Central Coast Council and Tree Removal Applications with William Jones
Central Coast Council and Tree Removal
Applications with William Jones
John: Okay so qualified arborist, how many years?
Will: Eighteen years.
John: Eighteen years. All 18 with Tree and Garden?
John: Oh okay.
Will: Probably the last five years with Tree and
Garden on a Central Coast.
John: Okay. Central Coast….
Will: New South Wales.
John: Right, Will, let’s have a chat about – I mean
I’m living at Pearl Beach and, as you know, a lot of
trees in this area being from a city that’s kind of new to
me, having to swerve around branches and whatnot on
the road but I guess a lot of people in this area
probably all have similar questions about, you know,
what they can do in terms of, not what they can do but
how far they can go in terms of pruning and removal,
So, I mean, for someone like me if I had a large tree in
my yard and I wanted it gone I probably just scale a 20
foot later and start hacking away. Is that – like what…
What should people be doing when it comes to tree
removal or pruning? I mean, just explain to me, what
is the difference between pruning and trimming or, I
mean, what’s removal? Is that the whole lot?
Will: Yeah, removals a whole lot. Trimming and
lopping or cutting, kind of the same things; all tree
John: So what’s the difference between cutting and
Will: There’s two things. There’s tree lopping which
is kind of the indiscriminate cutting of a tree and
there’s proper tree pruning which is carried out by a
trained horticulturalist or arborist and that’s pruning a
John: So when you say lopping, is that when they
just hack a section off?
John: Is it – so…
Will: Just hacking, chopping.
John: So lopping a bad thing?
Will: Bad thing, yeah.
John: Right, okay. Because I was reading some
information on your site and there was an article
posted about lopping and it was saying that it’s a bad
thing and I was a bit confused because I wasn’t sure
how the difference – the difference between cutting
and lopping or I guess is it just… I guess we could
probably just argue the semantics of it all day long but
the true definition of lopping is where you just…
Will: Hacking, right. Anyone can lop a tree basically.
John: Right, so you don’t have to be qualified to lop?
So I’m a qualified lopper!
John: Okay, so getting back to my original point,
what are some of the restrictions in, say, my area,
Pearl Beach, when it comes to…
John: …trimming your trees, I mean…
Will: Trees in this area are – it’s a very leafy tree
area. It’s got a lot of significant trees and it’s…
John: Native trees.
Will: And native trees and it’s kind of a special
undeveloped bushy leafy beachside suburb and…
John: The trees there are they protected are a lot of
those trees protected?
Will: All native, all trees, all native trees, are
Will: Under the council’s tree preservation order.
John: Right. How do you know which ones are?
How do you know which ones are?
Will: You can check the council’s tree preservation
John: Okay, or your Web site?
Will: Or you can go to my Web site.
John: You’ve got a full PDF guide.
John: Yeah, and you’ve got a full PDF guide.
John: It’s got all of the different trees on it and
John: Right, that’s great!
Will: But, if you look at the trees it’s going to say
Jacaranda Mimosifolia, and you’re going to go, what
the hell is that?
Will: You’re not going to know what names relate to
Will: That’s where an arborist comes in.
Will: You’re going to see a tree on the list and you’re
going to go, ah, is my tree one of those or not?
John: Yeah, those guides they’ve got on the council
Web site have photos of the trees?
John: They don’t?
Will: So as far as the tree identification point of view
that’s going to be hard for you.
John: Because I know some of the actual proper
terms for trees. I mean, I look at a tree and go, wow,
that’s a nice tree. But there are so many – again, you
can get information on your site and use actual proper
Will: Botanical name.
John: Oh botanical, see, I’m a lopper, I’m a tree
lopper I don’t know the… But, yeah, I mean, I
wouldn’t know one tree from another in terms of the
botanical name. I know, I guess, what would you call
Will: The common name. I mean, yeah, the slang
name is – the preservation order will give you the
common name and the botanical name.
John: Okay, right. So if I was to want to trim a tree
or take some pretty big branches down like say around
Pearl Beach I would just go to which council?
Will: We’re in Gosford council here and you can
prune a tree without council approval.
Will: The council – not just from a council point of
view but from a tree health point of view, if you’ve got
a beautiful tree and you want to look after it you
shouldn’t prune more than say 15 to 20% of it off.
Will: Otherwise it’s going to cause a tree stress.
John: Okay, if someone hands me a pair of shears
and I think, right, okay, I’m going to prune this tree
and you start off with good intention and then like, I
always think I’m going to start cutting and then you
just get carried away and before you know it you’ve cut
about about 80% of the tree away.
Will: Yeah, yeah!
John: So, yeah, right. So pruning can be done by
Will: Lopping can be done by anyone.
John: Well, yeah. I shouldn’t say by anyone.
John: You don’t need to go through council?
Will: No, you don’t need to go through council for
John: So just general pruning. Someone could just
go out and go and prune a tree. You say what, 15% of
Will: Yeah, 10 to 15% is a nice amount.
John: Right, and what’s the purpose of pruning is
that just to ensure…
Will: Okay, I guess for the trees point of view, the
tree structure, to improve the trees balance.
Will: To improve the trees aesthetics and looks for
some people. To remove the deadwood.
Will: To remove wounded branches, crossing
John: So a lot of the dead stuff would be on the
outside, is that right?
Will: Yeah, (dead branches) on the inside as well.
Will: And then there’s pruning for amenity like
pruning away from your building, pruning away from
power lines, off driveways…
Will: Pruning to open your view. Pruning to let more
John: Okay, all right. So pruning can be done by
anyone? You don’t need to go to council for that?
John: So as, say, a home owner in this area, again,
getting back to my original point of Pearl being in
Pearl Beach, I can prune my tree but if I wanted to do
like remove some big branches like – I mean, I guess
where the confusion lies for myself personally, do I call
a professional arborist like you or do I call the
council? Like, how do I know who to call or should I
just go straight to an arborist and get their advice?
Will: Yeah, as far are calling the council, it’s going to
end up on their desk.
John: Jumping through hoops.
Will: And trying to get to the right person to give you
advice is going to take a couple of day’s maybe to get a
Will: If you call your local arborist you’re going to get
a quick response and the right advice straightaway.
John: Okay, so they give you advice as to how much
Will: How much you can prune, what particular
branches need pruning and don’t need pruning.
John: Right, okay.
Will: And what’s your goal…
John: It sounds like a hassle going to council is it,
John: Let’s not sugar coat it.
Will: But it can be a hassle trying to find a good
tradesman as well so…
John: Right, you won’t have that problem with Tree
Will: Not at all.
John: Okay, yeah, so I can prune and if I’m not sure I
can get in touch with an arborist. What about, we’ve
already covered identifying protected species.
John: Are there any other concerns that people
should take, factors, that they should take into
consideration before they climb up a 20-foot ladder
like I’m about to in the backyard and start hacking
away at everything?
Will: Yeah, I mean, your own personal safety for one.
Will: And then the safety of your home and your car.
You know, you could do damage.
John: You have seen a few doozies, yeah?
Will: Yeah, I have a friend in Tasmania who engaged,
or no, a friend of a friend who engaged an arborist tree
lopper to do some work for them and they came to
their house with a 20-foot ladder, he climbed up the
ladder, lopped the tree, feel, broke his hip and he
didn’t have insurance. So now he’s a quadriplegic and
she feels terrible because she didn’t engage a suitably
John: How do you know then if your – how do you
know that the person that you’re hiring is qualified?
What steps do you go to to ensure that they’ve got,
they’re properly qualified, and they’ve got, say, public
Will: Yeah, they’re obviously going to want to see
copies of their certificates of currency and a copy of
John: So you just ask for that stuff when they rock
John: So what should a qualified arborist have?
Will: A minimal Certificate 3 in Aboriculture.
Will: There’s Certificate 2, 3 and a diploma level.
Will: But for your general working arborist a
Certificate 3 is sufficient.
Will: That’s in New South Wales, Central Coast.
John: Central Coast.
Will: And different states…Yeah, different training
organizations and structures.
John: Right, okay. So, make sure if you’re
considering taking a tree down or making considerable
changes to a tree that you call qualified arborists who
will advise the best course of action. Identify the tree
by – well, I mean an arborist would tell you that
anyway wouldn’t they? They’d say, wait a minute, you
can’t cut this tree down because it’s a eucalyptus
whatever and it’s got half a dozen…
Will: It might have yellow-bellied gliders. It might
be a habitat tree.
John: Okay, right.
Will: To endangered species. There’s a lot of
John: And I guess being on the Central Coast like a
lot of areas are heavily protected, yes?
Will: Yes, some areas are.
John: Okay, what are some of the most heavily
protected? I know down here in Pearl Beach it’s a
holiday sort of area and I guess, I mean, I’m not up to
speed with council regulations in terms of what you
can and can’t do when it comes to tree removal and so
forth but I know – I was reading an article on your site
and you mentioned somewhere else that you’ve only
got to travel about five minutes down the road and the
Will: Change, Bateua Bay on the Central Coast and
there’s Bateua Bay East.
Will: Which is just across the road from normal
Bateua Bay and the council restrictions there are much
more strict in that area.
John: Right, okay. So what about people that have
gone about – what about people that have just taken it
upon themselves to remove trees? I mean, what sort
of trouble could a person get into if they do take a tree
out and it’s protected?
Will: It can be minimum fines of $600 and upwards.
I mean, if the council wants to get nasty they can take
it them to land and environment court for…
John: Yeah, right.
Will: …removing significant trees.
John: I know when I lived in – there was a suburb
that I lived in Brisbane and there were people
purposely removing trees so that you could see – you
had city views. Is that still going on?
Will: Yes, that’s still going on.
John: People go and hack out trees, right, and say…
Will: A bit of midnight gardening.
John: Yeah, yeah. There are all of these trees.
Actually they weren’t cutting them down, they were
poisoning them. Yeah, at the base and the trees would
die and then six months later the property was for sale
listed as city views. Suddenly there’s like half a dozen
trees that have just died...
John: Right on the skyline, a direct path. That’s a bit
coincidental isn’t it?
John: Anything else that you want to add? Any other
considerations for, don’t take it upon yourself to be
scaling a ladder and doing anything stupid, falling
down and breaking your hip, be sure to speak to a
qualified arborist first at least get their guidance in
terms of being able to identify the tree. And arborist
should know, a qualified arborist, should know what
type of tree your dealing with and whether or not it’s
protected and what happens when you actually do –
do you have to go to council, how does that process
differ from say an arborist.
Will: It’s up to the home owner to get approval for
the tree so they can download the Tree Works
application form from a council Web site or from our
Web site there’s a link to that there. They fill it out
and pay, there’s a fee, there’s a $100 fee to apply to
have the tree removed and they…
John: So wait a minute, you’ve got to pay $100.00 to
have the council come out and take a tree down?
Will: To have a look at your tree.
John: Shouldn’t that come out of your rates?
Will: It (should) yeah.
John: What if a tree is impeding on, say, power lines
or something or it’s…
Will: Even if it’s an emergency, you know, you still
need council approval unless the trees lifting out of the
ground and about to fall on your house.
John: Right, okay. Yeah, continue so $100.00?
Will: $100.00 you send it in, you get the paperwork,
they’ll send in a tree assessment officer, tree
preservation officer out to your property.
John: Oh, okay.
Will: Check the trees and he’ll give the okay and then
you’ll receive some paperwork in the mail. So the
whole process takes about two to three weeks.
John: Two to three weeks?
John: And I guess they expedite that process if the
tree is a hazard or if there’s some sort of danger?
Will: If your tree is an imminent danger to your
property an arborist can come out and make the call
and will take a few photos or videos of the tree as
John: Okay, so an arborist can actually work with
you and the council together to help you through the
John: Okay, so…
John: Well, I always get sort of a bit lost with – I
mean, the tree came down across the road, remember
I was telling you about that? And it took out the power
John: We didn’t lose power but, yeah, that tree came
crashing down and my housemate came down and
said, you know, there’s live wires on the road. And you
know, people were still trying to drive through there,
can you believe that?
Will: Yeah, yeah.
John: We were out in the street stopping people,
wait stop! They’re like what’s – can I just… Can I
just… One guy actually pulled up and he said, can I
just drive across that? I said, hey, do whatever you
want. I said but if you prefer to live perhaps going
under the wires on the left-hand side near the pole.
John: But, yeah, that tree – the guys came from
John: SES, yeah. SES came out and the power place,
John: Ausgrid came out, yeah and they sorted out
the power line. That was all sorted out in about three
hours and the tree was still down and then there was a
crew that rocked up about a week later, I think, I had
expected – I thought you guys might have been on it
but there was a crew that rocked up.
Anyway they chopped it up and then they threw it in
one of those big, what are those…
John: Mulches, yeah, but that was a massive branch
Will: It was a large section of the tree and…
John: Did you see that?
Will: Yeah, it was hanging there.
John: Yeah, it was a big…
Will: The thing that gets me is that the recent storms
we had every tree that I saw, I saw about 20 or more
trees, all the failure points are from defective trees,
defective branches or trees with problems.
John: What do you mean by defective branches, is
that from someone messing with them or is that just
from like disease or…
Will: Yeah, and disease gets into a tree when you’ve
lopped it or messed with it.
Will: And that’s why they kind of… Lopping trees or
trees with just natural structural defects in them like
splits in the forks, big heavy branches. All of that can
be prevented by an annual inspection from your local
John: Yeah, I know people probably don’t think
about getting an arborist out. I mean, I didn’t even
know what an arborist was, you know, until we started
working together and I found myself saying, hey, do
you see that guy over there, that guys an arborist. I
felt special because I felt somewhat educated. Before I
was like, oh, check out old mate up the tree there with
But what was my point? I can’t remember what my
Will: Broken branch across the road.
John: Yeah. We were talking about defects.
Defects… I said to you just when you first arrived, I
mean, driving around looking at trees now thinking,
oh, that ones, you know, not looking too good.
John: But, yeah. That’s what I was going to say. I
was going to say you don’t think about calling an
arborist until it’s too late, you know.
Will: That’s like, you know…
John: I’ve got a 3 Series BMW outside with a 600
kilogram trunk just smashed across the whole front of
it, I’m like, I’ve got to call someone, bit late now.
Will: Yeah, too late now.
Will: Like you don’t get a mechanic until your brakes
John: That’s right and you’re in a ditch. I’ve got to
call someone. This is getting pretty serious. Okay,
well that’s probably enough for our first chat. How
can people find out more about what it is that you do?
I guess that’s probably a silly thing to ask.
Will: Give us a call or jump online and check out our
Web site; treeandgarden, tree and, A-N-D
John: And we’ll just – Will, just to wrap it up, just
give us which areas you cover and what services you
Will: Okay, we cover the Gosford and Wyong Shire
councils in the Central Coast of New South Wales. We
cover all the suburbs. We provide…
John: Actually I’ve got a list here of the suburbs, it’s
huge. You cover a massive area!
Will: Yeah, the whole area is about 60 square
John: Yeah, I was really surprised with how far you
guys actually go and you do cover areas of Sydney as
well. You’ve got Avoca Beach, Bateua, I can’t
pronounce some of these.
Will: Yeah, Bateua Bay, Bensville, Erina, Terrigal,
John: You cover a pretty big area.
John: A 60 kilometer diameter. Where are you
Will: We’re based at Wamberal.
John: Wamberal, okay. And you do areas of Sydney
Will: Yeah, in Northern Sydney, Berowra.
Will: Thornleigh, Wahroonga.
John: They’re all – that’s Northern Sydney?
Will: Northern, yeah in Sydney.
John: And the services that you guys provide, I know
you obviously do tree removal?
Will: Yep, tree pruning, provide tree assessments,
John: Okay, and what about just general gardening
like if I wanted you guys to come around and just take,
you know, do my laws and edges. Do you do that kind
of stuff or…
Will: Lawns aren't really for us. We like things that
grow higher than knee-high.
John: You haven’t seen my backyard!
Will: So yeah, but hedges, hedge trimming and
anything upwards from there.
John: Right, so you do stump removals as well?
Will: Stump, yeah stump removals.
John: I just want to ask quickly. I saw a video on
your Web site and it didn’t look like they were actually
removing the stump it looked like they were just sort
of grinding it level with the ground. Is that – like
what’s the… I know you’ve got stump grinding and
stump removal. The stump removal you actually dig
the whole thing out?
Will: Stump removal will be an excavated digging it
out but stump grinding will actually grind the whole
stump out as well.
John: Okay, is (that safe)?
Will: It turns it into mulch.
John: And what happens then, you just cover the top
John: So will the roots and everything stay there?
Will: Yeah, the roots are still there but they die off.
They’re usually under the ground anyway.
John: And that’s not an issue for say termites?
Will: Not really. If you…
John: It is or it isn’t Will?
Will: Well, I mean, sure it could be but…
John: So the better option is to have it removed?
Will: No, because when you’re – if you’re an
excavator and you did the stump out they only dig the
main head of the stump out anyway. They still leave
radial roots because radial roots extend for the drip
line of the tree, many meters.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Will: So you’re never going to get it all out anyway.
Will: It’s certainly going to reduce the – the food
source for termites.
John: Right, and I guess if you’ve got a tree or a
stump right beside your home you can’t go digging
down under the slab so I guess that makes sense.
John: So, sorry. You do full tree removal and large
Will: Yes large trees.
John: What’s the biggest tree that you’ve ever taken
Will: Probably a 60 meter tree.
John: Sixty meters?
John: That’s massive.
Will: (Mid North) Coast in New South Wales.
John: Wow! So tree removal, tree pruning, hedging,
trimming, you guys do mulching.
John: And stump grinding and stump removal,
John: Is that everything? What have we missed? I
feel like I’ve missed something.
Will: We do a few extra little things like install bird
and wildlife boxes in trees.
John: Ah yeah, I saw that. Yeah, I saw that.
Will: Yeah, we’re working with some, what’s the
word? For your… Ecologists. Another word that I
was thinking of, yeah, a few ecologists installing
possum boxes and bird boxes for wildlife.
John: Yeah, I used to see – there was a lot of those
when I still lived up in Brisbane you used to see the
boxes up in trees and I’d think, who does that like…
John: But there are actual possums living in them?
Pretty cozy, nice view too out over the water.
John: Okay, so that’s probably it for today Will.
Thanks so much for your chat and of course if anyone
is interested in working with Will, Tree and Garden,
give him a call I’m sure he would be happy to help you
out. Isn’t that right?
Will: Yeah, definitely! Just call me on 0402418017 or
visit our website at www.treeandgarden.com.au
Will: Thanks John!
John: Thanks Will, see you mate.
Will: See ya!