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Tree Pruning & Removal Guidelines for the Maroondah Council

Guidelines for Pruning & Removing Trees in Maroondah

The importance of keeping a healthy tree population is great in Maroondah where there are an estimated 70,000 street trees and more than 750,000 others spread across parks and reserves. In addition to looking good, trees provide a community with a range of unique benefits. These trees are protected by restrictions through the local Planning Scheme that generally require residents to apply for a permit from the council in order to remove or lop their trees. It is essential that you do not allow these laws to discourage you from maintaining your healthy trees and removing any hazardous or obstructive ones

Trees that are too close to pavement, walls or houses can become problematic in a number of ways. The root system of a tree can extend up to 12 times the distance of its limbs. These roots can entangle themselves in pipes, push up foundations and cause cracks to emerge in footpaths, walls and paving. Cracks appearing in your walls or footpath is a sign of more issues to come. 

While underground hazards can sneak up on you, overground issues can develop so gradually that you don’t even realise your trees have become dangerous. Trees close to houses can cause serious problems in the form of overhanging branches. These branches hang over your roof, dropping leaves and sticks onto your tiles and threatening you with serious damage if they snap and fall. Overhanging branches that have been left without the assessment and assistance of a qualified Arborist are dangerous to your family, your home and your wallet. 

One of the most common types of overhanging branches around the Maroondah area is from a Eucalyptus Tree. These big gums are often close to homes and beloved by residents for their native character and impressive size. Their wood can be some of the densest of any tree, making their branches particularly heavy. Once a branch has been neglected and left to grow large an unruly, the extra weight can compromise its structural integrity. Suddenly any strong wind or storm can pose a huge threat, possibly leading to the breaking of a branch and the damaging of your roof. 

If you’ve been putting off pruning your trees or having them assessed by a qualified tree specialist, we’ve put together this guide to the Maroondah Council regulations to make the process as easy as possible to ensure you can keep your trees beautiful, healthy and safe. What follows is a list of the key regulations, links to more information about each of those and an online mapping tool that will help you determine which overlays are relevant to your property. To apply for a permit, or for further clarification on any of these laws, you can contact the council directly on (03) 9298 4287.

Tree Pruning & Removal Regulations

Private trees are offered protections through the Maroondah Planning Scheme. A variety of ‘overlays’ specify regions in which different levels of restrictions are in place, preventing you from pruning or removing a tree in that zone without a permit. These overlay zones are not mutually exclusive, meaning that you may have multiple overlays that apply to your property. If multiple overlays intersect over your property, the best best thing to do is to contact the council and discuss your options with them.

Restrictions

The Planning Scheme requires a permit for removing:

  • trees within the Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) – see exemptions
  • trees in the Heritage Overlay (HO)
  • trees in the Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO)
  • any native vegetation in a Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) – see exemptions
  • any native vegetation from a property greater than 4000m2 

Exemptions

A permit is not required in the SLO or VPO in the following cases :

  • you are complying with a formal Notice to Clear fire hazards specifically referring to trees or native vegetation
  • clearance of electricity lines is required (pruning only the minimum to keep the line clear)
  • you wish to prune a tree for regeneration or ornamental shaping (SLO only)

Permits

To commence work on trees that are protected in the Planning Scheme, you must apply for a permit, along with the application fee and any extra information, including the Certificate of Title and scaled site plans. The application fees for removing trees are charged per tree, and range from $115 – $240 for a single tree depending on the overlay. Application fee details can be found here.

Which Restrictions Apply To You?

The tree controls applicable to your property can be found in a number of ways: 

Arborist Insights

Our local tree specialists have been working in and around the City of Maroondah for a number of years. They’ve accumulated a wealth of experience on caring for private trees around the region and have kindly agreed to share some of their knowledge with us. 

When you picture the work of an Arborist, you may just be thinking of tree loppers removing big trees, however their work is often based around maintenance and smaller jobs. These are the aspects that keep the ecosystem thriving. Tree cutting and extraction remains an essential tool, but it is part of a wider strategy of tree management.

“Predominantly it’s tree removal, secondly tree pruning,” says our local specialist when asked what work takes up most of his time, “but we also do stump grinding and pruning. Some people like to reduce the costs by cutting the tree themselves, we then help with chipping and removing the green waste for them.” 

When it comes to health assessments, our expert says they can give a good idea of which trees are healthy, but they aren’t fortune tellers! 

“It’s hard to tell because with trees it’s a natural thing, it can be hard to know for sure which trees will survive and which won’t. After examining the tree we can give the general health situation, but we can’t predict exactly how many years a tree might survive.” 

Around the Maroondah region, our local Arborist has identified the three leading causes of trees becoming unbalanced and dangerous. 

  1. People cutting only from one side when a tree is on a boundary
  2. Wet/loose soil
  3. Trees not properly pruned/maintained to the Australian Pruning Standards (APS)

To ensure you avoid these pitfalls and keep your tree healthy, enlist the help of a qualified Jim’s Tree Surgeon who can assess the health of your trees, maintain the healthy ones in line with the APS and remove any trees that have become hazardous or obstructive. 

Cutting to the Chase

The intersecting and overlapping overlay zones can be a source of confusion when trying to determine which tree controls are relevant to your property in the Maroondah Council. This guide has provided all the necessary links and information to determine which overlays are relevant to your property and the conditions by which you would need to apply for a permit. We have also provided links to the permit application process. If you are still unsure of which restrictions apply to your property, or you would like confirmation before paying the application fee, you should contact the council and speak with them directly. For specialist advice from a local Arborist, or to begin your next treeworks, contact Jim’s today