Acorns may look innocent but those little nuggets could hit you as they fall or send you sprawling if you slip on them - and they're even more dangerous at night.

That's according to the owners of an Auckland property who want to chop down a huge listed oak tree in their front yard.

The Henderson couple are seeking consent from Auckland Council to axe the oak outside their house on Sturges Rd, saying it is damaging their house and driveway, prevents their kids enjoying the property and causing them huge stress.

They look innocent enough...but what if you stood on one? Stock photo / Pixabay
They look innocent enough...but what if you stood on one? Stock photo / Pixabay

Paperwork submitted to the council highlighted the perils of acorns, which could hit people and cars and had caused people to slip and roll their ankles.

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"At the times of the year when these acorns fall, the resident's children are no longer allowed to play on the grass or driveway at the fear that they will hurt themselves," according to the application.

"There are large numbers of acorns produced by this large tree, it is impossible to predict where these might fall and when."

The driveway has become a hazard for pedestrians, the owners say. Photo / Supplied
The driveway has become a hazard for pedestrians, the owners say. Photo / Supplied

Acorns littering the ground were even more dangerous at night, making it "very dangerous for people arriving" as they could easily slip.

Falling debris was also a hazard - from flammable leaves to twigs plunging to the ground. In one case a branch thicker than an arm fell "a few inches" from the owner.

The tree's extensive roots were also damaging the driveway and could be causing structural damage to the house, which was just 5m away. The application pointed out the Association of British Insurers advised oak trees be planted 30m away from buildings.

An exploratory assessment found roots appeared to be cracking the driveway close to the house.

A crack in the driveway had almost reached the house and appeared to be caused by a tree root. Photo / Supplied
A crack in the driveway had almost reached the house and appeared to be caused by a tree root. Photo / Supplied

"These issues are causing huge stress on the house owners", the application said.

Chopping down the tree would simplify the owners' lives and that of their neighbours.

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The application also said there may be an option to dramatically prune the tree so the acorns would not fall on the driveway - although the children still could not play on the lawn.

The neighbours had shown "full support" for the tree to come down.

The tree is classified as notable under the city's planning rules, meaning it is one of the most significant trees of its type in Auckland and council consent is required to chop it down or prune it substantially.

If the oak got the axe the owners proposed replacing it with a feijoa, and paying for the planting of another 20 natives elsewhere in the city.

The scheduled oak tree on Sturges Rd is causing the property owners
The scheduled oak tree on Sturges Rd is causing the property owners "huge stress". Photo / Supplied to Auckland Council

The property is zoned single house residential so cannot be subdivided.

The application is open for submissions until October 9.

The owners also pointed to a High Court case last year in which a Dairy Flat couple were awarded more than $20,000 after their gutters and driveway were damaged by roots and falling debris from the neighbour's trees.

However, the court did not award damages related to leaves and debris that blew over to the neighbour's house as while they may have been annoying they did not constitute a "nuisance".