Bush fires can be a major threat, especially if your home is located on a plot filled with trees. To reduce the chances that the fire may affect the trees on your property and eventually set your house on fire, you may want to remove some trees. Before you start cutting down trees, there are several things you should know:
1. Check if you are in a 10/50 zone.
If you are in a 10/50 zone, you are allowed to cut down hazardous trees without permission. To find out if you are in one of these zones, use the Rural Fire Service's online tool or contact the council in your area for information. If you qualify, you can cut down most trees that are within 10 meters of buildings on your property, and you can clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs or bushes within 50 meters of buildings on your property.
2. Get permission from your local council before removing any trees.
Throughout most of Australia, if you aren't in a 10/50 zone and you want to cut down a tree or prune a significant part of it, you need permission from the local council in your area. Failing to get adequate permission is punishable by fines in some areas. For example, in New South Wales, you may be subjected to over a $1 million fine.
Even if you are in a 10/50 zone, you may need to get special permission to remove certain trees. In particular, if you want to take down a tree that is 10 meters from your neighbor's building but more than 10 meters away from the buildings you own, you have to get permission.
3. Look into government assistance for removal.
In addition to ensuring you have the right permissions in place, you may want to see if there are any government programs that can help you with the cost of removing hazardous trees in your area. For example, after the 2009 Victorian bushfires, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund made $4,000 grants available to homeowners to cover the cost of removing hazardous trees. Look for local programmes in your area to help offset costs.
4. Assess which trees you want to remove.
Ideally, before seeking permission from the council, you should identify which trees you want to remove. For example, if you have any eucalyptus trees, you may want to remove those, as eucalyptus trees have been known to be major culprits in bushfires.
5. Contact a tree specialist.
Determining which trees may be hazardous during a bush fire and ensuring you have the right permissions in place can be arduous. To save yourself the task, consider contacting a tree specialist. They can advise you on which trees need to be removed as well as which government agencies you should contact for assistance and permission.
If you live in an old house, you might find that some of the trees in your yard are as old, or older, than your house. Trees are a great link to the past of the house, but as they get older, like any living thing, they need a little more tender loving care! I help homeowners restore and maintain the trees at their house so that they look beautiful and healthy again. If you are the proud owner of an older tree and want to make sure it retains its natural glory, keep reading for my hints and tips.