Is that tree dangerous?

If you think you have a dangerous tree on your property, you will need to have the tree professionally assessed by a qualified arborist (preferably a minimum Certificate V in Arboriculture) who has an understanding of risk assessment, and is able to assess that the risk is not acceptable or tolerable.

If you think you have a dangerous tree on your nature strip, or a Council park or reserve please contact Council to request service or report an issue.

If you think there is a dangerous tree on a neighbouring property you can find general information on resolving neighbourhood disputes on the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria website.

What makes a tree dangerous?

Tree is moving

Demonstrated by way of ground heave and/or soil cracking (on one side of the tree) or trunk has moved and now has an obvious lean.

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Tree severely damaged

Storm/wind damage has compromised tree such that it is no longer structurally stable, eg. trunk is split/cracked following lightning strike or tree has moved (refer above).

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High failure potential

Vertical cracks in stem leading to separation of trunk or codominant stems.

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Tree decay

There is insufficient healthy wood to ‘hold’ the tree due to the presence and extent of decay. Tree may have been subject to a recent failure.

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 Wood decay at base of tree, ie wood decay fungi, as indicated by fruiting bodies located at or close to base of tree, eg Brown cubicle rot Phaeolus schweinitzii on Radiata Pine Pinus radiata.

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Note: The presence of decay fungi does not always mean that the tree is compromised and dangerous.

Soil excavation

Sufficient structural roots have been severed to destabilise the tree.

Note: This may be an enforceable matter.

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Do I need a permit?

Most of Maroondah is subject to vegetation controls, which protect trees, and identifiy when a planning permit is required for removal,

 ie the Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) and the Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO). 

Under the SLO there is a planning control exemption for a dangerous tree.

A declared dangerous tree in an SLO area

Under the SLO, the exemption to deal with dangerous trees is covered by the following and applies to the whole tree

A tree which is dead or dying or has become dangerous as declared by a suitably qualified person.

This declaration must be in writing and made by a suitably qualified person, ie arborist (preferably a Cert. V Arborist).

Removal of a tree that does not meet this exemption may be subject to enforcement action being taken.

Emergency works

Under the Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) and the Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) the following exemption applies and is designed to deal with an emergency eg fire, burst water main, gas leak etc.

The requirement to obtain a permit does not apply to emergency works:

Vegetation that is to be removed, destroyed or lopped:

  • in an emergency by, or on behalf of, a public authority or municipal council to create an emergency access or to enable emergency works; or
  • where it presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property. Only that part of the vegetation that presents the immediate risk may be removed, destroyed or lopped under this exemption.