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Removing a Tree

Have you got a tree that is too big for your yard?

Perhaps its lifting the paving, cracking the driveway, even tilting the brick fence.

Maybe it’s the dreaded Queen Palm/Cocos Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) that everyone, including you, regards as a weed.


If you want to remove it, you must first STOP.. and take note of these important words.


Consider removing a tree as the last option. Trees are valuable as an asset to the community and to your garden. If the cause of the problem can be fixed without destroying the tree, then you and the community wins.


What type of person should you consult?

There are three groups of specialists that deal with trees


An Arborist solves and manages tree problems. They are adept in applying knowledge and skills to predict and diagnose advice regarding trees. The Arborist will either manage or carry out the necessary work.


A Tree Surgeon implements necessary tree work such as pruning, hazard reduction, formative pruning, felling, stump removal, fertilising, soil decompaction, etc.


These first two categories will be qualified and members of appropriate arboricultural societies (QAA, NAA, ISAAC).


A Lopper cuts trees. Loppers are rarely qualified in Horticulture or Arboriculture however most are trained in equipment safety.


Arborist Jan Allen recommends that before cutting down a tree, the public must ask themselves these questions:-

  • Are you clear about your reasons for removing the tree?
  • Can the problems be managed in another way? (other options might even be cheaper)
  • What implications might you create by removing the tree?
  • Do you need permission? (Check with your local Council)
  • Have you talked to an arborist? Get the right advice.

If a tree is cut down potential implications include:

  • Loss of shade
  • Increased ambient temperature and radiant heat
  • Increased costs of cooling dwellings in summer
  • Loss of visual amenity
  • Loss of landscape value
  • Loss of protection for adjacent trees, plants and structures with an increased risk of storm damage
  • Changes to garden microclimate and damage to adjacent plants
  • Destabilisation of embankments or soil erosion
  • Loss of native fauna habitat (roosting, nesting and feeding opportunities)
  • Problems with neighbours if tree has perceived benefits for them
  • Heavy penalties if in breach of local government bylaws or other legislation.

However, while removal should be the last option considered it is sometimes the appropriate option for tree management.


Rather than have the tree or large shrub destroyed, consider selling it. Avenues for selling include local papers, internet sites that specialise in buying and selling plants (such as www.plant.id.au) or call your local garden centre or landscaper.


Where to find Arborists:

NAA (National Arboricultural Association) - nat.arborists@optusnet.net.au

ISAAC (International Society of Arboriculture, Australian Chapter) - www.isaac.org.au

PLANT ID – www.plant.id.au 

QAA (Queensland Arboricultural Association) - www.qaa.net.au

Jan Allen – Ph (07) 5572 9946; jancallen@yahoo.com

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