Arborists are specialists in the care and management of trees. They can: 

  • assess the health and structure of trees
  • carry out risk assessments of trees
  • carry out works such as pruning and tree removal 
  • treat diseases and pests affecting trees
  • give advice about protecting trees during construction projects
  • provide services to improve tree health. 

When arborist reports are requested as part of planning applications, these reports should be prepared in accordance with the following guidelines: 

The following steps will help you find the right arborist for your needs.

Step 1: Check credentials

Before hiring an arborist, check whether they: 

  • have the right qualifications and experience (Level 3 Certificate in Arboriculture for pruning and removal and Level 5 Diploma in Arboriculture for Consulting Services)
  • can provide evidence of their insurance (for example, public and products liability, professional indemnity) 
  • are members of professional organisations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), Victorian Tree Industry Organisation (VTIO) or Arboriculture Australia
  • have logos on their vehicles, and provide written quotes and invoices
  • are aware of tree permit requirements within Boroondara (Tree Protection Local Law, Significant Landscape Overlay, Vegetation Protection Overlay) and the processes required to seek local law and planning permits for tree removal, pruning and works.
  • have references you can check from other sites they’ve worked on (often this information can be found on their website) 
  • aren’t door-knockers pushing you to agree to carry out urgent works immediately for payment in cash

If you’re ever in doubt about an arborist call our Strategic and Statutory Planning team on 9278 4888.

If a canopy or significant tree is removed without a permit or damaged by works, even if the arborist told you no permits were required, you and the arborist could be fined or prosecuted for carrying out the works.

Step 2: Compare quotes

Before accepting a quote, compare the credentials and specifications of each quote. Quotes should include: 

  • a statement of whether a local law or planning permit is required
  • proposed start and finish date of works
  • specific details of the works to be undertaken, including whether stumps are to be removed and if the branches and wood will be taken away 
  • the total price and hourly rates 
  • the company's Australian Business Number (ABN), billing address, contact details and payment options. 

Step 3: Monitor practices

Professional arborists only perform works in an accepted manner. All tree pruning must be undertaken in accordance with Australian Standard 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

All tree removal works must be undertaken in a safe manner to ensure people and property are not injured or damaged. Unacceptable activities to watch out for include:

  • lopping (cutting branches or stems between branch unions) 
  • topping, or significantly reducing the height of a tree
  • removing excessive amounts of branches 
  • using climbing spurs on trees that are not being removed
  • removing or disfiguring living trees
  • blocking roads or disrupting public access without the required permits

To avoid this happening, do thorough reference checks before choosing an arborist. If you are in doubt about the works, please call our Strategic and Statutory Planning team on 9278 4888. 

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