2 December 2008


| Nosey
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Who can tell me if I am allowed to (legally) cut down a tree that doesn’t allow my garden to grow?

It’s one of those huge pine needle dropping Pines that cover and kill my lawn and anything I plant underneath it or near to it. All the needles that fall from it clog the gutters and cover half my front yard.

I love trees but this is costing me a fortune as I have tried planting numerous plants to spruce up my garden without success. It was there when I bought my place but it is causing dramas that I did not see coming.

I have read previous posts on this topic but the difference is this tree is on the nature strip out the front of my neighbours and not on their land. It borders on their strip and mine.

Branches hang over my gardens and lawn which I know I can cut down but the problem will still be there as the tree is soo big I couldn’t reach without a sky hook.

No I am not a sook but seriously, suburbia is not the place for this tree to be. My other neighbours are of the same opinion. I can’t talk to the neighbours as they have just sold up and moved.

Any (useful) posts will be appreciated as I need a solution.

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familydude7212:34 pm 04 Jan 13

I have struggled over the last 6 years to have a gum tree removed from our nature strip. Initially the only issue was that the tree roots kept lifting up and busting the footpath (picture a broken pyramid shape in the middle of a flat footpath).

Called ACT government to come and look because a kid had stacked their scooter into it. They said that they couldn’t do anything to the tree but would replace the path. When the concreters came, they found it funny because they had to lay the concrete over the large tree roots and said that it would be busted up again within a few months. Sure enough – they were right.
A few weeks after this, someone was knocking at our door to tell us that there was gas smell coming from near the tree. Called the gas folk and it turned out the tree roots had hit the pipe – but after they repaired it, we were still not allowed to have the tree removed.
5 months later, I got a call from our neighbour to say that a speeding motorist had ploughed their car into the tree. Luckily no one was hurt but what a great opportunity to press for the tree to be removed! Wrong!!! When the guy in charge from ACT government came out (he has since retired), he said that he was familiar with the tree and the problems that it had caused, but that the car accident hadn’t shifted the tree in any way and so it wouldn’t be removed.
Another ruptured gas pipe and another new footpath, but still they won’t budge.

Being a well established tree, I assume it was there when you moved into your property, so I don’t think you have much of a case.

Nature strip trees are community assets and not something which should be dictated by the whims of individual leaseholders.

It’s Christmas; cut it down, chop it up and if questioned, say someone took it to sell as a Christmas tree. Simple.

Now some would say to drill many small holes in the tree and use a syringe to fill them full of Roundup. But I wouldn’t of course, because that just isn’t right.

Ring bark??

Thanks all.

Nifty dog, your suggestion is worth looking into as is yours RandomGit.

Gertel, it was the only way to not sound like a greeny. I do appreciate all the effort you put into your reply though. Very imaginative.

Looks like the problem will be around for a little while yet.

What is the colour of a two cent piece?????

Otherwise take your tree to Limestone Ave in Ainslie and some drunk, bogan, p-plater will run it down next week.


So true!

But please tie Lowe and Carney to it 1st

Copper nails will work, but you just need a lot more copper for a bigger tree – so it’s more likely you will get done for intentionally damaging the tree. Other methods such as the salt might be a better option, or maybe scraping back a bit of the bark and painting on straight glypho. Otherwise take your tree to Limestone Ave in Ainslie and some drunk, bogan, p-plater will run it down next week.

Wost case scenario cut it down yourself, and take the $20K fine on the chin.

neanderthalsis12:39 pm 02 Dec 08

I’d prefer pines dropping needles to gums which tend to drop branches…

What idiot planted Pines on a naturestrip?! Radiatas grow enormous. I quite like them and in fact dug up some little ones from that area wehre they’ve now got rid of them all, next to Pialligo Ave, grew them on and now they’re about 3 feet high and about to get planted out as a windbreak (maybe this evening, in fact).

but they’re really not suitable for confined areas like suburbs. Their needles killing everything underneath is useful in some situations, but not in someone’s garden! And since it’s a naturestrip, you can’t even pave it and turn it into a patio area.

What you shouldn’t do is:

Get a glass of warm water and dissolve salt in it until it goes opaque.

Drill a ten mm hole in the tree.

Fill the hole with solution.

Let nature take it’s course.

Call Urban Services.

Because that would be dishonest and illegal.

Had a similar problem, but on my nature strip and destroying next doors’ driveway.
I had previously had to dig up the stormwater pipe to clear roots from this tree which had blocked the pipe, and these ‘tubes’ of roots had been left on the ground before I removed them.

The neighbor called the Gov in with the request to remove the tree, with our OK. Same dead area underneath.

Gov were not interested at all, until a senior fellow turned up who had somehow seen the root tubes previously. He decided that these roots were only ever going to cause problems, so gave the OK to remove the tree. All done by the Gov, including grinding the stump.

If all your neighbours are actually in agreement …

Sounds like the only reasonable suggestion.

If all your neighbours are actually in agreement, approach Urban Services with a signed letter from the street and see what they say.

spruce up my garden


Drive a copper nail into it and call Urban Services

You could ring-bark it and then call an arborist to come and declare it unsafe…

Holden Caulfield9:14 am 02 Dec 08

Don’t like your chances, unless you can throw a few pineapples to your favourite arborist to file a report that says the tree is not healthy and a danger to the surrounding residences.

When we moved to our current house a few years ago it had a big kick arse sized pine in the front yard. It was just a big mess of needles underneath. Fortunately for us the base of its trunk was genuinely buggered and we found approval to have it removed pretty straightforward. As part of the application for removal we had to indicate what we would plant in its place. We planted a few euky dwarf saplings. Apart from losing a big tree on our corner block, which offered some privacy, it was the best thing getting rid of that damn tree!

Good luck with your situation, I feel your pain.

Just cut it down, I won’t tell..

Last I read up on nature strips a year or so ago, everything that grows in it is the property of the government, even if you planted it yourself, therefore you’re unable to prune or take out anything except grass.

No, I don’t abide by that, I prune back the wattles I planted on my strip so the postie has an easier time of it, and after I got a car I pruned so I could see oncoming traffic more easily from my driveway – and so cars on the road could see me, but your problem is so large you’re unable to do much discreetly.

You could try claiming it’s a dangerous tree, in which case it’s the responsibility of Urban Services to do something about it – but then they let reserve trees grow through power lines, I had to trim the trees behind my back fence to clear the power lines.

The Tree Protection Act would prevent that unless you had applied for permission. Of course that only applies to your trees. This tree isn’t yours so you can’t cut it down.

Trees on nature strips are *usually* considered as Government trees (unless the lessee has planted up the strip themselves).

However, call Canberra Connect – 13 22 81.

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