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Tree Care over the Winter Months

Tree care is a year-round job. Find out the important tree care items which need to be attended to during winter. Read more here.
 
Neglecting the health of your trees during the long winter months is a sure-fire way to kill off their chances of healthy growth throughout the rest of the year. Winter tree care keeps your trees strong through winter, protects them from the tough conditions and sets them up with the best chances for success for those warmer months. 
 
In this guide, we will take you through the best strategies for taking care of your trees in Winter. We look at why Winter is a great time to get on top of tree maintenance, plus we explore the hidden benefits of taking action while everyone else is hibernating. 

 

The Winter Cut 

Winter is an ideal time to get on top of your trees’ pruning schedule. A regular pruning schedule is important for keeping your tree healthy, happy, vibrant and growing strong. However, many people neglect this task with the onset of the cold climate. Our arborists say that pruning during Winter actually has a number of advantages:
 
Precision Pruning
First of all, without all of the excess foliage, it is far easier to be precise and accurate when pruning. The absence of leaves allows for quicker identification of healthy branch structures, which enables a tree surgeon to better navigate the tree and determine which parts should be trimmed, lopped or left. 

 

Reduce Risk

Pruning and lopping during Winter reduce risk in two distinct ways. Firstly it removes dead and dying branches which pose a threat to safety during high winds or storms. Secondly, pruning during winter has less chance of attracting insects with disease, bacteria or fungi that can cause nightmares for your trees and plants. Therefore winter pruning can help to make you and your trees safer. 

 

Promote Growth

Trimming your trees during the coldest months of the year places less stress on the tree than at other times of the year. By getting on top of your tree care in Winter, the tree has time to recover and begin growing by the time the sun is out and spring is in bloom. In addition, pruning during winter can remove the shade from your property and enable more sunlight to reach the rest of your plants. This can help the rest of your garden to weather the cold and prepare for the prosperous months. 

 

The Cost of Frost

While there are a number of advantages to pruning during Winter, it’s also important to put in place strategies to protect your trees from the bitter cold. Our professional arborists have plenty of experience in protecting trees from the elements. Here are their top tips:

 

Protect the weak

If you have young saplings, delicate trees or potted plants, get them ready for the frost. Freezing temperatures can badly damage the shoots, leaves and core of your tree, affecting their ability to grow and fight off disease. Protect these by bringing them inside if you can, or by covering them to the ground with sheets/tarps that can trap the warmth during the night. 
 

Mulch

Mulching helps to regulate the moisture levels and temperature of the soil and your trees. Cover the base and roots of your trees with 5-10cm of fresh wood chip mulch to help them retain warmth even during the coldest parts of the month. 

 

Keep the fluids up

Keep watering your trees during winter, especially if there has been no rain. Young saplings should be watered every week or two while more mature trees should be watered every month or two. 
 
Republished courtesy of Jim’s Trees
 

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QA Air Conditioning Installation Rules

Question: I installed two air conditioning units for my apartment without approval. The owners corporation has insisted I move the external units to an unworkable location. Can they insist on this?

 

I live in an 8 unit, 2 story apartment complex. I installed two external air conditioning units outside my unit on the first floor prior to owners corporation approval.

The owners corporation has stated they want me to move the external section of the air conditioner. The spot they have indicated is not a viable option as per various air conditioner technicians.

Can the OC reasonably request this change and prevent me from providing heating and cooling to my own unit?
 

Answer: We recommend you obtain one or two contractor’s reports to support your proposal.

 

The owners corporation model rules allow it to regulate the exterior appearance of a lot (even if it is private property). That said, an owner could obtain a written consent from the owners corporation to install air conditional units and must not unreasonably withhold consent. We recommend you obtain one or two contractor’s reports to support your proposal. That would likely compel the owners corporation to favourably consider your proposal. We wish you luck with your consent application to the owners corporation.
 

Rochelle Castro
RC & Co Lawyers

 

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Understanding Tree Laws in Victoria


08 Feb 2024

In Victoria, the regulations concerning trees fall under the purview of general property law and 'common law,' shaped by court decisions over time.
 
Tree Ownership and Maintenance Obligations
 
Tree owners in Victoria are generally not legally obligated to maintain their trees unless they cause damage or become a nuisance. Additionally, council rules may apply, and it is advisable to check with the local council to determine if the tree in question is protected. Notably, the council will not intervene in disputes or trim trees unless they are on council property.
 
 
Boundary Line Trimming Rights
 
Property owners have the 'right of abatement,' allowing them to trim branches, leaves, or roots extending beyond their property boundary at their own expense. Renters should consult their property managers before taking action to avoid violating their rental agreements.
 
Prior to trimming a neighbour’s tree, consider:
  • Discussing maintenance plans with your neighbour.
  • Confirming the tree’s protection status with the local council.
  • Seeking advice on proper trimming techniques.
  • Agreeing with your neighbour on disposal arrangements for trimmings.
 
Reminder that you are responsible for any damage caused to your neighbour’s tree. You must obtain your neighbour’s consent before entering their property for maintenance.
 
 
Handling Trees Affecting Light or Views
 
No specific regulations in Victoria prevent property owners from planting large trees. This becomes a matter for negotiation between neighbours. If an agreement cannot be reached, mediation is recommended, providing an opportunity for both parties to discuss and resolve tree maintenance concerns. If mediation fails, legal advice is suggested before considering court action.
 
 
Dealing with Trees on Nature Strips or in Parklands
 
For trees causing issues on nature strips or in parklands, contact the local council to check protection status. Protected trees may prompt the council to send an arborist for assessment, while unprotected ones allow trimming along the boundary line.
 
Costs and Liability for Tree Maintenance
 
Tree owners are not obligated to cover maintenance costs, but they may choose to do so to prevent damage to neighbouring properties. Maintenance of branches crossing property lines is the responsibility of the owner incurring the cost. To compel a neighbour to pay for tree maintenance, evidence of property damage or a 'private nuisance' in court is required.
 
If a neighbour's tree causes damage, they may be liable for repairs. Check insurance coverage and attempt negotiation before resorting to legal action, considering factors such as arborist reports, photos of damage, and repair cost estimates.
 
Initiating a Conversation about Trees
 
Resolving tree disputes often starts with an informal discussion with neighbours. Clear communication, active listening, and sharing relevant information contribute to finding mutual solutions. Consider leaving a note in your neighbour's letterbox if a face-to-face conversation is challenging.
 
Court as a Last Resort
 
Going to court is expensive and time-consuming and may strain neighbour relationships. Before proceeding, assess if you understand each other's concerns, have been clear about your priorities, and explored alternative solutions. If necessary, a local Magistrates' Court can be approached, where a magistrate will determine the issue of private nuisance and cost-sharing.
 
Understanding Private Nuisance Claims
 
Private nuisance claims require a court application, and legal advice is crucial. To succeed, you must demonstrate the significance and unreasonableness of the nuisance, considering factors such as the environment, duration, impact, and necessity of the activity causing interference.
 
In conclusion, acknowledging the normalcy of certain inconveniences in a neighbourhood and striving for amicable solutions with neighbours is often more effective than pursuing legal avenues. The court's role is limited to legal aspects, and finding common ground with neighbours is generally the preferred course of action.