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Tree removal - When is it needed?

Author: Marcos Sydney
by Marcos Sydney
Posted: Nov 23, 2022
tree removal

When does a tree need to be removed? There are several factors involved in tree removal, which we will look into in this article. Removing a tree is usually the last option. Arborists usually do it as a last option. Let’s take a look at when it’s necessary to remove a tree.

Tree removal

Arborists know when it is time to remove a tree. It is always best to consult a professional before you cut a tree down. However, you can inspect the tree yourself and check its condition to see if you can see signs that it is time for tree removal. Here are some of the signs:

Trunk damage – If you can see damage to the tree, like dead branches, cracks or other damage to the main trunk, it is usually time to remove it. If the damaged area is less than 25%, it can usually heal and be saved.

Dead branches – Large top branches or limbs that are damaged can cause harm to people and property. Strong winds, which are common around coastal Australia, can blow these damaged branches from the tree and send them crashing to the ground.

Hollow trunk – Trees with hollow trunks can live for many years because their life support system is on the outer edges of the tree. The problem is that a hollow tree is weak, and although it may appear healthy and strong, it can again pose a hazard. If a third of the inside of the tree is hollow, it is usually time for tree removal.

Rotting roots – If you see the roots of the tree start to rise up, this is usually a sign of a rotten tree. It is hard to detect rotten roots because they are in the soil. One dead giveaway is mushrooms growing at the base of the tree. Fungus is often a tell-tale sign of rotten roots.

Fungus on the tree – Apart from fungus at the base of a tree, fungus on the tree is usually a sign the tree will fall soon. Removing a tree as soon as you see signs of fungus is important. Some signs include slower tree growth, yellow or browning leaves, dying branches or wilting. The tree should be removed before it gets to this point, though, as it may cause damage to people or property.

Cankers or bark damage – Cankers are missing parts or sunken bark on a tree. This is a sign the tree is dying. If the tree has deep cracks in the bark, it can weaken the trunk, making it a hazard.

Missing leaves close to the trunk – A healthy tree’s leaves fall from the outside in; this is a warning sign if you see leaves missing close to the tree trunk. Leaves missing close to the trunk usually mean the tree has a damaged root zone. Strong gusts of wind could cause the tree to fall over.

Pests – If you see signs of wood-boring insects like the carpenter ant, it’s time to call an Arborist. Carpenter ants don’t cause damage to trees, but they prey on a tree's weakness. They make tunnels through damp or weak wood and colonize the tree. This stops the tree from healing and causes further rotting.

There are other signs that a tree is damaged or dying, such as vines covering the tree, odd shapes or branches growing in a V-shape. If you are unsure whether a tree is damaged or not, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Call a professional tree lopper or arborist to come and assess the tree. Most good arborists, such as Cutting Edge Tree Maintenance, offer free quotes.

A common reason for tree removal is the location of the tree. Another is if a tree is blocking natural light or is a hazard to people or property. Large trees can also cause damage to your property because of the root networks. Do not leave it until it is too late – contact an arborist today to conduct a tree assessment.

Dying trees are on the increase

According to, trees are dying much faster in northern Australia. The article states, ‘The rate of trees dying in the old-growth tropical forests of northern Australia each year has doubled since the 1980s, and researchers say climate change is probably to blame.’ The biggest cause was due to increases in the atmospheric vapour pressure deficit, or to put it simply, the drying atmosphere.

A team of specialists found that of the 81 species of tree studied, 70% showed an increase in mortality risk over the study period. These included the White Aspen, Moreton Bay Chestnut and Satin Sycamore. The increase in the dryness of the air is a direct consequence of climate change.

The damage starts at the leaf level, with leaves wilting due to not getting another moisture from the roots. Then on to whole branches dying and eventually tree death, which would require tree removal.

Australian law protects trees

So, you’ve discovered your tree is rotten, and you need to remove the tree. It’s time to get the spade, and the saw out, right? No! Did you know that attempting to remove trees without the consent of the council could lead to fines of up to $110,000? Staggering right? That’s why you must apply for permission from your council before attempting a tree removal from your garden or business property.

The Tree Protection Act 2005 has two categories of trees that are protected.

  1. Registered trees - these have been put on the register because of their level of importance.
  2. Regulated trees – these are trees that meet certain criteria, that are on leased land within a tree management precinct and:

(a) is 12m or more high; or

(b) has a trunk with a circumference of 1.5m or more, 1m above

natural ground level; or

(c) has 2 or more trunks and the total circumference of all the trunks,

1m above natural ground level, is 1.5m or more; or

(d) has a canopy 12m or wider.

There is an exception to this act if it is a pest plant under the Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005.

Trees that fall into those categories cannot be damaged or removed without permission. A good arborist will know which trees fall into these categories and be able to apply to the council on your behalf. Usually, they have a good working relationship with local councils and can make the application process faster and smoother.

Removing or pruning a tree in Newcastle

So, if you are thinking about tree removal in Newcastle or even elsewhere, we strongly recommend you seek the services of a professional arborist. They can take the headache and stress out of the whole process and may even find a way to save the tree, so it doesn’t need to be removed. Arborists have experience with all types of trees and scenarios. Don’t risk removing a tree yourself; it is just not worth it. If you are unsure of where to find an arborist near you, just google tree removal near me, and you will be able to find a suitable tree removal specialist.

About the Author

A jack of all trades, but master of none, but often better than a master of one. I enjoy writing articles, Diy projects, and cooking. So come take a look at one of my articles and leave a comment.

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Author: Marcos Sydney
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Marcos Sydney

Member since: Jul 20, 2022
Published articles: 13

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