tupelo’ 
 Water Oak Quercus nigra 

Advice for local government

All trees must be planted in accordance with the Utilities Providers Code of Practice Guide, which states that trees must be planted 2.7m from the property boundary line and minimum of 0.5m from water assets.

For local government planting medium and large street trees, please contact us regarding your annual tree planting plans. We can help to ensure the longevity of the tree and minimise the possibility of interruption to local water supplies. Any damage or interference with a Water Corporation underground asset may result in a fine.

Download our Selecting the right tree information sheet.

Man smiling holding onto a tree branch

Waterwise product advice

Improving your soil prior to planting verge trees will help you use water efficiently. Together with Australia’s water conservation label, Smart Approved WaterMark, our waterwise product endorsement program makes it easy for you to identify water saving gardening products.

Look out for the waterwise logo when shopping for waterwise approved products at your local garden centre, or browse recommended products on the Smart Approved WaterMark website.