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Tree Removal Sydney – Laws, Controls & Cost
Before you remove a tree in Sydney, you need to get your facts straight to avoid heavy fines from council for illegally removing a tree.
Once a tree reaches a certain height/ size it becomes more valuable to the local urban forest and has what is referred to as an amenity value.
If you have ever driven through suburbs like Fairfield in Sydney’s inner west where there are very few trees and compare that to some eastern suburbs in Sydney, you will easily see the value they can bring from a visual and aesthetics perspective.
Do I need council approval to remove a tree?
In most cases you will.
Every council has a set of rules laid out in its tree preservation order TPO that lets you know what you can and can’t remove.
Some standard rules that allow you to remove a tree without council approval include;
1) Dead dying or diseased trees
2) Fruit trees
3) Electrical line clearance
4) Weeds (See nation weed list)
5) Dangerous trees
7) Building clearance
8) Tress that are smaller than 4m in height
The above list you will find are pretty standard on most council TPO’s, but you will need to view your local councils rules to be sure before you go ahead.
Are these exemptions?
Normally yes. Most council will have a list of trees that are exempt from the above rules meaning no matter how large it is, you can remove the tree without council approval as it is considered a local pest.
Some common ones I see on most council exemption lists are:
Camphor laurel (not in conservation area)
Bamboo (all species)
Poplar (all species)
Willow (all species)
But again, be sure to consult your local councils TPO
Need approval? - How to apply
There is a specific application for tree removal. You will generally find a link to it from within the TPO, so click here to view your local council TPO and get the application form.
Once submitted, you will general have an officer out within 5-14 working days to inspect the tree and give their verdict.
Getting approval to remove a tree is not always a given. For more information on what to say to increase your chances of getting approval check out our article titled; “How to successfully apply to council for tree removal and win”.
What about Tree Pruning?
95% of councils in Sydney allow the pruning of a tree up to 10% per annum without council approval.
The same is also true for service line clearance, power line clearance and roof or building clearance.
Can I prune a neighbour’s tree overhanging my yard?
As long as you stay within the council regulations for tree pruning, you can prune a Neighbours tree that is handing over your yard.
I suggest talking with your neighbour first as a courtesy. Most of the time they will be fine with it, but if they buck, every local council has a disputes division you can consult.
If they do not, there is a NSW disputes centre that deals with this very thing on a daily basis.
What does tree lopping Sydney cost?
There is quite a bit to consider when pricing a tree for removal, but I am going to lay out some basics that will give you a good idea.
If you would prefer, we have a cost calculator for tree lopping services that you can use to quickly find a price on tree removal.
Below is a chart that you can consult to match the price of removal with the height of the tree.
These prices are for an ‘average’ tree of that height, but there are a lot of factors that can add to the cost of tree removal.
Access to tree
This is probably the biggest factor of all. If you have a tree in your front yard, that the contractors can back their truck up to, then it’s going to cost you half as much for the same tree in a back yard with poor access.
If a tree is over hanging a house for example, it’s going to be more difficult to remove as opposed to one in the middle of a yard with nothing around. The same goes for garden beds, power line etc.
In general, the price to remove a tree does not include the extraction of the stump. This will be an extra charge that will be calculated separately.
There are some types of trees that are just down right easier to work with than others. For example a liquid amber is very easy to climb and dismantle. The timber is soft and easy to work with.
A eucalyptus tree of the same size will add to the cost as generally they are harder to climb and work with as the timber is denser, heavier and harder on the equipment and workers.
Key benefits of the urban forest
Beyond that, trees are vital to amplifying the quality of our lives. The do this by;
Cleaning the air we breathe – Trees store up to 1 tonne of carbon which they remove from the air over their life time.
Cool the air – Having a healthy canopy cover over roads and footpaths stop the sun from heating them directly. This reduces the urban heat island effect and keeps ambient temperatures down during the hotter months.
Stimulates the economy – Having tree cover around restaurants and dinning precincts has proven to increase foot traffic and the likelihood of people dining out.
Providing habitat for native birds – The sounds of birds is relaxing to humans so ads to the quality of our lives.
The hazards of neglecting trees
It can be dangerous to remove trees in in urban populated environments, especially in areas of regular foot traffic and school zones.
Falling branches in rotting trees can cause great harm, and need to be taken care of by a professional to ensure that there is no further threat to the health and safety of passers-by.
This is where an arborist comes in. They can evaluate the state of the tree and remove it entirely or whatever branches that maybe be jeopardizing the structural integrity and or balance of the tree. They are able to assess the tree fully, which can ensure that any removal is done safely.
Do it yourself (DIY)
Although there is nothing stopping you from going in blindly with a store-bought chainsaw, it can cause further damage or threat to the environment around you, and put you in a risky situation.
It would be much easier and safer to hire someone who has the proper skills and equipment. This will ensure the job is done right the first time, and more importantly, nobody is injured in the process.
As a property owner, it is your responsibility that noting on your property can pose a danger to your family or the community, so it is your obligation to properly maintain the trees on your property
Generally this will mean getting an arborist out for an Arial inspection every couple of years to make sure everything is in good health.
If a tree is dead, then the roots in the ground that is keeping it upright have already started to rot. Don’t take any chances and get it removed ASAP.
This branches that have died on a tree. After time they all fall off coming crashing down to earth. To make sure nobody is harmed, it’s essential to get these removed while they are still attached to the tree.
Balancing the tree
Trees are always reacting to the amount of branches above ground, so they can grow more roots below ground to balance the structure.
By regular pruning of the branches above ground, you are ensuring the tree is firmly anchored to the ground and will not topple over in high winds.
How it’s done with Go Tree Quotes
We have a quote request in our online page, allowing you to provide information about your tree, including the type, size and specific details.
From there, we will match you with 3 local tree surgeons based on past client reviews. We have found the best local arborists across Australia so that you don’t have to. We pride ourselves in offering you with a curated list of professionals and precise information for you to make the right decision.
To find out more about tree lopping and tree removal in Sydney, feel free to contact our team today!
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