Guide to Arborist Reports in Sydney: What to Look For

Arborist reports are essential for anyone managing, developing, or caring for land with trees in Sydney. Whether you're a government department, a tier 1 or 2 company, or even a homeowner, understanding the components of a comprehensive arborist report can be crucial. Here's our guide for Arborist Reports in Sydney.

Understanding the Basics

Firstly, let's clear up what an arborist report actually is. It's a document prepared by a qualified arborist that provides detailed information about the health, condition, and management recommendations for trees on a given site. These reports are often required for development applications, tree removal permits, and general tree management. Drawing from the detailed requirements of the Ku-ring-gai Council, let's dive into what makes a complete and reliable arborist report.

Site and Tree Identification

Site Details

An arborist report must start with the basics: the site's address, the date of inspection, and the report's aim. This sets the stage for a contextual understanding of the assessment.

Inspection Methods

The methods and tools used for inspection should be clearly listed. This might include advanced techniques like aerial assessment, sonic tomography and resistance drill testing, which provide in-depth insights into tree health and structure.

Site Plan

A detailed, scaled plan of the site is crucial. It should accurately depict the locations of trees, buildings, services, and other relevant structures, providing a clear visual reference.

Tree Data Collection

Tree Inventory Table

Each tree assessed should be listed in a table with details like species, height, trunk diameter, canopy spread, health condition, and estimated life expectancy. This data is vital for understanding the overall tree population on the site.

Tree Significance

The report should evaluate the significance of each tree in the landscape, considering factors like age, rarity, and ecological value.

Detailed Tree Analysis

Tree Health and Structure Analysis

A thorough analysis of each tree's health and structural integrity is required. This includes examining wounds, cavities, cracks, root zones, and signs of pests or diseases.

Supporting Evidence

Photographs, test results, and other forms of evidence should be included to support the observations and findings of the arborist.

Management and Risk Assessment

Management Recommendations

The report should provide detailed recommendations for tree care, maintenance, protection during construction (if a development report), and necessary tree work such as pruning or removal.

Risk Assessment

If part of the agreed scope, the report should assess the risks associated with each tree using recognised methodologies like TRAQ or QTRA. This includes the likelihood of tree failure and its potential impact on the surroundings.

Impact Assessment

For development sites, assessing how proposed works will impact trees is crucial. This includes potential damage to roots, changes in water and light availability, and other environmental factors.

Legal and Environmental Compliance

Local and State Regulations

The report must align with local council and state regulations.

Environmental Considerations

The protection of native trees and compliance with heritage listings are essential environmental considerations that must be addressed.

Additional Considerations

Proposed Replacement Plantings

Where tree removal is involved, the report should recommend suitable replacement plantings.

Options and Recommendations

A discussion of all management options, including those recommended and those not recommended, should be provided, along with justifications.

Choosing the Right Arborist

When commissioning an arborist report in Sydney, it's essential to choose a qualified and experienced professional. Look for arborists with:

Innovations in Arborist Reporting

For those in the industry, like us at Canopy Consulting, staying ahead with technology is key. Utilising technologies like geospatial, 3D scanning, and decay diagnostics gives us a distinct advantage.

Conclusion

A well-prepared arborist report is invaluable for tree management and development planning in Sydney. It's not just about complying with regulations; it's about preserving and managing one of our most valuable natural resources - our trees. Whether you're a business owner, a government department, or a homeowner, understanding these key components will ensure you get the most out of your arborist report in Sydney.

Looking to ensure your trees are expertly assessed and managed? Contact Canopy Consulting, your dedicated experts for arborist reports in Sydney. We offer comprehensive tree reports, advice, and specialty services tailored to your needs. Whether you're a government department or a corporate entity, let us help you with our advanced GIS assessment and tailored solutions. Visit our contact us page or call us now to schedule a consultation and see how we can assist you in making informed decisions about your trees.

Visual summary for a blog post on arborist reports, featuring a prominent green tick symbolizing the accuracy and completeness of a report that includes all essential components, with a subtle background checklist of key report elements.

TOP 5 IMPORTANT REASONS TO HIRE A QUALIFIED CONSULTING ARBORIST

When it comes to tree care and management in Sydney, the expertise of a qualified AQF Level 5 Consulting Arborist is indispensable. Whether you're a government department, grounds manager, school or university or even a concerned homeowner, understanding why you should invest in such specialised services is key. Here are the top five reasons why hiring a qualified AQF Level 5 Arborist in Sydney is a wise decision. Read further to find out more.

WHAT IS AN AQF LEVEL 5 ARBORIST?

A qualified consulting arborist at AQF Level 5 is a highly skilled professional in the field of arboriculture, recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework as having advanced knowledge and expertise. This level signifies that the arborist has attained extensive education and training. This equips them to conduct detailed and complex tree assessments, provide expert advice on tree care, preservation, and management, and develop sophisticated arboricultural reports. They possess a deep understanding of tree biology, pathology, and the legal aspects of tree management, making them invaluable, especially for complex projects in urban environments like Sydney. Their AQF Level 5 certification assures their clients of the highest standard of professional practice in the arboriculture industry.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING HELP FROM A QUALIFIED CONSULTING ARBORIST

  1. Expert Knowledge in Tree Health and Safety: A consulting arborist with AQF Level 5 qualifications possesses comprehensive knowledge about tree health, diseases, and safety. They can accurately assess the condition of trees, identify potential risks, and provide solutions to maintain or improve the health and safety of the trees in your environment. This level of expertise is crucial, especially in urban areas like Sydney, where trees play a vital role in the ecosystem and public safety.
  2. Professional Tree Reports and Documentation: Detailed tree reports are often required for any significant tree-related project or legal compliance in Sydney. AQF Level 5 Arborists are skilled in providing thorough tree reports and documentation, which are essential for government and corporate clients. These reports can be used for development applications and risk assessments and to inform tree management strategies.
  3. Advanced Tree Management Strategies: Advanced tree management is more than just pruning and maintenance. AQF Level 5 Arborists bring a strategic approach to tree management, considering long-term health, growth patterns, and the surrounding environment. Their strategies are vital for urban planning and development, ensuring that tree populations are sustainable, healthy, and beneficial to the Sydney community.
  4. Compliance with Local Regulations: Every environment is unique, especially in a diverse city like Sydney. AQF Level 5 Arborists are trained to provide custom solutions tailored to the specific needs of an area or a project. Whether it's coastal areas, urban parks, or corporate landscapes, they have the skills and knowledge to address the unique challenges presented by different environments.
  5. Custom Solutions for Unique Environments: When working on certain trees, there are certain rules or laws to follow. Qualified consulting arborists are familiar with every local or state regulation that applies to tree projects. They are aware of the impact their job has on the environment and humans.

A Level 5 qualified arborist conducting a tree risk assessment in Sydney's university.

TREE SERVICES THAT QUALIFIED CONSULTING ARBORISTS CAN PROVIDE

The following are examples of services that AQF Level 5 arborists provide:

Note: Tree services may vary from one qualified consulting arborist to another.

An AQF Level 5 Arborist equipped with safety gear ascending a large tree, using a resistance drill to perform a structural assessment and evaluate risk in Sydney.

THE TAKEAWAY

Arborists who have achieved a minimum AQF qualification, such as Level 5 for consultants and Level 3 for practising arborists, are the experts when it comes to tree care. If you have any questions or concerns about the trees on your property, don't hesitate to consult an AQF Level 5 arborist for advice.

WHERE TO FIND A QUALIFIED CONSULTING ARBORIST NEAR ME?

Trust Canopy Consulting to handle all of your tree care needs. Our qualified consulting arborists are experts in providing quality service that will keep your trees healthy and looking great. Call us now at 1300 122 667 to find out how we can help.

WHY TREE MANAGEMENT IS IMPORTANT FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS

It is no secret that trees are a vital part of our environment. Not only do they provide shade and oxygen, but they can also improve the appearance of your property. However, some people still overlook the essence of tree management and see it as a mundane task. For this reason, we will discuss why it is paramount for property managers to take care of their trees, and outline some of the benefits it can provide. Keep reading to learn more!

WHAT IS TREE MANAGEMENT?

Tree management is the maintenance and administration of trees for reasons of safety, legislative requirements and aesthetics. Tree owners, landowners, or property managers need to administer and take care of their trees to keep them in good condition to prevent property damage and human endangerment from foreseeable hazards.

BENEFITS OF PROPER TREE MANAGEMENT

HOW TO CONDUCT GOOD TREE MANAGEMENT?

Punctual tree examination can aid in the early detection of tree degradation and can help prevent further damage. Perform frequent tree inspections as your daily task, especially after every turbulent storm or weather. 

The following are several helpful tips in taking care of your trees:

SEEK PROFESSIONAL ARBORIST SERVICESIf you are looking for an expert tree care provider, look no further than Canopy Consulting. We are tree specialists with qualified knowledge and experience in treating tree issues of all kinds. Whether your trees need minor maintenance or major treatment, we are here to help! Feel free to skim through our services or contact us to start.

Trees improve the quality of life in urban areas

Trees have proven to be a boon for the citizens in a city. Apart from its greeneries, trees provide many other social benefits to humans - trees help people get more exercise, improve mental health by providing a sense of calmness, and reduces stress levels by providing natural shade outside homes or offices.

Here are a few reasons why trees make cities livable.

Trees connects us to our ancestries

Trees can be seen as a part of the community that provides aesthetic beauty, shade, and a sense of place.  But one of the most notable things about trees is their ubiquitous presence in parks, yards, and gardens. Regardless of how old the person is or their living situation, there are certain parts of everyone’s life that include trees. They are a common sight for all of us.

Thus, trees are often called the “soul of place”. They can provide a sense of place and serve as an anchor for the local identity.  By planting them in parks or on streets where people can easily see them, it gives people a sense of belonging to the local community. Another way is through art, music, and other creative means which help people feel connected with their environment.

Trees improve community cohesions

Trees are an important part of our community cohesion. It improves the strength of social bonds among neighbors. They provide shade, air purification, clean water for wildlife and humans, they help reduce noise pollution by lowering sound levels in urban environments.

Furthermore, it promotes sustainability in communities and cities, thus encouraging people to strengthen their community ties.

Maintaining these natural resources is important for our overall well-being and brings down our stress levels, decreasing the chances of aggression and violence, which leads to lower the community’s crime rate.

Trees encourages people to go outside

Trees can be used to remind people of their natural habitat and what it means to be alive. Trees can also help people who struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Most people who feel stressed, anxious, or depressed spend more time in nature to find solace in the sounds and smells of a natural landscape. Nature provides a sense of calm and peace that is not available in urban environments such as cities or towns.

Furthermore, nature has been linked to increased physical activity due to the new scenery that is often encountered in a forest or fields. 

Trees reduce heat-related illness

Trees lower the chances of heat-related illness by providing shade and more windbreaks. They provide relief from the heat by reducing the amount of sunlight, as well as the temperature around them.

The human body is not designed to be exposed to prolonged periods of extreme heat and humidity. In fact, it can lead to a number of adverse health effects such as dehydration, hyperthermia, exhaustion, and heat stroke.

But trees can help minimize these effects by reducing the urban heat island effect. Trees provide shade for buildings and their surroundings as well as offer a cooling effect through the release of water vapor (perspiration). This way, they contribute to clean air quality and make streets more comfortable for pedestrians.

Trees are a critical component of the environment and they provide many benefits to human beings. That is why it is important to plant trees and do our bit for nature!Get to know more about trees and how it provides social benefits in our community at Canopy Consulting.

Trees Economic Benefits to Society

Trees are not just important for appearance and environmental purposes. Besides the well-known benefits of trees such as cleaning the air and providing shade, they also provide economic benefits to society.

Trees increase property values

Trees not only provide aesthetic value to homes, but they can also increase the property value. A study by Washington State University found that the presence of trees on a property increased the price of a house by about $5,000.

This is because trees are proven to have economic benefits for communities. They reduce air pollution and clean water runoff, which improves quality of life for people living in proximity to them. Additionally, they provide shelter for wildlife and help with stormwater control. People are also more attracted to live in green, leafy suburbs which is why property prices are often higher in these areas. 

Trees reduce energy costs

Trees reduce energy consumption by providing shade and cooling the environment which lowers housing and office temperatures. The biggest benefit trees provide is the reduction of energy cost. The branches of trees block the sunlight from hitting our homes and this reduces our need for air conditioning. This can save a home up to $100 a month in energy costs!

They may also work as a buffer against storms that can cause power outages. Trees mitigate flooding by absorbing rainwater that would otherwise fall on impermeable surfaces such as rooftops or sidewalks. By doing this, they can reduce the costs of extreme weather events to the community.

 A tree is also one of the most cost-effective, energy efficient and sustainable choices for home heating. The average U.S. household spends $1,200 each winter on heating costs and a tree can provide at least 75% of that heat for free!

Trees prolong infrastructures

Trees provide economic benefits to communities and society as a whole. They help cities by acting as a natural infrastructure for the urban space, absorbing air pollution and providing shade.

Trees also help prolong infrastructure such as road surfaces; they reduce the need for road resurfacing because they absorb excess heat from the sun during summer and release heat in winter which significantly prolongs the life of these built environments.

Trees provide job opportunities

Trees can provide many opportunities for employment, such as logging, arboriculture, firefighting, and forestry. Tree care services like tree trimming and planting trees for new development projects are also in demand. Not only do trees provide jobs for these professions, but they also lead to tree-related business opportunities like consulting or insurance.

Furthermore, the need for arborists is constant because trees are always growing or getting damaged in some way. A tree should be inspected by a professional at least every few years, sometimes annually, to make sure it is healthy and structurally sound. There are also opportunities in forestry, forestry management, and wood science engineering. And last but not least is urban forestry which has seen a growth in recent years partly due to the increase in green spaces for people to enjoy.

Trees lower health costs

Trees lower health costs by reducing pollutants, improving air quality, generating cleaner water, and providing shade. Trees are also a source of beauty that can improve mental health.

Parks are correlated with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Research has shown that people who live near green spaces have lower rates of depression and anxiety.

Patients in hospital rooms with trees recover twice as fast and spend 3.5 fewer days in the hospital. Trees also reduce medical costs by absorbing particulates from the air, reducing asthma rates, lowering blood pressure, and preventing adverse effects of pollution such as respiratory problems.

Trees boost businesses

Trees are not just good for the environment; they are also good for business. Not only are they an aesthetic addition to any space, they also provide various benefits to communities and contribute to a strong economy. Trees are proven to increase productivity, creativity, better air quality and energy efficiency.

Besides that, trees increase property values, which leads to higher tax revenues. They can also boost tourism by creating healthier environments where people want to spend their time.

This is why many businesses are planting trees on their premises or in local parks so they can reap the benefits of healthy employees and happy customers.

Trees provide a number of economic and ecological benefits. We can help to keep trees healthy by providing proper care and maintenance, as well as conducting tree removal when needed.Need help with your trees? Contact Canopy Consulting for a tree consultation at 0432-633-402 or visit www.canopyconsulting.com.au.

Trees as Assets: Holistic Treescape Management

Trees form the foundation of our environment, provide oxygen and shelter to us, and play a major role in sequestering carbon and preventing soil erosion. However, it is often forgotten that like all living things, trees have a finite lifespan. This is frequently overlooked due to the lifespan disparity of trees when compared to humans and the very long life spans of some of Australia's trees within our remnant forest ecologies. For example, Tasmania processes trees of Lagarostrobos franklinii (Huon Pine) that (with the assistance of an increment borer) are known to be in excess of 2500 years old.

Outside these complex forests or grass plain ecosystems, tree lifespans are often dramatically reduced. This is particularly the case in urban environments where competition from the built environment, increased activity and reductions in open space may cause a decline in tree health, vitality and resistance to disease. These factors together with both the adverse impacts of climate change (prolonged dry periods and increased temperature extremes) and the structural failures and resultant wounds that can flow from the increased unpredictability and intensity of storms, all lead to sharper declines in the life spans of trees of all species, ages and sizes.

Trees are an important asset for every business, property or site. They provide a range of financial benefits such as increased property values, enhanced customer satisfaction, improved air quality, and lower utility bills. Trees also provide shade, clean air and water, absorb carbon dioxide and provide habitat for wildlife. Trees are also a useful tool in city management as they help reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide. Increasingly, trees are being viewed more and more as a critical asset to combat climate change. 

For all these reasons maintaining a healthy, diverse and sustained tree population over the long-term is a vital planning component for local government, land-owners and managers to ensure facilities maintain their ecological, community, monetary and heritage values. 

Legal Perspective

In New South Wales and most of Australia, landowners and managers have a duty of care to ensure the risk to site patrons and visitors is acceptable. Section 5B(1) of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) indicates that landowners and managers have a duty of care to take precautions against a risk of harm that is foreseeable and not insignificant. This provision, as well as the common law duty to protect one’s neighbour, results in urban trees being inspected and reported on by arborists. These arborists are completing risk assessment methods to prevent foreseeable personal injury and property damage. 

Historically, many organisations struggled to effectively manage them on a day-to-day basis. In the past, the preferred way to manage trees was to cut them down to eliminate the risk. This process has been proved to be inefficient and harmful for the treescape.

The introduction of a more holistic approach to treescape management includes not only the removal or pruning of existing trees, but a move towards considered management of new, successional plantings to ensure the canopy cover is at least maintained; but in many cases, improved. 

The New(er) School

A more science-based, comprehensive approach to managing tree canopy in and around cities was needed. Not coincidentally, the term “urban forestry” was coined in 1965, at the University of Toronto.

Urban forestry can be described as the establishment, care and management of trees in and around urban communities to maximise the physiological, sociological, economic and aesthetic benefits that trees provide in society. 

It is a methodology for creating, managing, and caring for trees in urban communities. It involves understanding the importance of trees, their life cycles, ideal growing conditions and many other growth factors. It also involves creating public spaces to foster interactions among people and nature.

The urban forest concept focuses on the management of assemblages of trees, rather than in isolation, employing both broad arboricultural practices as well as forestry (silvicultural) treatments. To be clear, urban forestry is not the planting of trees for timber nor is it converting areas of open space into reforested areas.

The ideology aims to shape perceptions, so trees and urban vegetation are understood and managed as assets and therefore part of critical infrastructure. However, it is difficult to manage them without proper strategy and knowledge.

Hiring an Arboricultural Consultant is an important step for any council, commercial property owners or managers who want healthier trees, greener spaces and sites that can withstand climate change and other factors. 

An Arborist completing a Tree Management Plan for a site will identify all potential threats, including pests, diseases, weather, and human activity. They will assess the broader landscape, and the trees' external and internal factors in a holistic approach to create an assessment report and provide recommendations on how to reduce the threats, including disease prevention practices. 

How to prevent tree casualties and improve your treescape?

Canopy Consulting are centred on providing best practice advice and bespoke tree solutions. We provide tree management plans to ensure your green spaces stay green or become greener all the while managing the potential risk. 

We use specialised, GIS-based tree assessment and management software called Treeplotter. This allows us to quickly and effectively assess trees and provide a risk assessment. Owing to the duty of care, knowing the risk of the trees and allocating resources and budgets to higher risk tree assets can be seen as a practical solution to ensure WHS compliance for site users and patrons. We can provide graphs of the current tree inventory and suggested planting locations. New planting locations and numerous other features can be identified. Best of all, we can provide our clients with a login to visualise their tree population and ongoing inspections and completion of recommended works actions that may arise from our site assessment.

Tree Risk Assessments: A Guide to Protecting Trees & Preventing Damage

In the intersection of city life and nature, trees serve as more than just scenery. They're essential, providing benefits like shade, beauty, and a balance in the ecosystem. But like anything else that's alive, trees can face diseases, decay, and the wear and tear of the environment. That's where tree risk assessments step in. This isn't just about looking at trees; it's about understanding what's going on with them and what might happen down the line. Here's a no-nonsense guide to what tree risk assessments are all about, why they matter, and how they work.

What Are Tree Risk Assessments?

Tree risk assessments are systematic evaluations carried out by professional arborists to identify potential hazards related to trees, assess their risk of failure, and recommend suitable measures to mitigate these risks.

The Importance of Tree Risk Assessments

The Process of Tree Risk Assessments

1. Data Collection

Utilising available tools, arborists gather essential information on the tree's species, age, health, and environmental factors.

2. Site Inspection

A hands-on inspection by trained arborists identifies visible signs of potential issues such as structural weaknesses or diseases.

3. Risk Analysis

This stage involves a thorough evaluation of the collected data to gauge the likelihood and potential impact of tree failure, considering factors like tree condition and proximity to targets.

4. Risk Mitigation

Based on the analysis, recommendations are made to mitigate risks, from pruning to installing support structures, with the goal of preserving the tree without compromising safety.

5. Reporting

A comprehensive report is prepared, outlining the findings and recommendations, serving as a vital document for stakeholders.

Finding the Right Partner for Tree Risk Assessments

Choosing the right professional for tree risk assessments is crucial. Look for expertise, experience, and a commitment to both safety and conservation.

Conclusion

Tree risk assessments are an essential part of modern tree management, blending science, technology, and practical wisdom. Whether you're a property owner, government department, or commercial entity, understanding and implementing proper tree risk assessments ensures the safety of both people and trees.

Interested in professional tree risk assessments? Get in touch with our team for expert services tailored to your needs.

Tree Risk and Why it's Important to Manage

For all the benefits trees provide, they can also inherently present a level of risk to people and surrounding structures. However, the level of risk and what is considered acceptable are perhaps the most important factors. 

Everything in life that we do comes with an inherent level of risk, from brushing your teeth to base jumping and driving your car. Rarely do we consider the risks of driving but according to the National Safety Council, the chances of dying from a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103. The risk of dying from a tree is somewhere in the realm of 1 in 10 000 000. The benefits of driving a car are varied and many but the risk is significant. Equally, the benefits of trees are varied and many but the risk they pose is much less. Unfortunately, there is an irrational fear of trees because they are poorly understood which has in the past resulted in a lot being cut down or pruned for no reason.

Why it’s necessary

In New South Wales and most of Australia, landowners and managers have a duty of care to ensure the risk to site patrons and visitors is acceptable. Section 5B(1) of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) indicates that landowners and managers have a duty of care to take precautions against a risk of harm that is foreseeable and not insignificant. This provision, as well as the common law duty to protect one’s neighbour, results in urban trees being inspected and reported on by arborists. These arborists are completing risk assessment methods to prevent foreseeable personal injury and property damage. 

Identifying Tree Risks

It is the duty of the tree owner to guarantee the safety of those who enter their site or property. By being able to understand and address the possible risks associated with trees, as a tree owner, you can, at a minimum, understand the risk is low and nothing needs to be done. But if necessary; make your property safer and ensure the longevity of the treescape.

Here is a list of things Canopy Consulting’s arborists look for when completing a tree inspection and risk assessment. These are also things the general public can look out for and call an arborist if they have concerns.

Arborist Recommendations

Once the potential tree risks are identified and assessed by the arborist. They then provide a report on the tree’s current condition, factors that may increase or decrease the likelihood of failure (and therefore risk) and give recommendations.

A skilled and experienced arborist will likely suggest the following:

If the tree’s branches pose a risk to properties, structures, and people that surround it, it is best to have it pruned. Take note that pruning work is best done by a minimum AQF Level 3 arborist as unskilled pruning may weaken the tree.

Weak branches and stems that may fall and cause damage may need physical support by cabling and bracing it. But it does not guarantee a failure-free tree if not regularly checked by an arborist or experienced bracing professional.

Adult trees, as dictated by its structure and the season, need to have regular care in the form of water and nutrients. 

As much as possible, arborists make it a priority to protect and preserve the trees. In situations wherein the target at risk are moveable objects, such as tables, vehicles, and garden landscapes, removing or transferring the target would be the best option. 

In cases when none of the previous options are possible or feasible, removing the tree may be the best option. 

Managing Tree Hazards

Despite their ability to live for a long time and generally being very strong and, in ideal situations, suited to their environment, trees can be easily damaged and their resistance to natural and man-made hazards is very low. 

Severe weather and construction are two major factors that can cause a lasting and significant impact. As with most things, prevention is better than cure which is why it’s important to consider trees and their growing environment when selecting for planting and also in the case of construction projects.

Tree Damage during Extreme Weather

Excessive rain can cause the soil to soften and loose its cohesive properties. Together with the strong winds that usually accompany heavy rain during storms, trees can be completely uprooted. Lightning strikes can also dry up the water inside the trees, resulting in the tree’s wood to split and bark exploding.

In order to reduce the damage caused by weather, here are steps listed by the International Society of Arboriculture that tree owners can follow.

Before the storm, tree owners should:

  1. Train the trees to improve their form - this is why formative pruning is important when trees are young
  2. Identify the parts of the tree that may have defects
  3. Seek an arborist’s help to recommend ways to manage the tree
  4. Remove dead or defective branches
  5. Correct inappropriate practices done in the past such as topping
  6. Install lightning protection systems especially if trees are tall and on hill tops

After the storm, tree owners should:

  1. Take Safety Precautions. Call the emergency services to clear the area for any hazard
  2. Assess the damage by having an arborist inspect the tree
  3. Not consider doing it yourself

Tree Damage During Construction

Homes, roads, pavements, and commercial buildings are often built near existing trees.

Sadly, the process that it takes to complete the construction can cause serious damage to the tree if not considered during the development process. Proper planning and the presence of a project arborist onsite is needed to ensure the safety of the tree.

Here are the steps that the arborist and the construction and planning team needs to follow:

  1. Planning
  2. Inspection and Assessment
  3. Installing physical barriers to restrict access
  4. Strict Supervision if work is required in exclusion zones
  5. Immediate treatment to damaged trees
  6. Monitoring for Decline and Risk

PALM TREE: THE VERSATILE TROPICAL PLANT

Palm trees are one of the most iconic symbols of tropical paradise. However, how much do you really know about these majestic trees? Fortunately, you have stumbled upon the right place! In this article, we provided 15 interesting facts about palm trees. Continue reading to learn more about these fascinating plants.

15 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT PALM TREES

  1. Palm trees are not trees: They are big, woody herbs, not trees, according to the botanical definition. They are closely related to bamboo, grasses, bananas, and sedges.
  2. Long life span: Palm trees can live around 40 to 100 years, depending on their type.
  3. Slow producers: A single healthy date palm tree can produce up to 90 kg of dates a year. Date palms bear fruit in 4 to 5 years and achieve full bearing in 10 to 15 years, yielding 40 to 90 Kg per year.
  4. Natural lightning rods: Because of their height, palms operate as natural lightning conductors during storms, which help prevent fatalities due to lightning - unless you're standing underneath!
  5. The smallest palm tree in the world: Dypsis Minuta is the only palm tree species with a maximum height of 50 cm.
  6. Not all palm fruits are edible: Unlike coconuts and dates, other palm fruits are harmful to people and animals, such as sago.
  7. Nightly oxygen: The Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) produces oxygen at night, making it an ideal indoor plant.
  8. Palm trees have multiple growth patterns: Palms may develop and spread in several ways, such as trees, shrubs, and climbers. Today, there are over 2,600 palm species.
  9. Palms have two leaf shapes: Palm tree leaves come in two major types, palmate (fan-shaped) and pinnate (feather-shaped). The former has leaves that extend out like human fingers, while the latter has leaves that shoot out along each side of a central axis and resemble untamed tufts of hair.
  10. The tallest palm tree can grow up to 60 metres: Quindio Wax Palm is a magnificent palm tree that grows exceedingly tall. It is indigenous to the tropical forests of the Andes of Columbia and Northern Peru.
  11. The Lodoicea maldivica palm tree waters and fertilises itself: Also known as sea coconut, Coco de Mer, and double coconut, Lodoicea palm trees are somewhat independent plants. Its enormous leaves collect water (and nutrients on the way down) and turn it into a natural fertiliser mix that goes down to the roots, which feeds the plant.
  12. You can make wine from palm trees: Palm wine, also known as toddy, is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of several palm tree species prevalent in Southeast Asian nations. As you can tell, palms are truly multi-purposed plants!
  13. Some palm trees can grow in cold places: Cold hardy palms can endure cold temperatures up to -18 °C. So don't think you can't have palm trees because you don't live in a tropical place. Remember that you can grow cold hardy palms!
  14. Largest seed in the world: Lodoicea maldivica palm trees are famous for producing the world's biggest and heaviest seeds weighing 18 to 25 kg.
  15. Trimming palm trees can be fatal: When trimming palm tree fronds from the bottom rather than the top, loose fronds might accumulate inside the tree opposed to falling on the ground. It can result in an avalanche effect, possibly trapping and smothering a person underneath. Hence the importance of skilled and knowledgeable Arborists.

PALM TREE USES AND IMPORTANCE

Now that we have pondered on the facts about palm trees, let us head over to their uses and importance. Palms are very versatile in terms of numerous utilisations. From the leaves to the roots, palms are very functional! One of the most popular uses for palm trees is being an ornamental plant. Palms add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any landscape and create a tropical oasis in your backyard. If you live in a climate that doesn't support tropical plants, don't worry - there are many varieties of palm trees that are well-suited for colder climates.

Palm trees can also provide much-needed shade on hot summer days. If you have a deck or patio, consider planting a few palms to create a shady retreat where you can enjoy the outdoors without the exposure to harsh sun rays. In addition to their ornamental and functional value, palm trees also play a vital role in the environment. Many palm trees are keystone species, which means that they provide habitat and shelter for multitudes of other plant and animal life. By planting palms, you can help create a healthy ecosystem that will support a diverse range of wildlife. Australia has a range of great palm species! 

HOW TO CARE FOR PALM TREES

First and foremost, palm trees need a lot of sunlight to thrive. If your tree is not getting enough sun, it will look yellow, and the leaves will begin to drop off. To avoid this, place your palm tree in a spot where it will get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Secondly, palm trees need to be watered regularly. They are native to tropical climates, and as such, they like their soil to be moist but not soggy. To achieve the perfect balance, we recommend watering your palm tree once a week and allowing the top few inches of soil to dry, between watering sessions.

Finally, your palm tree will also need some occasional TLC through fertilisation. Nourish your palm tree with fertiliser with nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium components with a 3:1:3 ratio. It will help promote new growth and keep your tree looking its best.

By following these simple tips, you can be sure that your palm tree will stay healthy and happy for years to come!

THE TAKEAWAY

Whether you're looking for a beautiful ornamental plant or a hardy tree that will provide shade and shelter, palm trees are an excellent choice. So next time you're at your local nursery, be sure to pick up a few palm trees - you won't be disappointed!

LET CANOPY CONSULTING TAKE CARE OF YOUR TREE NEEDS

At Canopy Consulting, we understand how important trees are to you and your property. That's why we offer a variety of services to help you maintain the health and beauty of your trees. We provide Arborist reports, tree management solutions, resistance drilling and more. We have the knowledge and experience to handle any tree problem you may have. Let us take care of your tree needs so you can relax and enjoy your time outdoors. Feel free to contact us today!

Managing tree decay and risk through Resistance Drilling

Both trees and palms are susceptible to internal decay which can lead to an increased risk of failure. This may occur due to a disease, fungal rot or even wildlife which results in damage or loss of woody tissue which can reduce the strength of a tree's cross section. Just because a tree has decay doesn’t necessarily mean that it will fail, the mode of failure is often a product of a number of factors. It is therefore crucial to have trees assessed by experienced and qualified arborists to ensure the risk to human life, infrastructure and the surrounding landscape is acceptable.

There are many ways that an arborist can assess a tree. One common practice is to complete a tree survey or conduct a risk assessment on each individual tree to identify potential risks or diagnose any existing issues or diseases that may result in an increased likelihood of failure. The International Society of Arboriculture classes this as a ‘Level 2: Basic’ risk assessment.

However, in some instances, visual assessments have limitations. Technical instruments are therefore used to detect, quantify and map internal decay. A common practice to detect decay and cavities in trees and timber is through Resistance Drilling. This is known as ‘Level 3: Advanced Assessment.’

Resistance Drilling Origins

Since its development in the 1980s, thin needle resistance recording has been the most standard practice for gathering data globally on urban trees and wood to assess hazard and stability levels.

Originally, resistance drilling was developed to measure latewood  density in oak tree rings to reconstruct previous climates. With this, experts observed that this method was able to detect defects in timber and trees.  

Since it’s development, researchers have conducted various experiments on spring-driven recording mechanisms to prove their effectiveness. However, many did not meet the requirements needed for it to be considered a reliable measurement tool.

In the early 1990s, resistance drilling devices were modified and were incorporated with electronic regulation and recording when it was officially labeled as a Resistograph® - an electronic resistance drilling device that provides a linear scaled profile, revealing the density of wood and its changes accurately. For clarity, Resistograph® is now a trademarked name for a brand of resistance drill made by Rinntech. At Canopy Consulting, we use an IML-RESI PowerDrill ® PD-400 as we believe it has increased technological advantages.

Many specialised arborists and wood inspectors utilise this approach to uncover hidden flaws or cracks or quantify visible decay. It is important to remember that experience by the assessor is of the utmost importance as the information provided needs to be given context in relation to the tree and its environment. 

How Resistance Drilling  Works

The IML-RESI PowerDrill ® PD-400 is an electronic resistance drill which drives a small diameter (3mm) spade bit to a maximum depth of 400mm into a tree. As the bit penetrates the drill’s resistance is simultaneously plotted as a graphic profile which is used to determine the internal strength of the wood.  

Decay in trees is a natural biological process in trees and commonly occurs without causing structural weakness. However, depending on the volume and position of decay, this can lead to an increased likelihood of failure and potential risk to persons and property. 

The Ri/R, or One-third rule, (Mattheck, et al., 2015) has been applied as a general threshold evaluation to assess the structural integrity of a stem cross-section at the nominated test height(s). The rule suggests that as soon as the outer intact shell wall (Ri) of a hollow or decayed tree stem is less than one-third of the local radius (R), the stem is significantly more predisposed to failure under wind loads. 

The rule has historically been applied as a clear demarcation of when a tree may become ‘unsafe’ (Rinn, 2018). The rule has also been contested as inaccurate (Gruber, 2008) though has been confirmed by a number of other studies to show a correlation between a 30% residual shell wall and increased probability of failure (Dahle, et al., 2017). (Mattheck, et al., 2015) conclude that the one-third rule should ‘never be applied dogmatically but always in light of prevailing conditions. (Dahle, et al., 2017) suggest the judicious application of these values to trees in urban areas.

Material properties of wood, including elasticity and density, vary by species and growing conditions, and though many studies reference these wood properties, most of the work comes from samples taken from forest or plantation trees, and defect free sections of lumber (Dahle, et al., 2017). Correspondingly, (Rinn, 2018) illustrates the limitations of the Ri/R rule in the context of the ‘urban tree’ which is typically non-circular in cross section with internal decay or defects not always located concentrically. 

Limitations of Resistance Drilling

Despite its usefulness, there are still questions about its accuracy. In an article published by Western Arborist by Frank Rinn, he explained that most inaccurate evaluations of trees and timber came from misreading of the measured profiles. The measured values must have a clear relationship to the actual (physical) characteristics of the material examined.

Density or strength are well defined material qualities that may be utilized to characterize key "wood conditions" features. The features are quite obvious in the instance of detection of rot in wood: Wood breakdown due to degradation of the fungus and is often indicated by material weight loss or density change. 

Furthermore, in order to retrieve the correct data, it is highly important to have the profile interpreted immediately on the spot for several reasons. This is to avoid additional drilling in cases wherein surrounding parameters influence the profile or data retrieved.  

Therefore, by analysing data from Resistance drill testing and in combination with a thorough site and tree assessment; and the application of arboricultural knowledge including species characteristics, an educated assessment of the likelihood of failure, and therefore risk, can be formulated.

If you are concerned about possible decay in your trees, reach us at Canopy Consulting through 0432-633-402 or visit www.canopyconsulting.com.au.

References

Dahle, G. A., James, K. R., Kane, B., Grabosky, J. C., & Detter, A. (2017). A Review of Factors That Affect the Static Load-Bearing Capacity of Urban Trees. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, 43(3), 89-106.

Gruber, F. (2008). Untenable failure criteria for trees: I. The residual wall thickness rule. Arboricultural Journal(31), 5-18.

International Society of Arboriculture. (2017). Tree Risk Assessment Manual (Second Edition ed.). Champaign, Illinois: International Society of Arboriculture.

Mattheck, C., Bethge, K., & Weber, K. (2015). The Body Language of Trees - Encyclopedia of Visual Tree Assessment (1st Edition ed.). Karlsruhe, Germany: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - Campus North.

Rinn, F. (2018). The Visual Tree Assessment One-Third Rule: Frequently Applied, but Mostly Irrelevant. Georgia: Society of Municipal Arborists.