Category Archives: Property care

Can I cut my neighbours tree?

Find out what you can and cannot do in Melbourne? It’s not unusual in suburban yards for a neighbours tree to grow taller than your fenceline....

Find out what you can and cannot do in Melbourne?

It’s not unusual in suburban yards for a neighbours tree to grow taller than your fenceline. This might mean that the branches can grow over into your property, leaves will drop into your yard and roots might impose into your yard. Sometimes it can be a blessing (hello free lemons) sometimes it’s messy and other times it can be unsafe or damaging.

So what can you do about Cutting back your neighbour’s tree In Melbourne and how can you avoid a dispute in the neighbourhood?

This weeks blog will help you find a solution with simple straightforward facts and resources for further information.

Can I trim my neighbours’ tree?

Put simply, yes you can. If it is overhanging onto your property.  However, you may only trim it back to the fence line of the property. This is called Right of Abatement. This applies when the tree is not protected by the council.

There are rules to how much you can trim a tree and you must take into consideration if the tree requires a permit. Typically you can trim a tree up to 10% per year in the state of Victoria but it would pay to check with your local Melbourne council for any additional rules or exceptions.  You can find out your specific councils rules here

In Victoria, you cannot go onto your neighbour’s property without their consent for tree removal or tree pruning.  

So who pays?

Well, the cost of trimming is your responsibility but If you cause damage to the tree or any of your neighbours’ property in the process you will be liable for that damage. 

If you call us to trim a tree on a neighbouring property we will happily do the job but will only trim a tree to the limits of the law. However, we will take into consideration how the reduction will impact the structural integrity and health of the tree. We are not tree loppers so we do not indiscriminately remove ranches without thinking about the future of the tree in terms of growth and longevity.   

If you are looking to get your neighbour to remove a tree the same rules apply and some trees require a permit for removal. Tree Amigos Victoria arborists will provide information as t whether you need a permit for tree removal or trimming. 

So if you’re just looking to cut a tree flat on one side of a fence we are not the folks to do that.

What about Damage to my property?

If there is damage or private nuisance caused to your property by a neighbours tree, they will be responsible for payment of trimming or removal. Chat with your neighbour about the impact the tree is having and discuss the options available to you. 

If your neighbour does not agree to cut back the tree you can apply to the court for a private nuisance claim. The court will decide if the impact is significant enough to enforce the removal of cutting back of the tree. Going to court is a time consuming and costly matter and we recommend talking to your neighbour and discussing all options before you take that route. 

If you do decide to go down that path you will need to get legal advice. Your council will not help you with resolving and tree-related disputes. 

What if the overhanging tree is council protected?

If there is a tree on council land that is causing issues you cannot just trim them yourself. You will need to contact your local council who will send an arborist to take a look and determine what action needs to be taken to improve the enjoyment of your property and how to manage the tree in question. 

What can I do to resolve disputes regarding neighbouring trees?

Neighbourhood disputes are never fun and sometimes you won’t see eye to eye, We hope that everyone can come to a resolution without having to make the decision to take further action.

Here are our tips for approaching a neighbour and trying for a mutual resolution to your tree-related issue; 

  • Get to know your neighbour. Know their name and say ‘Hi’ when you see them. It sounds simple but being friendly is a great starting point. 
  • Chat to them about your concerns and let them know what your thoughts are on how you can resolve the issue.
  • Listen to them and their suggestions 
  • Consider their concerns 
  • Understand your rights and obligations and share the information with your neighbour about them so you’re both aware 
  • Ask yourself what you’re willing to negotiate over and know that you may have to consider a different outcome than you hope for. 

 

Remember that your neighbour is not obliged to cut back their own tree and the council will not get involved with dispute resolution. 

You can seek free mediation through the dispute settlement centre of Victoria and for practical information about the laws in Victoria you can read them here

 

 

 

elm leaf beetle

How to treat common tree pests in Melbourne

Howdy Amigos,  Well, spring has well and truly sprung in our neck of the woods.  Rain, sun, rain, sun rinse and repeat. I don't know about you...

Howdy Amigos, 

Well, spring has well and truly sprung in our neck of the woods.  Rain, sun, rain, sun rinse and repeat. I don’t know about you but as soon as I finish mowing the lawn it’s ready to be done again.  I kind of feel like homer trying to be clean shaven but has no hope at keeping it at a respectable length.

 

Homer Shaving

 

And, as annoying as the capeweed is it is actually pretty sweet to see how determined those little yellow flowers are to come back even when I unceremoniously chop their heads off.  Reminds me to never give up! 

Crafty Capeweed

So what up this week?

Well, we’ve noticed a few calls coming in recently about pests and critters that folks are concerned about when it comes to their beloved gumtrees.  So this week we’re here to set the record straight about a few of them. 

Some pests are a hazard to your plants and need to be taken care of with the full force of our arsenal.

However,  there are some that with a little bit of knowledge and know how you can get rid of yourself or will find they don’t cause too much of a problem at all.

Gum Tree Scale

Gum tree scale is a common pest that infects the young stems and leaves of a gum tree. 

Recognisable by their white/brown felt like sac with a small opening at the end, they most often clump together on stems and twigs that can be entirely covered in some parts.

The wingless female bug lives in the sac and sucks up the sap from within the tree. After they gorge themselves they excrete a sticky sugary substance known as “honeydew”. Droplets of the honeydew can fall onto other parts of the tree and can leave a sooty mould fungus often infects this secretion and causes the leaves to turn black.

This fungus can interfere with the photosynthesis of the tree and you may find the leave yellowing and dropping off when it has caused enough trouble. 

Small reddish nymphs or “crawlers” will emerge from the sac once the female gives birth and  move out of the sac to find their way to other parts of the same tree or can be blown long distances by the wind to other trees where they will settle down and begin a new cycle

Gum Tree Scale Melbourne

How do you manage Scale?

Scale is generally nothing to worry about and can be managed from home,  the main tip here is to manage infestation before it takes over. There are also a number of natural predators to scale that will likely keep the population under control. laDYBIRBut here are our tips; 

  • Monitor your plants regularly. If you have a plant that is prone to scale, consistent checkups will help to manage and eradicate it early. 
  • If the infestation is limited to one small young branch you can prune that branch. Just make sure you get rid of it and don’t leave it near your other plants. Then just monitor it. 
  • If the scale population is small enough you can scrape them off the plant and squash them (be mindful to always use gloves and some irritation may occur) 
  • You can also suffocate the scale by using an oil based soap wash on the plant. (ned recommendations here or suggest homemade?) 
  • Often gum tree scale will resolve itself due to the cyclical nature of the bug and the presence of natural predators. 

 

Gumleaf skeletioniser

Gum leaf skeletoniser is a common pest in Eucalypt trees and can be found all over Australia. 

Identified as hairy caterpillars with brown and yellow spots and a cap or head dress on top of the head. You may find a hairy mass of the young larvae in a  cluster on the surface of leaves. Thes hairy spike will cause a sting and a lasting itch if you touch them with your hand. 

When fully grown the caterpillars will form a long cocoon that is usually located on the lower parts of a tree, fallen twigs or the forest floor. 

Gum leaf skeletonise

The young larvae of this species take great delight in eating the fleshy parts of the leaf leaving behind a skeletal appearance while the older larvae will eat the entire leaf. 

This makes the damage more unsightly than harmful. However, given a trees reliance on healthy leaf matter to absorb food through the leaves if there is a large or continual infestation it can impact the photosynthetic properties of the tree. 

The most effective way to prevent damage from gum leaf skeletoniser is to monitor the plant and remove any egg batches you find if they are on low level branches. Chemical control is rarely recommended with the exception of large scale plantations. 

This pest isn’t something to be overly concerned about in small amounts. If you find the egg batches you can remove and destroy them and that will contribute to controlling them. Otherwise, there isn’t a great deal to be done about this one.

Elm leaf beetle

This little bugger is like an unwanted Christmas gift. From November and into February Elm leaf beetle infestations can cause some damage to your lovely elm trees. 

This is a critter you need us for. 

Around 6mm long with a green and black stripe along the back these beetles lie dormant in winter. In spring they emerge to wreak havoc on young leaves. 

elm leaf beetle

Laying clumps of yellow coloured eggs on the underside of the leaf in Late November and hatching 7-10 days later, the new larvae feed on the underside of and skeletonise the leaf. As they grow the older larvae move to the top and cause further damage (called ”shotholes”)

This extensive damage can cause discolouration and defoliation. This defoliation could impact the trees ability to photosynthesise. Which as we know is the tees main source of food for growth and energy. 

This is an extensive concern among elm trees as these beetles often move about on cars that park around elm so they hitch a free ride to a new victim with very little trouble. 

Elm leaf beetle damage

Without attention to this problem, continual infestations of the elm leaf beetle could cause a tree to die over the course of a few years. 

Control of the elm leaf beetle isn’t as simple as the others we’ve mentioned above. This fella needs more intense control to keep them at bay and avoid lasting damage to these beautiful trees. 

At tree Amigos we recommend a trunk injection with an insecticide called Silvasheild. This is placed in the cambium layer of the trunk (cambium is th layer just under the bark – add a diagram) 

As the tree absorbs water in an upward fashion it transports the insecticide to the leaves killing the beetles. 

Tree injections are considered a low risk option and the pay off is a great improvement to the aesthetic and health aspect of your tree. 

These three tree pests (try saying that three times) are the most common we encounter. But as you can see only one really needs professional treatment.  A simple and effective treatment at that. 

If you have an elm tree in trouble on your property give us a call or visit the website and we’ll give you all the details to get it sorted ASAP. 

Permit requirements for tree removal in Melbourne

Need a permit to remove a tree on your property? Let us clear up the why and hows for you. A common thread in the process of Tree Removal in...

Need a permit to remove a tree on your property? Let us clear up the why and hows for you.

A common thread in the process of Tree Removal in Melbourne is needing to obtain a permit from your local council. This week we’re sharing a little bit about why you might need one and also how to go about obtaining one. 

In Victoria (Australia), without a permit, in some local Government areas, you cannot remove a tree. Nor can any service provider. Every council in Victoria has its own laws.  Also, every property has its own overlays. So, each and every property is different. 

There are 2 common ways to determine if a permit is needed they are;

Overlays

Planning overlays are a set of rules that provide details on how the use and development of the land can be carried out. Not every property has an overlay. they are used specifically when there is an indication to protect areas of significance (such as indigenous heritage sites) and the habitats of local flora and fauna species.  Planning overlays can be quite complex but the most common overlays that have tree removal permit requirements are a Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) and a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO). 

You can see more about overlays on your property at the Vic Plan website if you are curious

VPO’s usually have rules relating to native or indigenous vegetation. The reasoning for this is to try and keep biodiversity in check. SLO’s usually relate to any trees over a certain size. The reasoning for this is to protect larger trees on private property. And all that might seem unfair, but this is why we need to do our own due diligence when purchasing a property. 

Council laws

Many councils in Victoria are now adopting local laws relating to tree removals and permits. In most cases, the requirements are determined by the height of the tree or the circumference of the trunk. 

Over the years there has been an increasing amount of evidence to support the benefits of tree canopies and larger trees in urban settings. This comes as governments tackle climate change and also implement ways to improve the overall wellbeing of the community. Therefore some trees that are considered a benefit to the environment will be subject to these strict laws. 

To get the correct information on your local area we’d recommend contacting your local council and avoiding taking your mates’ word for it (unless they work for your local councils’ planning department.   

Many councils in Victoria have set rules on which trees you can and cannot remove without a permit

Are there any permit exemptions?

Some councils don’t have tree control rules, and some properties don’t have overlays. A skilled Arborist (like Jim at Tree Amigos) has all this knowledge stored up in his wonderfully efficient brain.

We typically know when you do or don’t need a permit, but we still “cross our t’s and dot our i’s” in all situations to keep ourselves out of hot water and to provide you with the best service and to help streamline the process as much as possible

Finally, the 10/30 & 10/50 rule is a simplified way to understand if you can remove a tree from your property. Created in 2011 as a response to the 2009 Black Saturday fires, this rule enables clearing around buildings built or approved before 10 September 2011 only. For new buildings, clearing for bushfire protection will be considered through the planning permit process.

You can download this PDF for more information 

Some councils don’t have tree control rules, and some properties don’t have overlays

How do I apply for a permit?

Applying for permits is relatively straightforward.  A search in your local government’s website for “tree removal permit”  will most likely yield the result you need. However, there’s no guarantee of how long the process will take. So be sure to get on to it as soon as possible to avoid delay. 

If you require a permit you may also need an Arborist report. If so give us a call and we can point you in the right direction for that too. 

Now you know how permits work and how to apply for one. Now all you need to do is make the most of our obligation-free quotes and our friendly crew will talk you through the rest.

Search your local government’s website for “tree removal permit”.  You will most likely yield the result you need to apply for a permit

 

If you want quality tree removal by professional and highly sought after arborists in the North and Northeast of Melbourne Tree Amigos offer free quotes and a price guarantee!

As always you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with what the crew are doing you can also check out our happy our customer reviews here

 

How much does tree removal cost in Melbourne?

It's a straightforward question that doesn't have a straightforward answer.  I don't want to give you a smartass response like ”how long is a...

It’s a straightforward question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. 

I don’t want to give you a smartass response like ”how long is a piece of string”. I do however want to give a real life scenario that will reframe how you consider the investment that you make on your trees.

First things first. This information is general in nature and we do tree removals in Melbourne, Australia.  We are qualified and professional arborists and we value our safety, your safety and the reputation of our business. So if you’re after cheap and quick information about tree removal in Albuquerque, it may not apply. 

Here are the ways we price your tree removal quote; 

Time = Money

As a business that pays its staff well  (including overtime, cos we ain’t no tight asses), we value our time and the work our staff put in. Including the education and additional training, they take on. So, when quoting a tree removal, time is a consideration.  Then there’s the length of time factor. If a tree takes 3 hours, it’s going to cost less than a tree that takes 6 hours. 

Location, location, location

The location of a tree can greatly affect the time it takes to be removed. A tree in the front yard will generally take less time to work on than a tree in the backyard because of the additional time it takes to remove the debris.

This tree removal in Melbourne had easy access and plenty of space to bring the tree down and only needed a light crew

Labour Force

Similarly, with time the amount of staff we send to a job will vary based on the nature of the job. Many jobs have variations that can change how we access a site and who we need on site.  Operationally we also have to consider things like fatigue management so more staff might be needed to reduce fatigue. Less staff might be required for a tree in the front yard, compared to a large removal in a space with more difficult access. Safety and experience also impact our labour force. We take the safety of everyone seriously when we send a crew to your home. Not only is it important that the job gets done efficiently and well, but that everyone leaves safe and accounted for. 

This tree removal required a tower and a chipper truck we also had to drag the tree through the yard and garage to be able to get the tree into the truck. The time and labour force for this one was strong

Equipment

With any industry, as soon as you can make money from using a piece of equipment, the purchase price of that equipment seems to skyrocket.  The tree industry is no exception! The cost of the equipment in this industry can tip well past a hundred thousand dollars. 

Every business needs to examine the cost of running a business long term especially.  This requires thinking about every piece of equipment, insurance and ongoing maintenance of their fleet, tools of trade and overheads. Then there’s rent, staff wages and a little for the kitty. It’s all a factor when pricing work and estimating the cost of and let’s face it, you can’t run on empty. So it’s fair to assume we would price jobs accordingly.

Equipment and space requirements can impact the price of your tree removal quote. The cost of a less professional and qualified tree service could be more than you bargained for

So as an example, let’s compare the pair

As you can see, the exact same tree in a different scenario can have vastly different equipment, labour and time. Which brings me to answer the initial question of How much does it cost to remove my tree? 

How long is a piece of string?

If you want quality tree removal, by professional and highly sought after arborists in the North and Northeast of Melbourne Tree Amigos offer free quotes and a price guarantee!

Find us on Facebook to see the team at work 

 

 

 

Do you really need a tree lopper?

We can help you make the right choice This is a topic we have wanted to cover for a little while now. We often get calls from people telling us they...

We can help you make the right choice

This is a topic we have wanted to cover for a little while now. We often get calls from people telling us they need a tree lopper.  As arborists,  you will typically hear us talk about pruning instead. There’s a good reason for this and we hope this blog will clear it up.  So read on for the whys and wherefores of why pruning and lopping is different and how to make the best choice for your trees. 

There are different definitions for the terms tree lopping and pruning. We think it’s important to understand the difference. We also want to make sure you know we applying the practices can be detrimental to the long term health of your tree. 

It’s good to remember that trees aren’t simply stagnant plants that provide us with shade and aesthetics. They have intricate internal systems that protect and strive for the greatest chances of survival. Random limb removal from an otherwise healthy tree will spark a process of sprouting new growth. How this is done can result in a more sound or a more unsafe tree. 

With that in mind, what is the difference between Lopping and pruning? 

 

Lopping is the indiscriminate removal of branches from a tree most commonly used to reduce the size of a tree or limbs thought to be a hazard. When lopping, branches can be removed without consideration to the way the tree will respond to severe pruning. 

 

How does it respond? I’m glad you asked…..

Stree of foliage removal;

Removing any amount of leaves from a tree can cause stress. Leaves are a trees greatest source of food so removing them can cause temporary starvation.  This then triggers a response to shooting new growth as a means of survival.  This new growth is called epicormic growth. 

Epicormic growth is the new fluffy shoots we see on trees. This growth is the trees way of telling us that it needs more leaves to survive. You may also hear them referred to as “suckers”, this is the first response by a tree reacting to stress. 

The knock-on effect of this epicormic if growth is that it has a poor attachment point because the stem shoots from just underneath the bark of growing via the natural process of building strong limbs via overlapping fibres on the body of the tree. If allowed to grow, they can be quite advantageous and in a short period of time become large enough to do damage when they drop off.

Unfortunately, the side effects don’t end there; 

Various examples of epicormic growth. Image 3. specifically shows growth from a damaged branch. Image 4. shows the growth of a fire-affected tree urgently sprouting leaves to get nutrients.

Lopping can mean a vulnerable tree; 

Haphazardly lopping branches from a tree means a large surface area of the tree is exposed at the cut (also called a ‘wound’) and the tree takes a longer time to heal, leaving it more susceptible to pests and disease. These large wounds will possibly never “heal” over. Which can severely decrease the structural integrity of the tree.  

If you’ve taken a large portion of the trees energy source away (the leaves), it is unlikely to have sufficient energy to defend itself. Pests and disease will then make the tree more vulnerable and pose a larger hazard than you have tried to remove.

 

While lopping might seem like a good idea for a tree that needs some height or weight taken off it can create more of a hazard in the long run. 

 

So how do reduce the weight bearing limbs or the height on an otherwise healthy and well structured tree? 

This tree has been cut haphazardly and the branches have torn in the process. This will put the tree into a stress response.

Correct pruning by a qualified arborist; 

Yep, there is a way to correctly prune a tree without the same detrimental impact as lopping. 

As we’ve learned the way we cut informs the tree of what action to take to heal and protect itself and so, survive. Correct pruning at the collar made just beyond the point of attachment, will encourage a tree to heal the wound. It can also reduce the likelihood of epicormic growth, prolong the health of the tree and prevent failures.  

Typically speaking, weight reduction pruning is a far more practical way of reducing the risk of failure. Not only does it keep the tree aesthetically pleasing, but maintains the natural shape of the tree as well. Where lopping often lacks the skill, education and is not as pleasing to the eye in fact it can look ugly. 

 

A qualified arborist will understand the techniques to keep your tree beautiful and healthy and meet Australian standards (which recommends not removing more than 25% foliage) to prevent a stress response from the tree. By removing less foliage we’re keeping the tree as healthy as possible.

 

Tree Amigos is a professional tree service in Melbourne dedicated to quality and safety.

 

Pruning a tree is a skilful practice. An arborist will assess carefully and be technical in their approach. They also consider the reduction of a tree for weight or height as a preventative measure rather than a ‘quick fix’ 

So will you choose a lopper or a professional arborist to tend to your valuable trees? There’s a significant difference. Choosing a tree lopper may be the fastest and cheapest option right now. However,  a qualified arborist who considers the needs of people and property when providing a tree pruning service will be less costly and more valuable in the long run.  

 

3 Tips for Winter Tree care

As we edge closer to deep winter in Australia (and let's be honest it arrives pretty quickly in Melbourne) your trees and garden will still benefit...

As we edge closer to deep winter in Australia (and let’s be honest it arrives pretty quickly in Melbourne) your trees and garden will still benefit from some tending to, despite the slower pace that life will move in for the next few months.   

There are plenty of reasons not to neglect your trees in winter. Apart from the feel-good factor of getting out to the garden, the attention you give your trees in winter will result in a reward of healthy and bountiful trees come spring. 

We’ve put together three tips to keep up the maintenance of your trees in the cooler weather, yep just three. Doing just a few things will help ensure excellent spring growth in your trees.

1. PRUNING:

Pruning deciduous trees in winter is best done when all the leaves have fallen, and you can get a good look at precisely what needs to go. We also recommend holding of f on pruning until the mid to end of winter before the new growth starts to avoid exposure to the elements and pathogenic fungi.

If you prune too early, your tree will not heal as swiftly as it should due to its dormant state and potential damage and disease.

 

A jacaranda tree in winter

Trees like Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), Liquid Ambers (Liquidambar styraciflua), Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) will all benefit from a winter prune. As will many Fruit trees.

However, as we mentioned before, it’s important to take care not to prune too early and to be mindful of what you remove. The benefit of a bare tree is being able to remove and of the dead or diseased branches as well as thinning and overcrowding and rubbing branches. And, you don’t want to remove too much!

Do some research on the kind of tree you’re pruning to better understand what to look for in fruiting wood, so you don’t lose it and destroy the spring flourish. 

Finally on this point, If your trees aren’t safe for you to prune, call an arborist to give you the best information about how much you need to remove from the tree and when. 

2. COMPOST YOUR LEAVES:

This tip is not exactly about caring for the trees directly but more about utilising all the parts of your glorious tree to help care for itself and the rest of your garden (and you!). 

Collect all of the fallen leaves* and add them to your compost heap.

*Only after you, the kids and the dog have delightfully kicked, scrunched and played around in the crunchy piles of joy.

 

If you have a compost heap going, these leaves will add carbon and nitrogen to the microorganisms in the compost and turn into a protein so delightful and nourishing for your garden you’ll be so glad you did.

If you don’t already have a compost heap, we found this article to be useful in explaining the process of making compost and how it works. 

3. FEED, WATER AND PROTECT

Ok so we may not be talking about feeding and watering the enormous, tough as boots, stringybark in your backyard here but newly planted trees, fruit trees and those we’ve mentioned above will still need a little TLC.

Watering in winter might seem a little redundant but winter drought is a thing. Melbourne winters are cold but not always wet, in fact on average June is the driest month of the year. So while you might need less water than the warmer months don’t forget to check in on your trees and give them a little hydration if they need it.

A winter garden may still need watering.

 

A good covering of mulch on a tree (and all your garden beds) just before winter hits will help to keep the soil warm and protect it from frost.  If you are planting new trees or replanting in the winter be sure to add some well-rotted compost and fertiliser as winter comes to an end to aid the new spring growth. 

 

 

So, winter is a time the earth becomes more dormant and slows down for all of us, even our plants. But we all need sustenance and warmth to keep us going. Remember that a little time in the crisp winter air to tend to your garden even means you and the plants will reap the benefits.  

We’d love to know your hints and tips for winter garden care. Please come and let us know over on our facebook and instagram pages. 

 

Stay warm folks! 

 

 

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At Tree Amigos Victoria we pride ourselves on quality work and excellent service.  Our consistent outstanding customer reviews are a testament to that.

For more information on Tree Amigos Victoria and the services we provide in and around Melbourne please visit our website at www.treeamigosvictoria.com.au