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Tree Removal & Pruning Guidelines in the Surf Coast Shire Council

Maintenance of a healthy tree population is an important mission in our young Shire. Established in 1994, the Surf Coast Shire is not only one of Victoria’s fastest growing regional communities, but one of the country’s hot spots for tourism. During peak season, the region’s permanent population of 30,000 more than triples, with many more visitors passing through each year via the Great Ocean Road. While our incredible coastline and beaches are world famous, our scenic rainforests and urban forests are an equally important part of the ecosystem.  It is therefore essential that all treeworks carried out in the community are aligned with the planning strategies of the council as well as all local, state and federal law.

Tree Regulations: Leave it to Us

While many council regions across Victoria provide an array of specific local regulations on their websites in regards to private tree pruning and removal, the Surf Coast Shire Council is less clear and transparent. Instead, they refer to the ‘Victorian Guidelines for the Removal, Destruction or Lopping of Native Vegetation.’ While detailed in its information, this document is by no means a straightforward guideline, rather a dense collection of policies, frameworks, clauses and amendments that would leave even the most enthusiastic horticulturalist exasperated.

Luckily for you we’ve created this article to simplify the process. If you feel no desire to delve into the various planning schemes, overlays and state regulations that may or may not apply to the trees on your property, there is a very easy alternative – contact your local Jim’s Trees.

“What I do,” says our local specialist, “is I ring the council and I find out if a permit is required. If it’s not required I will tell the customer that and also get them to back that up with a phone call to the council themselves.”

Once the council have approved the removal, our team can generally have the work completed within just two weeks. For pruning though, it’s even quicker:

“I’m pretty much able to do that trimming and maintenance immediately,” says our local arborist.  

Tree Regulations: Into the Weeds

For those of you who are eager to know a little more about the regulations and planning schemes relevant to private properties around the Surf Coast Shire, we’ve got you covered in this section.

The first step is to find out which overlays may be in place on your property, which you can do by viewing this interactive map of the Surf Coast Planning Scheme. This website will allow you to view your property and whichever planning frameworks, overlays or provisions may be relevant to you. If there are planning schemes that intersect with your property, it is likely you will need to apply for a planning permit.

If there are no restrictions on your property, your next step is to determine whether your tree is native and whether it is large. The Victorian Guidelines for the Removal of Native Vegetation provides the following definitions:

Native Vegetation: plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses

Large Trees: A native canopy tree with a Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) greater than or equal to the large tree benchmark for the relevant bioregional EVC7 . The DBH can be determined by measuring the circumference (in centimetres) of a tree at 1.3 metres above ground level.

If you are unsure whether your tree species is native or large, contact us for assistance.

If your tree is classified as native vegetation or as a large tree, you will need to apply for a planning permit. If not, you are advised to contact Jim’s Trees to confirm and to begin the process of your next treeworks.

Arborist Insights

Finding the right tree service for you is an important process, our trees are special and so are our homes. In many cases, sick or damaged trees have shared your land for many years, they’ve grown up with you. So when it comes to recruiting expert help in maintaining, restoring or removing these beloved trees, it’s essential that you can trust them to do so in a safe and thorough way. When it comes to the service provided by our team in the Surf Coast Shire, our lead arborist believes that it is these essential qualities that elevates Jim’s above the rest

“It’s our qualifications, our attention to safety detail and our horticulturally sound pruning,” he says of the advantages to choosing Jim’s.

In addition to safety and quality, our team are trained and dedicated to carrying out all treeworks in an environmentally conscious way. Our team wants to set the record straight on something, they’re not ‘tree loppers’ or ‘removalists’, they’re horticulturally trained arborists:

“We’re not just tree removalists. We love trees. We’re not just in the game to remove trees necessarily, we’re interested in enhancing the value of the properties,” says our tree specialist.

While these values are ingrained in all of our staff, it’s the full service cleanup and thoroughness of the work we do that keeps our clients coming back time and time again. However there’s one question that our team get asked all the time that they want to clarify for you:

“The question we often get asked,” says our lead arborist, “is if we’re going to remove the off cuts – which isn’t as obvious as the clients might sometimes think. I would like them to know that I’ve got all the all the equipment necessary to remove all the offcuts from the premises.”

Cutting to the Chase

The rules and regulations for pruning and removing trees in the Surf Coast Shire region are particularly difficult to access due to the lack of clear local regulations outlined on the Council’s website. Instead the Council direct you to the complex state guidelines on the removal and pruning of native vegetation. As such, we recommend that you consult with your local Jim’s Trees who can clarify for you whether you need a permit and can guide you through that process over the phone. For assistance in this process, or to begin your next treeworks, give us a call or go to our 24 hour online booking service today.