Winter is fast approaching, bringing severe storms and high winds that can turn weak tree branches into weapons of mass destruction. Vehicles parked near the tree can be destroyed, windows in nearby buildings can be broken and siding damaged, incurring the high cost of repair. A large tree with a weakened root system could take out an entire house. Now is the time to have trees evaluated for strength and durability.

Contact a qualified Arborist with an AQF Level 3 or higher to assess the health of your trees. When there are obvious signs of disease like bracket fungi growing on the trunk, patches of dead leaves or small shot holes in the bark, make sure the Arborist is qualified to evaluate and treat diseased trees. Some Arborists only specialize in tree climbing and pruning.

Keep in mind that tree pruning and tree removal usually require a permit granted by the City of Sydney. Having the tree evaluated and getting a permit doesn’t get done in an afternoon. Permits are usually processed within thirty days but the availability of the Arborist must also be taken into consideration. They may not be immediately available to do the work. If a tree is posing immediate danger and limbs or the entire tree must be removed right away, it can be done prior to getting permission. However, the tree’s condition and reason for immediate action need to be documented. A follow-up report must be filed with the City of Sydney by an Arborist with AQF Level 3 or higher qualifications. Camphor laurels (Cinnamomum camphora), Chinese nettle trees (Celtis sinensis), American nettle trees (Celtis occidentalis), coral trees (Erythrina x sykesii) and liquidambar trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) do not require a permit for pruning or removal as long as they are under 10 meters tall and are not on the City’s Register of Significant Trees.

If a qualified Arborist has evaluated a tree and determined that it must be removed, tree replacement is often required. This will be spelled out on the permit. The required replacement tree species and size may be stated on the permit or the City of Sydney may leave that decision to the homeowner. The Arborist can suggest some good replacement trees and give advice on the proper planting and care of the new tree.