If you need to remove a tree from your private property, go through this article to understand the must-know facts to avoid any hassles afterward.
Trees are an important part of our environment, and removing them should be avoided as much as possible. But if you are in a bind and have to remove the trees from your property, make sure you know if it is permitted by local laws to avoid doing something illegal.
The laws of tree management vary from state to state. You may need a council permit to remove a tree. The Gold Coast has specific laws that you need to keep in mind before removing a tree from your property. This guide will let you know when you can and can not remove a tree and discusses the basic reasons for tree removal.
Basic Reasons for Removing Trees
You might need to remove a tree from your property when it is:
Whether from storms or normal decay, trees can fall at any time and cause many problems such as building damage or road blockage. You might not be able to tell if your tree is healthy, but a trained arborist can. Find a professional and have your trees inspected to see if they present any danger.
If your tree has branches dying back, decay on the trunk, or dying or dead leaves (if the tree is not deciduous), it might be diseased or unhealthy. This kind of diseased tree can spread the problem, by infecting your other trees. If it cannot be cured, removing it would be the right thing to do.
The tree scratch test is one of the best ways to identify if your tree is dead. On a dead tree, the cambium layer of bark will be brown and dry. It lies just beneath the outer layer of bark in the tree’s trunk. If you identify that your tree is dead, you have no choice but to remove it.
4. Ruining Your Home
When roots are encroaching on structures or pavement or foundations, you need to remove the tree. These kinds of trees are not suitable for urban areas. They need more space to grow. If these invasive roots create problems like traveling into neighboring properties and ruining your property, the removal of trees will be the most cost-effective solution.
5. Bug Infested
If the tree is infested by insects, the tree's structure is jeopardized. With a vigorous wind, the branches are in significant danger of falling. And if the pests travel to your home, you're in for another headache. Elimination of these trees is a wise option.
6. Dropping Excessive Debris
Tree leaves might block up drains and gutters and make a mess of the pools. They can cause water damage and lead to all sorts of plumbing issues if you leave them uncleaned. Fruit, sap, or seeds can also leave a mess that can damage your garden or lawn. To avoid these problems you might need to remove your tree.
Leaning trees can cause bigger hazards than vertical trees. These trees indicate breakage or weakening of roots. You might need to remove them to avoid any future risks.
8. Blocking Views
If the tree is planted incorrectly, it might cast an excessive amount of shadow, suffocating the development of your grass. Additionally, it might obstruct views, depreciating your property.
You might also want tree removal for the reasons discussed above. The most common reasons are:
● Damaged trees: When the tree or trees are harmed by storms and could fall at any moment, you will need to remove them.
● Invasive roots: Invasive roots can be a great cause for tree removal as they can ruin the foundation of your house.
● Outgrown current location: Removal is necessary when your tree is growing up against buildings, under service lines, or over houses and roads. They are not ideal for the urban environment.
When Damage to Trees Are Allowed?
If you are a citizen of Queensland, you might already know that it has some complex tree management systems. It is because of the different laws of each council. Removal of trees is allowed when:
- You have got written permission from the Council;
- Council has certified in writing that your tree is diseased, dead, dying, or potentially dangerous;
- The trees are within three meters of any proposed or existing building, or within a building site; or
- The trees are within the path of proposed sewerage works, drainage works, roadways, etc.
Gold Coast Tree Removal Requirements
When you want to remove your tree, the council will provide you with a checklist to see if you are eligible. The checklist will categorize the kind of work you wish to do as either an ‘assessable development’ or an ‘accepted development.’
1. Assessable development: A permit is needed from the council to conduct this kind of work. No damage to vegetation can be carried out without a proper application for operational works.
2. Accepted development: No application is needed. The works you wish to conduct do not require any kind of permission from the council if they meet the standard for accepted development.
You will need permission to remove your tree if:
- The height of your vegetation is greater than four meters; or
- The girth (circumference) of your vegetation is equal to, or above 40 centimeters (measured at 1.4 meters above the ground level); or
- Your vegetation is residual vegetation, and the "Vegetation Management Overlay Map" identifies its natural understory; or
- The "Vegetation Management Overlay Map" identifies re-growth, disturbed, or wetland vegetation, as well as its natural understory.
You might not need permission to remove the tree from your private property if it is within 1.5 meters of your fence or pool fence, or it is within three meters of your house or approved building structure. You can also remove pest species trees defined as coral trees, cadagi trees, slash pine trees, cocos palm, and umbrella trees. But before removing any tree, make sure to get a qualified arborist to confirm the species and location.
If you want to apply for clearing private vegetation, there are four types of permits:
- Standard tree works application. It is not associated with a building development
- Tree works associated with a development approval
- Tree works associated with a building approval
- Tree works associated with a vehicular crossing
These permits have different requirements in terms of information and application fees. Make sure you select the correct permit.
Significant Landscape Trees
Some trees on the urban land are significant and defined as “controlled vegetation.” You need to know the names if you don't want to remove your trees illegally. They are:
- Obliqua, platypoda, ficus-benjamina, microcarpa var.hillii, watkinsiana (fig trees), bengalensis, virens, macrophylla, religiosa. They all have a trunk diameter of 100 cm or larger.
- Delonix regia (poinciana). The trunk diameter is 80cm or larger.
- Mangifera indica (mango). The trunk diameter is 80cm or larger.
- Araucaria bidwillii (bunya pine). The trunk diameter is 60cm or larger.
- Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine). The trunk diameter is 60cm or larger.
- Jacaranda mimosifolia (jacaranda). The trunk diameter is 80cm or larger.
- Agathis robusta (Queensland kauri pine). The trunk diameter is 60cm or larger.
- Eucalyptus racemosa (scribbly gum) with a 60cm trunk diameter or more.
- Eucalyptus microcorys (tallowwood) with a 60cm trunk diameter or more.
- Eucalyptus tereticornis (forest red gum) with a 60cm trunk diameter or more.
Usually, measurements were done one meter above actual ground level.
Illegal Tree Removal
The rules for the illegal removal of trees vary from council to council. So it will be worthwhile to check whether you need a permit or not to avoid any hefty fines. Maximum fines vary from state to state. It can be anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000. So consulting a qualified arborist before tree removal can be a great idea to go through the process smoothly and avoid any kind of fines.
You might be attached to a tree on your property. They provide us with a beautiful and healthy environment. They can also be home to wildlife. But tree removal might be necessary if they are causing problems. You can always plant a new one in your yard if you want. Before removing any tree from your property, make sure you get an arborist to let you know if you are eligible to remove it without permission.