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Tree Removal Chipping Lopping And Pruning South East Melbourne Arborist Vegetation Management

The Role of a consulting arborist in developments


The Role of a consulting arborist in developments

When building development is to be carried out on either private or commercial property, landowners often wish to preserve at least some of the existing trees. Established trees provide shade and natural beauty to any property and it makes sense to preserve healthy and desirable mature trees, as new trees may take several years to grow to maturity.

Melbourne arborist James O’Brien of OB Trees has over a decade of experience and expertise in consulting, risk management and landscaping and stresses the importance of involving a consulting arborist early in the process, “Trees can be easily damaged during the building process, which is why it’s important to consult with an arborist throughout the building process. The consulting arborist should visit the site during the initial planning stages before the design is finalised to assess trees for health and hazard potential, and to research which trees may be protected. The arborist will also be able to advise which trees, if any, are diseased or hazardous, thereby eliminating effort spent on preserving them.

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Having the arborist visit the site regularly throughout the building process will avoid unintended negative impacts on trees that are to be preserved. If for example, excavation is started and the structural roots of a tree are damaged, the tree is rendered hazardous and can’t be preserved.”

Unforeseen issues are bound to crop up during the building process - large roots may be discovered in unexpected locations, and site conditions may dictate a change in the design. A tree that incurs damage during development may not show symptoms of decline for several years. Even a skilful arborist isn’t able to mitigate severe impacts such as these once they have already occurred.

Since the most damage actually occurs underground in the form of soil compaction or root losses, soil needs to be protected. A Tree Protection Zone radius (TPZ) is calculated at 30 centimetres for every 2.5 cms of trunk diameter.

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Fine roots that allow the tree to absorb water and nutrients can extend well beyond the width of the canopy. Therefore even a shallow excavation or cut within the TPZ can negatively impact the tree’s ability to nourish itself.

A building project requires more space than the footprint the completed building will occupy. Hence strategies need to put in place to utilise the space efficiently while still protecting the soil and roots.

The following measures are advised to protect trees from being damaged:

  • TPZ fencing- this should be substantial and chain link fencing is recommended.
  • Trunk protection- the trunk should be properly wrapped to a height of 1.8 m from the ground to prevent injury.
  • Root buffer- this will protect the soil from compaction and should be put in place to cover TPZs prior to beginning the project and removed as soon as possible after the development is completed. The root buffer should comprise a base course of wood chips to a minimum depth of 15 cms, capped by 12 cms quarry gravel.
  • Wheels of equipment and vehicles- these need to remain on existing pavement or on the root buffer at all times. Existing pavement is very effective as a root buffer and hence should be retained as long as possible.  Since the soil under the pavement is already compacted, any mature trees in the vicinity will already have adapted to the conditions over time.

”Tree protection measures should be specified by a consulting arborist in a comprehensive tree protection plan to ensure that they are adhered to. An ongoing collaboration between the designers, contractors, owners and consultants before, during and after the project is completed will ensure that existing mature trees remain healthy and stable," says James.

OB TREES Arborist and Vegetation Management Specialists service southeast Melbourne suburbs. And specialise in professional tree care, providing fast, simple solutions for all your pruning, horticultural and landscaping needs. The team are fully qualified, insured arborists with years of hands-on experience in everything from tree pruning, removal and preservation to hedge trimming, stump removal, risk management, vegetation management and tree obstruction resolution. 

For further information visit OB TREES Tree Removal, Arborist and Vegetation Management Specialists or call their friendly team on +61 435 912 457

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