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Tree Pruning & Removal Guidelines for the Brimbank Council

Trees are a loved and important part of the Brimbank Council region, for that reason it is important that residents take steps to ensure their private trees are kept healthy, safe and beneficial for the community. Tree pruning, shaping, lopping and removal are all important parts of nurturing a healthy ecosystem. Trees that are well maintained provide a multitude of positive effects for the local environment and the local community. In addition to being beautiful and providing much needed shade in the summer months, trees reduce the severity of urban heat islands, help to produce clean oxygen and reduce harmful gases in the air. For these reasons alone, we should be doing all we can to keep trees healthy, so that they can continue to support and strengthen the wider ecosystem.

On the flipside, there are plenty of detrimental effects that trees can have on the environment and on the community when they are neglected and left to become overgrown, damaged or sick. 

Regularly trimming leaves helps to prevent unruly, excess foliage. When leaves grow out of control like this, they don’t just look messy, they can cause a range of problems for the tree, the surrounding vegetation, and nearby houses. A build-up of vegetation on a tree’s extremities can begin to cause extra strain on the stability of the branches as they catch the wind. This can also cause leaves to fall and clutter the vegetation below. Plants caught beneath this blanket of foliage are unable to absorb vital sunlight and their growth can become impaired. If the tree is close to a house, these leaves can instead end up covering the roof and drains. Buildup of leaves on roofs are one of the leading causes of blocked drains, broken tiles and leaking ceilings. All of these expensive residential headaches can be easily prevented with regular maintenance from a trained Arborist. 

Strategic lopping and shaping of large trees is another essential strategy employed by our tree specialists to keep them healthy and safe. Overgrown branches can begin to cause dangerous imbalances in a tree that can compromise its structural integrity. Without the assessment and assistance of a trained Arborist, these trees can be a serious risk of falling. While this is most commonly understood to happen during periods of high winds and storms, once a tree has become structurally unsound, this can happen without any warning at all. Tree specialists can help to ensure that large residential trees are stable and safe through pruning, lopping and shaping of the canopy and branches. 

Before enlisting the help of one of our qualified local Arborists, you should first make sure you are aware of any local or state laws that may restrict the type of work you can do on your private trees. A combination of planning schemes and vegetation protection regulations are in place in the Banyule Council to ensure that trees are not damaged or removed without good reason. Violations of these regulations can result in steep fines. Below is a guide to the regulations to help you figure out what permissions you may need to prune or remove your trees. If you are unsure of which restrictions apply to your property, it is recommended that you contact the council directly

Tree Pruning & Removal Regulations

The Brimbank Council uses two types of regulations to restrict the pruning and removal of private trees: the Planning Scheme and the Significant Tree Register. 

The Planning Scheme

Tree controls are written into Brimbank’s Planning Scheme. These controls come in the form of overlays that each provide specific restrictions on the types of treeworks that can take place and the permits that need to be acquired. The overlays that most directly regulate the pruning and removal of trees on private property are:

In addition to these overlays is the Native Vegetation Precinct Plan (NVPP) which restricts the pruning and removal of private trees that are native to the region. 

The details of the provisions within the ESO, SLO, HO and NVPP can be found through the hyperlinks provided. If your private tree falls under the jurisdiction of any of these regulations, it is highly likely that you will need to apply for a permit from the Council in order to carry out any significant pruning or to remove the tree. 

Significant Tree Register

The Significant Tree Register includes around 1,000 trees across the Brimbank region that are granted extra protections, beyond those included in the Planning Scheme. The criteria for trees to be included in this register includes:

  • Horticultural/Botanical/Environmental value;
  • Historical significance/Commemorative;
  • Location or context;
  • Aboriginal/Cultural;
  • Particularly old;
  • Outstanding size;
  • Curious Growth Form; and
  • Outstanding Example of the Species

The list of trees on the register can be accessed in the following files:

If you wish to prune or remove a significant tree, it is essential that you first contact the Council. Penalties for violations of the significant tree regulations can be harsh. 

Arborist Insights

Our local tree surgeon took some time out from helping the community with their tree requests to give us an insight into the life of an Arborist. 

When asked the best way to provide a tree assessment, our specialist says that while it is assumed that you have to climb up a tree or cut a cross section to determine its health, with a professional eye you can do most of it from the ground.

“The most common way is just from the ground. You can get a pretty good understanding from the ground of what’s going on,” he says. 

 However, in certain circumstances you need to get up in a tree to get a good sense of what’s going on. 

If we were worried about a fork in the tree we’d always climb up and assess whether there’s a hole developing inside the fork in the crutch … or to inspect parrot holes, if there’s parrots living in the trees it can stop the water getting in there and it can start to rot the hard wood … that’s the only time we’d climb for an assessment.”

When it comes to choosing the right tree service for you, our specialist says that nothing beats the assurance of a well-known brand with a good reputation.

“Jim’s really go out of their way to make sure that we’re up to date with everything to do with the tree industry, like safety, training and equipment. The other thing is the insurance, they make sure that we are all fully insured. So you know, these are the reassurances you get with Jim’s.” 

Cutting to the Chase

Between then Significant Tree Register, the Planning Scheme overlays and the Native Vegetation Precinct Plan, there are a lot of regulations to be aware of when pruning and removing trees in the Brimbank Council. That’s why it’s important to speak with the Council before beginning any major treeworks. Acquiring the right permits can take time, so be sure to do so before you bring in an Arborist. When you are ready to begin your next treeworks, or you’d just like some advice from a tree specialist, contact Jim’s today