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Tree Removal & Pruning Guidelines in the Moonee Valley Council

Cutting down, lopping and trimming private trees within the Moonee Valley municipality is regulated by the implementation and enforcement of a Significant Tree Register, in addition to state and local planning schemes. These laws do not prevent the removal and pruning of private trees within their jurisdiction, rather they are intended to ensure that trees providing environmental, cultural or aesthetic benefits to the community are protected from irresponsible treatment, damage or destruction. As such, private trees that fall within the various categories of these regulations will generally require approval from council and the acquisition of a permit in order to carry out treeworks. While these laws and regulations can appear restrictive, they are aligned with the values of Jim’s Trees and our local Arborists, who always ensure that tree maintenance and removals are done to Australian Standards and carried out in a way that promotes the continued prosperity of the ecosystem. 

Tree Removal and Pruning Regulations

Significant & Canopy Tree Protections

In July 2018 the Council of Moonee Valley introduced new Tree Protection guidelines that restrict the pruning and removing of private trees classified as either a significant tree or a canopy tree

Significant trees are those trees which have been added to the Significant Tree Register due to their value to the community. The criteria to classify trees as significant includes 12 possible categories: 

  1. horticultural or genetic value
  2. unique location or context
  3. rare or localised distribution
  4. particularly old specimen
  5. outstanding size
  6. aesthetic value
  7. curious growth habitat
  8. historical significance
  9. connection to Aboriginal culture
  10. outstanding example of species
  11. remnant vegetation
  12. outstanding habitat

You must acquire a permit from the council if you wish to: 

  1. Remove, prune, damage, kill or destroy, or direct, authorise or allow to be removed, pruned, damaged, killed or destroyed, a significant tree. 
  2. Carry out, or direct, authorise or allow to be carried out, any works within the tree protection zone of a significant tree.

Canopy trees are defined as any tree:

  1. With a total trunk circumference of 1.1 metres or more measured at a point 1.5 metres along the trunk’s length from the closest point above ground level; or
  2. With multiple stems measuring a combined circumference of all its trunks of 1.1 metres or more, measured at a point 1.5 metres along the trunks’ lengths from the closest point above ground level; or
  3. With a trunk circumference of 1.5 metres or more measured at ground level.

You must acquire a permit from the council if you wish to:

  1. Remove, damage, kill or destroy, or direct, authorise or allow to be removed, damaged, killed or destroyed, a canopy tree. 
  2. Carry out, or direct, authorise or allow to be carried out, any works within the structural root zone of a canopy tree

Planning Schemes

Established local and state-level planning schemes work in conjunction with the Significant Tree Registry and canopy tree regulations to control the treeworks that can be carried out within specified regions. 

An Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) contains additional requirements for pruning and removing trees within its scope. Trees specified in this planning scheme, or classified as significant need a permit to remove or to prune branches greater than 10cm in diameter. 

Within the ESO a permit is not required to:

  • Prune trees for maintenance purposes provided that the branch size is no greater than 10 centimetres in diameter and the total amount removed is not more than 10 percent of the canopy in accordance with Australian Standard AS4373-2007.
  • Remove, destroy or lop any vegetation which is not listed in the table to this schedule.
  • Remove, destroy or lop any vegetation which is in accordance with a plan approved under a Schedule to the Development Plan Overlay

A full list of the Moonee Valley Planning Schemes can be found on the Victorian Environment, Land, Water and Planning website where an interactive map can reveal exactly which restrictions and ordinances are relevant to your property and the details of those regulations. 

Arborist Insights

Our local tree specialists working around the Moonee Valley council work hard to maintain a healthy urban forest. While removing trees is part of this process, they say that around 60% of their work focuses on tree maintenance, in the form of pruning and weight distribution work. This is essential not just to make a tree look nice, but for the health and safety of the community. 

Jim's Tree Removal, Pruning, Cutting and Lopping Services

Trees that are allowed to degenerate through age, disease, damage or negligence can become detrimental to the local environment and the safety of the community. Without regular maintenance – through pruning, trimming and lopping – mature trees can become a danger to nearby residents, pedestrians, passing traffic and local wildlife. Overgrown branches pose a range of threats, ranging from aesthetic, financial and environmental, to imminent health hazards. The foliage on such branches can clutter your garden and prevent sunlight getting to your plants and vegetation. If these branches overhang your roof, the leaves can damage roof tiles and block the drainage on your home. If such branches have become over-encumbered by their own weight or the excess foliage, they can become susceptible to snapping from storms, high winds, or without any warning at all. 

“On the pruning side of things, you know trees are always growing, so those trees need to be maintained and they do need to be kept safe as well,” says our local Arborist, “so in a scenario that it’s over houses, you need to bring back those leaves and we need a lot of that sort of thing to bring the trees back to a safe and comfortable size.”

While the financial implications of falling branches are huge, with roofs, walls and cars often being situated under mature trees, the safety risk for residents, passing pedestrians and wildlife is real, and potentially fatal. Overgrown foliage and overweight branches can also lead to the weight imbalance of an entire tree, resulting in a loss of the tree’s structural integrity. A tree that has become imbalanced often has little recourse other than a complete removal; an undesirable outcome that could well have been avoided with regular pruning and health assessments.  

While regular pruning and tree assessments are vital to the sustainability of a healthy urban forest and a safe community, tree removal and stump extraction too, are an essential part of this process. Without the removal of old, sick or damaged trees, further deterioration of the surrounding environment would result from the falling of branches, spread of disease and lack of healthy trees to promote communal prosperity. 

The clearing of trees that are no longer beneficial to the community also allows for the planting and growth of new saplings. As we provide a specialist tree service, we not only fell and remove trees, but also clear the stumps left behind and extract the invasive root systems often neglected by other services. In its place we fill the hole with the mulch we create through our environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly stump grinding service, using this unprocessed local mulch to promote healthy regrowth. 

As for why Jim’s Trees should be your tree service of choice, our local tree surgeons believe its the rigorous safety, training and insurance that gives clients confidence in their work and keeps them coming back:

“There’s a lot of things,” says our experienced tree specialist, “the reassurance of the brand – every franchise hundred percent has to have insurance. You have to have safety procedures implemented into your business and they’re checked all the time… your swing set that’s all checked every meeting. You have to make sure you’re doing due diligence to be up to standards with you with your pruning practices. Removing permits and all that sort of thing.”

Cutting to the Chase

The Moonee Valley Council regulate the pruning and removal of private trees throughout the region through a combination of local tree laws and planning schemes. The key restrictions in these regulations are placed on trees categorised as either canopy trees or significant trees. Further restrictions may apply to private trees that fall within one of the state or local overlays, such as the Environmental Significance Overlay. It is essential that you discern whether your private tree is protected by any of these restrictions prior to commencing any major treeworks. For assistance with understanding which restrictions apply to your trees, or to begin your next treeworks, contact us today