TREES ARE PROTECTED BY THE AUSTRALIAN LAW
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Trees mean serious business!
Yes they do, and if you are ever in doubt about what to do with a tree, it is always a good idea to check with a professional arborist. At Accomplished Tree Management, it is an important part of our job to make sure we are up-to-date and well-informed about the rules and regulations regarding tree removals. Trees are well-protected by the law in Australia and it is part of the respect we have for Nature to abide by the laws.
There may be situations where tree removal is the last and best option, drastic as it may sound. A tree could be deemed hazardous, or it could cause damage to its surroundings or perhaps it is not viable in a development application. In such situations, we may recommend a complete removal of the tree. This is a more complicated process than it sounds and it requires more than just an arborist hacking away at the tree. It involves many steps and procedures in order to do it safely, efficiently and legally. It is also important to remember that tree preservation is very much respected in Australia and the regulations may also vary across councils. We offer tree services in the Port Macquarie and Hastings areas and we are able to advise on what is permitted or not with regards to tree removals.
Here is a quick checklist of things to note if you think you may need a tree removed:
DO apply for permission
Before you remove a tree from your residential area or business property, you must apply for permission from the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. In fact, this also applies if you want to even just prune your tree. If you attempt to remove trees without the consent of the Council, it could result in prosecution and fines of up to $110,000. Before you start on any work, get approval from your Council. If your arborist were to claim this is not necessary, it would be prudent on the part of the tree owners to check with the Council first regarding permits.
DO check which zone you are in
Check your land zoning here to know which authority is responsible for assessing tree removal. This applies for private lands. After you have checked, you can make an application to the Council. There are some trees that are considered "noxious" (yes, some trees have a rather strong character!) or "undesirable" and it is not necessary to have Council approval to remove them. In fact, they are not even recommended to have on your property. Here is a list of such trees.
DO it in writing
If you wish to remove or prune a tree, you can do it via the application form here. You may receive an inspection from a Council officer. Once your application is approved, you will receive a permit in writing. It is important you have this on hand, in the event an authorised officer requests for this.
DO hire a certified arborist
Check if your application for your tree removal requires a report from a certified professional arborist. The minimum qualification required is AQF Level 5 Diploma Horticulture (Arboriculture). We recommend hiring the services of a proper professional, like us. It is a worthwhile investment and care to ensure you do not invite unnecessary legal (or horticultural) problems in the future. At Accomplished Tree Management, we are fully qualified and we adhere to the Australian standards of AS 4373-2007-Pruning of Amenity Trees and we are also fully insured. Trees mean serious business to us and we are serious about how we serve trees.
DON'T use aesthetics as a reason
There are many valid reasons that will allow you to remove a tree safely and legally. There are also many reasons that are considered unacceptable for tree removal. It is not allowed to prune or remove trees merely for better views. You are also not likely to win the argument if you claim a tree has too big a hairdo and is blocking off sunlight. However, if there is sufficient medical evidence to prove the health of the people living on the property is affected by too much shade, then you may be allowed some careful thinning of the tree crown. It is not allowed to remove a tree because its leaves or fruits are falling. The Council may well hand you a rake and recommend some healthy exercise in the garden instead.
DON'T plant too close to pipes
If you are planning to plant trees, it is good to consult an arborist as to where and which kind of tree is recommended, so as to avoid or minimise potential damage or problems in the future. When trees are planted too close to pipes for example, they can cause blockages and even break the pipes. Some tree species are more enthusiastic in their growth than others, so do check with your arborist first.
DON´T get all hot and bothered
With summer beckoning, it is well worth putting in place some steps to prepare your garden for the hot weather. This can help with economic savings and we always recommend prevention rather than cure, because sometimes there is no cure and the last option is tree removal. At Accomplished Tree Management, we love sharing our experience with our clients about how to care for their trees. If there is time to prep our bodies at the gym for summer, we can definitely also spare the time to look after our trees too.
Here are some simple tips so your trees don't get all hot and bothered when the sun comes out in full force!
Be generous with mulch. It is like giving your trees a luxurious face mask treatment. It keeps the soil cool in summer and helps to retain moisture for a longer period of time.
Give your trees a good soak. If you are planning to be away, give your trees a long, deep watering before you leave. Make sure the soil is thoroughly wet. Fruit trees like to be soaked overnight. Soaker hoses are an efficient way to water trees. Make a dripline in a circle around the tree and let the water run. It needs to extend to a depth of at least six inches. A good long soak once a week is better than a casual watering every day. When trees learn that water only exists near the surface, they start growing roots that hover above. This gives the tree a weak base. If you do deep watering, the tree knows it needs to grow strong deep roots to get to the water and this helps to give it stability and also, deeper roots are more drought-resistant. Another thing to note is to set your watering systems to early morning or late evening when it is not so hot to prevent excessive and unnecessary loss of water through evaporation. With the drought happening now, be water smart and where possible use recycled water for your trees.
Know the signs. Learn to read your tree's body language. That is what we do best as arborists and trust us, our trees are always trying their best to communicate with us. But we may not understand what they are trying to convey. If you see your trees losing shine on their leaves, or if the colours are changing and they are going funny and curling up at the edges and even falling off, this is not a case of "my tree thinks it's Autumn". It is a sign of stress. It is your tree's SOS to you. Trees can suffer drought stress. If this is not dealt with early, the tree may be subject to insect and disease infestation. If your tree is really looking poorly, we recommend you get an arborist to take a look at it. The final verdict may involve removing the tree (remember to check the legal conditions) and that may well be a healthier option in the long run as a diseased tree can affect others around them.
Australia is facing the difficult period of drought and in fact with climate change droughts have become more intense and longer. It makes sense to understand our trees and what they need so we can help them survive better, suffer less and they in turn, provide for us the oxygen, shade and peace we so need to live well.
Accomplished Tree Management provides tree services in the Port Macquarie and Hastings areas and are always on hand to help home and property owners make the best of their trees. We are well-versed in the language of trees. Whenever we drive past homes and properties where we have left our signature trademark in caring for the trees, we feel satisfied to see the trees growing well. Our job involves a lot of respect for nature and the laws we have are in place to protect it. Trees matter, and we love having clients speak to us to help grow happy trees.
About Accomplished Tree Management: Tel 0411 443 535
Accomplished Tree Management is a tree services company and arborist based in Port Macquarie and services the Mid North Coast. With over 16 years experience, we employ safe work methods and are certified with Australian AS 4373-2007-Pruning of Amenity Trees standards. We're fully insured with $20 million Public Liability and $1 million Professional Indemnity Insurance.
We provide the following tree management services -
Tree management - tree removals, palm tree services, council permits
Tree and garden maintenance - hedging, pruning, deadwooding, stump grinding
Tree consultation - arboricultural reports, hazard assessment
"Trees are protected by the Australian Law" is written by Vermilion Pinstripes, a modern digital marketing firm based in Port Macquarie, Sydney and Melbourne Australia and Singapore helping businesses engage better with customers so they can sell without selling.