In Australia, trees are important both to the landscape and the animals and people that reside in it. This is why councils across Australia have such strict regulations regarding the removal of trees. As such, if you wish to remove one of your tree's branches, you'll need to be sure you are allowed to do so beforehand. Removing a branch without doing your research first could land you in trouble.
Before you remove a tree branch, carry out the following actions.
1. Find Out If Your Tree Is Protected
In Australia, certain tree species, such as the hoop pine, forest red gum and weeping fig are protected. If your tree is on the protected list, you can't remove a branch unless you have a very good reason to do so. And, if you do go ahead and prune a branch anyway, you could face prosecution along with a very heavy fine.
Before you do anything then, contact your local council to find out if your tree is a protected species.
2. Apply for Permission From Your Council
If your tree is on the protected list, then you'll need to approach your local council to request a permit to remove one of its branches. Before your council grants you a permit, however, you'll need to present them with sufficient justification to remove the branch. If, for instance, the branch is endangering passing pedestrians, this will probably be enough to justify its removal.
Moreover, even if your tree isn't on the protected list, it might still be on the regulated list. Trees on this list meet certain criteria that require you to request permission from your council if you wish to remove a branch. For instance, the ACT Tree Protection Act of 2005 states that you need permission to remove branches that are over 50 mm in diameter.
3. Check the Health of Your Tree
Your tree's health is important too. For example, if your tree is sick, removing a branch of substantial size could stifle your tree's chances of recovery. A tree needs its leaves to take in food. Removing a large branch could deprive your tree of the food your tree needs to recover from sickness or trauma. As such, if your tree appears to be sick, think twice about removing a branch.
4. Hire an Arborist
Unless the branch you plan to remove is small, consider hiring an arborist. An arborist has the necessary equipment and knowledge to remove large branches without putting you or your tree at risk. Moreover, you could even hire an arborist to begin with. That way, you would have a professional to carry out all of the above steps for you.
Do you want to remove one of your tree's branches? Then be sure to follow the above advice before you proceed with the removal.