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Why an arborist is your property’s best friend

Updated: Apr 30

If you are a property owner with any kind of substantial foliage or trees on your land then it is imperative that you build a good relationship with a trusted arborist. You’re going to need them at some point. Tree maintenance or removal can feel overwhelming. Whether it's the physical removal of a problematic tree or the bureaucratic process of figuring out what kind of permits are required or restrictions exist, don’t try to tackle these challenges alone. Find out what you need and what an arborist can provide for you below.

What can or can’t be cut down?

Once you’re considering removing a tree it is important to contact your local council for approval before going much beyond that thought. Also, be aware that simply wanting to remove a tree is unlikely to cut it as an appropriate reason to justify a tree’s removal. There are some trees that won’t fall under the preservation order but without seeking consultation from an arborist you may not be aware of this and may make a mistake that could put you at risk of significant financial penalty. Tree’s exemptions can differ significantly from council to council, with what qualifies as a protected tree being particular to each council area. Despite these restrictions, even with protected species, there are some legitimate reasons for a tree’s removal and an arborist will be able to establish whether these concerns are present. These reasons typically fall into a few different categories:

  • The tree poses a safety risk to people or property. 

  • The tree is diseased or infested with pests.

On the other hand, in order to save you the time in application, reasons that are unlikely to be viewed as legitimate in the eyes of the council include:

  • The tree is simply hanging over something.

  • It’s not native.

  • It’s dropping pesky things like leaves, sap or small debris, which don’t pose a threat to people or property.

There are some exemptions available for developments, which again, an arborist can advise upon. There is also something known as the 10/50 Bushfire Clearing Entitlement, which is a state government regulation that supersedes the council’s regulation, allowing for removal of trees within 10 metres of a home in a bushfire zone, as well as the right to clear underlying vegetation within 50 metres of a home. In these cases, make sure that you engage a Cert 5 consultative arborist, as an Arborist Report will be essential to establish the legitimacy of your tree removal in the eyes of the law. 

Safety and successfulness 

Safely bringing a tree down, whether it’s just a branch or a whole tree, especially in a busy urban environment, is no simple task. A trained arborist, using highly specialised tools, is uniquely positioned to ensure that you, your property and neighbouring properties and people, including the arborists themselves, are all kept safe in the process. The use of cranes, cherry pickers, rope, slings and pulleys, large chainsaws, wood chippers, stump grinders and trucks mean that an arborist can not only bring a tree down but can do so with minimal risk. Obviously, none of this machinery and its maintenance is cheap, so be skeptical of someone offering a price that seems too good to be true when removing a tree. Quality service in this area demands a high degree of professionalism so choose your arborist based upon their focus on safety, as opposed to the cheapest offer going. 

Beyond just the benefits of a thorough understanding of the legalities of tree removal and the expertise and resources to safely remove trees, an arborist is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things tree related. Hedge maintenance or guidance and consultation on the best trees to plant when organising or arranging your landscaping are just a few of their other skills. So, as mentioned at the top, get to know your arborist well as they’re one of the greatest assets that your property can have.

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