A Guide to Tree Pruning and Removal


Many homes in Australia have trees growing in the garden, with a good number of them much older than the house itself. Trees and bushes are wonderful things to have in the garden, providing a great environment, for you and your family to enjoy. However, sometimes a tree has grown to such an extent that it becomes a problem, with possibly property or life threatening potential. It might not even be your tree, but one on a neighbouring property, that overhangs on to yours. As most people are aware, there are rules and regulations that govern, what action can be taken. You cannot just cut down a tree, because you feel like it, with legislation also covering what pruning activities you can do that you may also think necessary.

Allowable Immediate Action

Obviously, if there is a clear and imminent danger, then immediate removal of branches can be undertaken without having to gain formal council approval. Within the Northern Beaches, the circumstances for this must be that a branch or branches are broken or damaged, overhanging or touching a property, or those that are within two metres of utility cables. Additionally in rural areas, it is now permitted, when living close to a designated bushfire prone area, to remove any trees within ten metres of the house, and any scrubs or vegetation within fifty metres.

Cutting Down or Removing a Tree

There are very strict rules regarding removing trees from your property, and they vary nationwide. All councils have Tree Preservation Orders under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act of 1979, listing tree varieties, protected in given areas, but is extremely wise to check with your local council before you do anything without permission, as the potential fines are punitive. Regulations for tree removal in the Northern Beaches may well be different from the Inner West.

Getting the Work Completed

With the power tools we can buy from the local DIY stores, it is easy to think that we can easily buy a chain saw and start trimming and lopping away, to deal with all of the garden maintenance ourselves. This brings up two issues. First and foremost, tree maintenance, can be very dangerous, if you do not have the right skills, equipment and equipment knowledge. A broken chain on a chain saw, can be extremely hazardous, as can falling branches, which may be larger or heavier, than you had thought. Additionally, there is the health of the tree to consider, if you are just pruning. Lopping a tree, or cutting away too much of its upper crown is very bad for the tree and may well cause you further problems, with a tree that was overhanging, but is now dead. Taking too much of the top away, changes the root to crown ratio, and may leave the tree at risk from overexposure of sunlight, and leave it unable to process enough food to stay alive.

There are regulations that cover how much you can and cannot cut away. Before you do anything, it is advisable to get a free quote, from your local arboreal specialist, who can ensure you are abiding by the rules, and doing what is healthy for the tree at the same time.

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