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Tree Removal & Pruning Guidelines for the City of Moreland

Moreland City Council

Removing sick or damaged trees, extracting invasive root systems and trimming overweight branches are all essential elements of maintaining a healthy tree population, however due to the relatively low canopy cover in the City of Moreland acquiring approval for treeworks is not an easy process. As such, clearing or pruning a tree within the jurisdiction of the Moreland council requires residents of the following suburbs to make sure they are informed of the rules and have attained the proper permits before beginning any tree works:

  • Brunswick, East/West
  • Coburg
  • Coburg North (shared with Darebin)
  • Fawkner (shared with Hume)
  • Fitzroy North (shared with Yarra)
  • Glenroy
  • Hadfield
  • Gowanbrae
  • Oak Park
  • Broadmeadows
  • Parkville (shared with Melbourne)
  • Pascoe Vale
  • Pascoe Vale South
  • Tullamarine (shared with Brimbank and Hume)

unwanted trees removed

Our local arborists are happy to assist with any tree cutting, stump grinding, pruning or woodchipping needs that you may have, whether its emergency assistance or planned tree works.

The urban forest within the Moreland is highly susceptible to pests, disease and the effects of climate change due to a lack of species diversity within the tree population. It is therefore important that residents and homeowners in this municipality take steps to regularly assess and maintain the health of their surrounding trees. This vulnerability and scarcity of canopy trees in the region is not from a lack of community engagement, with over a dozen community groups investing time and resources into the planting and maintenance of public trees. Large areas of public waterways, such as the Merri Creek, have been successfully revegetated by the Council and community groups. Our experienced tree surgeons always ensure that the correct permits are met before carrying out treeworks so that our work remains in line with the mission and values of the local council and community.

Local laws

Removal and pruning of trees on private property within the City of Moreland is permitted, however a Tree Works permit is required for any tree considered mature or significant, or trees that are protected by a planning permit or or overlay.

Mature & Significant Trees

Any tree that has been classified as mature or significant requires a Tree Works permit to prune or extract.

Mature trees: Any tree on private property which is greater than 8 metres in height and has a trunk diameter greater than 40 centimetres (measured 1.2 metres from the ground).

Significant trees: Any tree taller than 6 metres or listed on a proposed significant tree register. This significant tree register does not appear to be available on the Moreland Council website, as such we recommend that you consult with your local Jim’s Trees who can assist you in determining whether you need a permit and can even provide advice in the acquisition of a permit should it be required.

Jayden, who has been running a Jim’s Trees franchise in the Moreland Council for the last four years, says that it’s very common for residents to contact him before getting a permit:

“Everyone. Pretty much everyone does that.”

However Jayden says that they are more than happy to help out however they can:

“We’ll do a quick check to see whether they need a permit, we’ll ring because we know the Arborists at all the councils that we work in. We give them a quick ring make sure they do need a permit. Then from there we just send them a link to apply for the permit online.”

Planning Permits & Overlays

Trees that are protected through planning permits or overlays require a Tree Works permit for any tree works to be carried out. These protections and overlays can be found here.

There are numerous protections and overlays that protect against the removal or pruning of trees, they include:

  • Heritage Overlays
  • Significant Landscape Overlays
  • Native vegetation
  • Environmental Significance Overlays
  • Erosion Management Overlays

With so many different planning controls, overlays and protections, it can be a confusing process simply determining whether or not you need a permit. While some tree services are willing to carry out works without the proper permits, Jayden says that this can lead to serious problems for all parties involved:

“They can definitely get fined, pretty much every time. So whether it’s the person removing the tree or it’s your property, they’re both both liable for the damages to the tree.”

An application for a Tree Works permit costs $120 and the requirements for those applications can be found here.

We strongly recommend anyone unsure about this process to contact their closest Jim’s Trees for expert local advice.

Common trees

The City of Moreland is home to almost 400 different species of street trees, divided into:

  1. Natives (69%)
  2. Exotics (26%)
  3. Indigenous (5%)

While 21% of Moreland’s street trees are Eucalypts, only 6% of all public trees are greater than 10 metres in height, the cause of the region’s scarce canopy cover. Some of the common trees to find in the Moreland City Council are:

  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
  • Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii)
  • Prickly Paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides)
  • Broad Leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
  • Snow in Summer (Melaleuca linariifolia)
  • Red Box (Eucalyptus polyanthemos subsp. Vestita)
  • Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera)
  • River Sheoak (Casuarina cunninghamiana)
  • Willow Myrtle (Agonis flexuosa)
  • Weeping Lilly Pilly (Waterhousea floribunda)

Arborist Insights

Although Moreland’s tree population is lower than many surrounding areas, our local Arborist Jayden shares the community’s love for them:

“The trees that they do have they cherish…they don’t have many, it’s not very leafy but the trees that they do have are nice trees. They want to keep them and I want to keep them.”

The Moreland Council and community have set their goal on preserving and expanding the region’s urban forest, Jayden and his crew believe in this mission:

“We don’t tend to take down a lot of trees. We do a lot of maintenance on trees especially the big stuff; pruning, taking the leaves off houses, pruning big hedges that sort of thing. We’re not all about just cutting down trees and making bank off that, we’re about preserving trees and removing the dangerous ones.”

Expert Eye: What to Look For

When it comes to assessing the health and potential danger of a tree, there are a lot of things to look out for:

“We’ll look at the root structure, whether there’s exposed roots, any damaged roots from nearby earthworks. Then we look at everything to do with the leaves. The crutches in the tree, whether there’s debris built up in the crutches, whether the bark is looking healthy or peeling off at the wrong time of the year. Any excess weight on limbs, usually in the flowering period they can almost double their weight. So yeah, there’s a few factors that go into assessing trees whether it’s dangerous or healthy.”

Some Arborists prefer to assess a tree by climbing it, or even cutting a cross section to examine the inner-rings. These approaches can be risky to the climber and to the health of the tree. In general, Jayden prefers a more grounded approach:

“You can get a pretty good understanding of what’s going on from the ground. If we were worried about a fork in the tree we’d climb up and assess the fork for whether there’s a hole developing, or to inspect parrot holes. If there’s parrots living in the trees it can stop the water getting in and it can start to rot the hardwood… We mainly assess from the ground though.”

Trouble Trees

In the Moreland Council area, Jayden says that the most common species of tree they need to remove is the Cypress. While this is normally considered a robust and resilient species of tree, it is highly susceptible to disease:

“The most common tree we remove? It’d be the Cypress. It’s mainly the Canker virus that knocks them on the head. So it’s a virus that attacks the trees vascular system, it basically kills the tree… Any sort of dieback on the outside of the branches is usually either the Canker virus or lack of water.”

According to Jayden however, tree removals only take up about 40% of their time, with the other 60% devoted to maintenance and pruning. This, he says, is the key to the conservation of safe, healthy trees:

“So those trees that are left do need to be maintained and they do need to be kept safe as well so if they’re over houses, you need to bring back those leaves. We need a lot of that sort of thing to bring the trees back to a safe and comfortable size.”

When it comes to choosing a tree service though, Jayden believes there are plenty of reasons that clients keep choosing Jim’s:

“There’s a lot of things. One thing is the reassurance of the brand. Every franchise hundred percent has to have insurance. Otherwise we won’t get work. You have to have safety procedures implemented into your business and they’re checked all the time… You have to make sure you’re doing due diligence to be up to standards with your pruning practices, removal permits etc. Jim’s really go out of their way to make sure that you’re up to date with everything that has to do with the tree industry…it’s just the support that you get, you know, it’s the reassurances that Jim’s is always on the client’s side.”


Cutting to the Chase

While preserving and expanding the urban forest is vital to the City of Moreland, pruning and the removal of dangerous trees is central to the maintenance of a healthy, safe and beautiful tree population. Due to the falling canopy coverage in the region over the last 10 years, pruning or removing a tree generally requires a Tree Works permit. The various planning controls and overlays make this a complicated process to navigate, so to ensure safe and legal practices for your next tree works, give your local Jim’s Trees a call.

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