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Tree Removal & Pruning Guidelines in the Maribyrnong Council

While lopping, trimming and removing private trees throughout the City of Maribyrnong is regulated by state and local planning controls, it remains an important strategy to cultivating a healthy urban tree population and a safe community. Trees that have been left without the care of regular maintenance and health assessments by a qualified Arborist can become a hazard for the surrounding ecosystem. Excess foliage can clutter the garden below, blocking sunlight, air and nutrients from accessing the vegetation beneath. This foliage too, can present a danger for the health and stability of the tree on which they grow. Our tree surgeons specialise in maintaining the health of private trees and removing the branches and trees that have become obstructive or dangerous. 

Overgrown branches with an abundance of leaves are not just an eye-sore for residents, but a hazard for the stability and safety of mature trees. When these branches are allowed to grow out of control, they can begin to shift the weight balance of the entire tree. As these large trees develop weight imbalances, the structural integrity of the roots and trunk can become compromised. At this late stage of foundational degeneration, any number of factors can be the catalyst that leads to a branch, or entire tree falling. The clearest example of this is the high rate of falling trees during storms. While the strength of the wind alone is rarely powerful enough to uproot a sturdy tree, it is often sufficient to tip a large tree with an uneven distribution of weight. Storms are the perfect catalyst due to their combination of wind and rain. The preceding rainfall can loosen the soil, further compromising the stability of a tree and making them highly vulnerable to the force of a strong wind. Our local tree loppers do more than just fell trees, they can professionally assess the health and stability of the roots and trunk to ensure they are safe for you and the community.

While the danger of unstable trees are widely known, trees left to grow without proper maintenance can be a risk in any conditions. Trees close to homes or roads are especially hazardous, with overhanging branches posing a danger to property, traffic and people. Beyond the most important risk to personal safety, neglected trees can become a great financial burden. These overhanging branches can cause a nightmare for homeowners and residents. As their leaves build up on roofs, tiles get broken and drains become blocked. The resulting leaks and drainage issues can snowball into problems far more expensive than the cost of trimming, pruning, lopping or removing a tree.

Tree Pruning & Removal Regulations

Treeworks on private trees throughout the Maribyrnong municipality are regulated by a combination of planning zones, tree protection overlays and the Significant Tree Register. 

Planning Zones

The planning zones throughout the Maribyrnong Council region dictate the type and extent of work, development and alterations that can be made to the landscape and vegetation in order to preserve the desired growth and character of the neighbourhood. Depending on the zone that your property is in, you may require a permit to commence any significant treeworks, in the form of lopping or pruning. Minor pruning for shaping, foliage reduction and regeneration is generally permitted without a permit. A list of the types of planning zones throughout Maribyrnong can be found on the council website. Before commencing any major tree removal or lopping, it is recommended that you order a free planning property report which will identify all the relevant planning zones and restrictions for your property. 

Tree Protection Overlays

More specific tree protection controls apply to certain areas and types of vegetation through the addition of tree protection overlays. These overlays add restrictions to the removal and lopping of certain native vegetation and vegetation classified as culturally, environmentally or aesthetically valuable to the region. Generally, trees protected by these overlays will require council permission and a permit in order to carry out work likely to damage or remove the tree. The Victorian Environment, Land, Water and Planning website provides an interactive map of the Maribyrnong planning scheme that can help you identify which policies and ordinances may be relevant to your property. The site also contains information on each of the overlays and the restrictions and requirements to treeworks within those zones. 

Significant Tree Register

The Significant Tree Register aims to prevent the lopping or removal of trees that are considered to be of high value to the community. The criteria for trees to be added to this register includes:

  • Horticultural Value 
  • Rare or Localised 
  • Location or context 
  • Unique location or contribution to the landscape
  • Particularly old 
  • Outstanding size 
  • Aesthetic Value
  • Curious Growth 
  • Historical value 
  • Outstanding examples of species 
  • Religious, symbolic or cultural association
  • Environmental value

Details of each of these categories can be found here

The nomination period for trees to be added to this register closed at the end of November, 2018. Interim controls will apply to trees on this list, meaning that any tree registered as significant will need council approval to be removed, destroyed or pruned. A permit will also be needed to conduct any building works or development within the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) of a significant tree. The TPZ is the area around a significant tree, above and below ground, designated to keep the roots and crown safe. 

Arborist Insights

Our local tree specialists have identified the key things that residents around the Maribyrnong region should be looking for when checking the health of their trees. These are some of the early signs of a tree’s deteriorating condition:

“Dead branches, cracks in the trunk, exposed roots, holes, bores – all that sort of stuff. Those things are what I would look for first,” says our local Arborist. 

Tree removal services

However, it’s not always a straightforward process of simply lopping limbs or felling a tree. Especially around the Maribyrnong region, our experts find that there are a lot of other challenges involved in conducting treeworks:

“Big obstacles are obviously branches overhanging roads, traffic control. If it’s over a road you obviously need traffic control. Large houses where you have swimming pools, tight access – they’re probably the most complicated parts,” says our tree surgeon.  

When these challenges arise, our specialists are equipped with the right tools, training and expertise to deal with the situation:

A dead tree over a house can be tricky. You have to rope everything down, rig it all pretty small and just take your time, you can’t drop anything big, just rope everything down and lower it with a rope. It takes a bit more time, but yeah you just take it easy,” says our lead tree climber in Maribyrnong. 

When it comes to doing expert treeworks around your home, big or small, it’s important to have confidence in the team. Our local team believe this is where Jim’s Trees is different from the other services available: 

“It’s the work ethic, taking pride in our work. Everyone in Jim’s takes pride in what they do, and they all have that same work ethic and standards. Other companies can get away with sub-par quality, but we can’t get away with that because we’re a franchise. So I think that’s what makes us better than the rest of the tree services out there,” says our local team leader.

Cutting the the Chase

The combination of planning zones, tree protection overlays and the Significant Tree Register makes figuring out the regulations for pruning and removing trees in the Maribyrnong region a tricky process. While these overlapping restrictions can become confusing, it is important to get right to avoid incurring penalties or fines. We recommend that you apply for a planning report to identify which restrictions apply to you, and acquire a permit if necessary before commencing any treeworks. For further information on tree maintenance, the regulations in your council, or to start work on your private trees, contact us today