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Making an Educated Decision When It Comes to an Arborist Report

Updated: Apr 1

I would imagine that the vast majority of us would like to think of ourselves as being environmentally minded. As a result, there can, understandably, often be a reluctance to prune back, or particularly, cut down a tree. They take so long to grow to a substantial size that it can be daunting to consider taking a chainsaw to something which has worked so hard and for so long to establish itself. This being said, there are many situations in which the pruning or the cutting down of a tree on your property will be necessary and possibly in the best interest of not just your property but also the tree and other trees nearby. Thankfully, for your area’s foliage, council’s have strict laws, known as a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which outlines which trees are protected in your area. This is why you will need to involve an arborist, to ensure that you and the council have a comprehensive understanding of the tree’s health via the arborist report. Beyond just the safety risks of attempting to remove a significant tree yourself, there are also substantial legal consequences if you remove a tree that is protected so it is highly recommended that you draw upon the expertise of an arborist when considering the clearing of a tree on your property. Below are some more details on the process to help you make an informed decision.

Can any arborist submit an arborist report?

Councils will typically require that your arborist report be compiled by an arborist who holds a Diploma of Horticulture (Arboriculture) Australian Qualifications Framework Level 5, as a minimum qualification. Be sure to factor this into your selection process as an experienced and certified arborist will be able to support you as they have a detailed knowledge of the type of information that will be required in the report.

What types of things will be included in the arborist report?

As you can imagine, not everyone at a council is a tree expert so the council will lean on the expertise of the certified arborist to provide a report on the condition of the tree so that they can make an educated decision on whether or not to allow its removal. Optimally, the council is typically looking to preserve trees so the arborist report will provide a better idea of what the longer term viability of the tree is. Nobody wants properties, or especially people, to be crushed so whenever there is a legitimate safety concern the council will typically sign off on its removal. However, if there is no immediate safety risk and the tree appears to be in good health then it is unlikely that the council will allow for its removal, despite how badly it might be impacting on your view.

It’s important to remember that an arborist report is designed to be an unbiased report on the health of a tree so despite you being the client of the arborist, their suggestions to the council may not fall in favour of what you would like to do with the tree. It is best practice to chat to the arborist and discuss what your hopes and concerns surrounding the tree are and get their initial perspective. This way you can make an educated decision around pursuing an arborist report or not.

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