Tree Removal or Tree Lopping Is Sometimes the Only Option for the Trees We Love

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Owning and planting trees is part and parcel of looking after any property with significant foliage. Trees provide shade, shelter, beauty and can often be the centerpiece for a well-groomed garden. In Australia, we have a multitude of beautiful native plants and trees to work with, and one of the simple pleasures of summer in Brisbane is walking neighbourhood streets full of flowering jacarandas.

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However, tree ownership comes with responsibility. Trees, like any other part of nature, have their own life cycles of beginnings, middles, and ends. They require nurturing in their beginnings, care during their life span, and considerate treatment at the end. If you find yourself faced with a tree which looks like it could use some tender loving care or a tree which has reached the end of its healthy life span, it’s time to call in the professionals.

Many Australians are comfortable in a DIY state and love to tackle many tasks around the home themselves. However, tree removal is a risky and exhaustive business, and as such is a job that should only be carried out by professionals. Even tree experts with years of experience under their belt are still at risk of causing damage when they’re removing trees. This is one of those jobs that should in no circumstance be attempted as a weekend DIY project… in this case, it’s a must to call for the real deal!

When a tree is removed properly, a number of factors will be facilitated during the process in order to ensure a safe and efficient outcome. It’s important that potential risks are considered and any risks are mitigated before the removal process begins. Before you hire anybody to undertake this kind of work on your property, make sure you’ve familiarised yourself with the process involved and the attention to detail required. Failing to do so and ending up with a tree lopper who’s inexperienced, or worse, careless, could cost you in much more ways than the loss of a job well done. Take your time in discerning between companies and ask all the questions you need in order to make sure you understand the service to be provided, how it will be executed and the cost to you in total. It’s not only in your interest, but in the interest of your tree’s health, and the surrounding environment.

An expert in the field will rely on these do’s and don’t when undertaking any tree lopping procedure….

Large trees are only to be removed by professionals

Not only do these professionals have the experience necessary to ensure nobody is harmed in this process, but they’re also insured! Just as you wouldn’t mess with the electrical wiring in your home without hiring a qualified electrician, tree lopping is a procedure which requires the knowledge, tools, experience and wisdom of a seasoned professional. The larger the tree, the riskier this process becomes.

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Professional tree lopping companies have both public indemnity insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. This means they’re sufficiently protected in the case of any damage to your property and you’ll be looked after by their insurance. They’re also covered for any injuries which could occur to their employees while work is taking place at your home. This is important as otherwise, you may find yourself exposed to a lawsuit – even if it is a worst case scenario!

Proper tools are essential, regardless of the tree’s size

It might be tempting to look at a ‘small’ tree and think the old axe you’ve got rusting in the shed will be suitable for the job, but you’ll soon realise your mistake once you’re underway. By using proper tools, professional tree loppers are able to ensure the ground is left in good shape once the tree has been removed. Different tree varieties have different sized roots and will require specific tools in order to fully remove the roots effectively. As well, using the correct tools help to ensure the safety of the tree lopper, who won’t be forced to use a tool which isn’t designed for that particular purpose in a manner which may put him in danger or at a greater risk of causing an accident.

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Different trees require different approaches, and a professional company will be armed with a range of tools which enable them to change their method as required. When considering which company to hire, compare their equipment lists as a good way to gauge an understanding of the capacity of each to follow through on what is needed in a safe and efficient manner.

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Don’t Cut trees from a ladder

Again, tree lopping is all about risk management! By adding a ladder into the equation, the risk of danger to the individual carrying out the task increases heavily. The risk of the ladder moving or shifting and causing a serious fall is high. Add in the use of power tools in order to cut the tree itself, and you can imagine the kind of dangerous position you could find yourself in by attempting to lop a tree far beyond your abilities from a ladder-assisted height. It’s not a pretty picture!

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Make sure the environment is clear when cutting a tree

Sure, the family may want to gather around and watch the grand event, but spectators stand at high risk of being injured by falling branches during the lopping process. You can never be quite sure how the tree will fall and in what direction, so make sure there’s a clear area around the tree in all directions, and no children or animals can run out suddenly during the process.

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It’s also a good idea to walk your tree lopping professional through the property before they bring their equipment on, highlighting where any sprinklers or other backyard equipment is placed. Some tree lopping processes require truck access, so in order to make the process as painless as possible for all involved, make sure you’ve discussed your physical space and how it will be navigated during the tree lopping process.

 Wear sufficient protective gear when tree cutting

Not only are falling branches a potential risk hazard, but dust and wood chips from the tree itself pose a potential danger to the individual carrying out the lopping. Safety is the number one priority in any work requiring physical energy. Anyone involved in the tree lopping process from an experienced background knows to wear both safety glasses to protect eyes from debris and a hat to cover their head from any falling chips in order to achieve the safest working environment possible. Grain leather gloves also serve to protect hands from splinters, cuts, and abrasions.

Be mindful of the potential damage from the tree’s fall

Many trees scheduled for removal are close to driveways, sidewalks, and footpaths. It’s important to consider the damage which could be caused by falling trees depending on the material these surfaces are made of. Any fragile material, such as tiles and glass, is at risk of smashing upon being hit by a falling tree. A tree lopping professional will take care to cover sensitive areas and direct the tree’s fall towards a clear path where minimal damage is at risk.

Be aware of the risk of electrocution when removing a tree

Any tree close to a utility line should never be cut by anyone other than a seasoned tea lopping professional. A tree lopping expert will ensure the electric supply is turned off if cutting a tree close to any lines, as the risk of electrocution is otherwise too huge to be considered a managed risk. Individuals who decide to take the risk of lopping a tree close to power lines, without experience and without awareness, stand to potentially lose their life in the process via electrocution.

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Check local rules and regulations for tree removal in your area

Different suburbs and municipalities have different council-regulated rules when it comes to the removal of trees from a property. For example, in Brisbane, certain trees hold ‘heritage tree’ status and are protected because of their cultural or natural heritage significance. These trees may be associated with a historic building, or may also be solely protected, sometimes abiding in residential homes and backyards. Any work carried out on heritage trees requires the approval of the Brisbane City Council.

Other trees can be protected under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 with a Vegetation Protection Order. These generally protect trees which are excellent specimens of their species and have a significant landscape or cultural values. In the case of a tree with a Vegetation Protection Order, exemptions do not apply, unless the situation is an emergency.

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Another form of tree protection falls under the Significant Urban Vegetation category. Trees that are considered rare, or are of environmental, cultural or historical significance, are protected within this category due to their contribution to Brisbane’s unique landscape character. These trees are protected because they:

  • Are of a certain species and dimension, growing on a lot greater than 810m2 and in an area designated as an emerging community zone in Council’s planning scheme
  • Contribute to the landscape character of an area and are listed in Council’s planning scheme.
  • Meet the requirements for a Council-issued Vegetation Protection Area

If a tree is considered as a significant landscape tree, it is not subject to exemptions.

 Trees in This Category Include

Common Name:  Fig Tree

Ensure you’re hiring a professional

There’s a lot more to professional tree lopping than first meets the eye. A true professional will not only be well versed in the range of techniques and requirements needed to carefully and successfully remove a tree without causing any harm to person or property, but a professional and reliable company will come with all required equipment (including cherry pickers and wood chippers) and will also be equipped with comprehensive public liability insurance.

One way to check on the quality of the professional whose services you’re considering is to check their online reviews. A reliable company will have customer testimonials from satisfied customers who have used their services before and can vouch for the company’s quality. Make sure you’ve done your research online before committing to a company, and ask for a quote on the full service provided ahead of time so you can be aware of the costs included.

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A seasoned professional will also be able to give you thorough advice and insight into the type of tree you’re removing and whether there are any guidelines or restrictions on a council, state or national level to consider. It’s important you understand the ins and outs of the quote provided as to whether the named price is all-inclusive or whether you may find yourself hit with an extensive bill well after the fact. It’s a concerning sign that there may be problems down the track if the professional you’re working with isn’t able to give you a clear indication of the total price, so make sure you feel comfortable with the agreement you’ve reached and the agreed price has been put on paper before services commence.

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