The terms ‘lopping’ and ‘pruning’ are often used interchangeably by most people to refer to the act of cutting off bits and parts of trees. However, these two words actually have very different meanings when it comes to tree maintenance. It is, therefore, to understand what each term means if you are planning to hire an arborist or landscaper to take care of the trees on your property.
Usually, a professional arborist will explain the services they intend to offer before beginning the work. Nevertheless, making an assumption that this will happen every time often leads to disappointment. You should ensure that you understand what you are asking to be done before you seek professional assistance.
What is Tree Lopping?
Lopping refers to the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs, or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. The most often cited reason for lopping trees is to reduce its size.
Property owners sometimes feel that a tree has grown too big for their properties, and may and that poses a safety threat in case it falls. However, lopping is actually an ineffective way of maintaining trees and could prove costly in the long run.
Most professional arborists discourage lopping as a tree maintenance practice due to the following reasons:
- Trees that have been lopped are actually a serious safety hazard. The epicormic shoots which emerge from the stubs of lopped trees are normally loosely attached. They are therefore prone to breaking off and may cause serious injury to people and damage to property.
- Lopping often removes between 50 to 100 percent of a tree’s foliage. Since leaves are the food factories of trees, removing such a substantial amount of foliage from a tree can deprive it of nutrition thereby causing starvation.
- Trees that have had their canopies lopped off are also adversely affected by harsh sunshine because they are exposed. With no foliage to protect its bark from the sun, a lopped tree will likely dry up and die eventually.
- The act of lopping also makes a tree very vulnerable to diseases and pests. A stressed and unhealthy tree lacks sufficient chemical energy to protect itself from diseases, insects and pests.
Due to these adverse effects of lopping on trees, the practice is illegal in Sydney. This means that if you decide to lop the trees on your property and any damage occurs due to branch failure, you can be charged with negligence in a court of law. It is therefore wise to consult with the professional arbours who can advise you on the best solutions with the local council approval.
Why is Pruning is Preferred over Lopping?
Whereas lopping involves the removal of massive branches from trees, pruning usually entails selectively removing small healthy branches from trees so that new branches can grow in their place.
The process of pruning also gets rid of old, withered and broken branches, which also need to be removed. These types of branches are probably only denying the tree essential nutrients which it needs to grow big and healthy.
Pruning is highly recommended as a tree maintenance practice due to the following benefits:
- It allows the tree to grow healthy and strong. Most pruned branches tend to grow new shoots with more foliage which provide the tree with essential nutrients.
- The practice of pruning removes excess weight from the tree by removing branches which are old or broken and serve no purpose.
- It helps control diseases since the affected parts of the tree are pruned off to prevent spreading to other parts.
- It improves the overall appearance of the tree by eliminating weak branches.
- Pruning also promotes sun exposure and air circulation which ultimately helps the tree to grow healthy.
Standard procedure and safety practices during pruning are stipulated by law. You, therefore, need to enlist the services of a qualified professional arbour since they understand all the legal processes involved in tree maintenance. You could potentially save yourself a lot of trouble just by having expert advice on tree pruning.
One final thing you need to keep in mind is that waste management is also a vital part of tree maintenance. You will likely end up with lots of leaves and dead branches from pruning the trees on your property.
If you are wondering how to maintain the trees around your property, then look no further than NS Landscapes. We are a team of professionals, with years of experience, working and maintaining on various landscape projects.
For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0412 614 133.
Before you prune or remove a tree from your residential or business property, you must apply for permission from your local council. Most councils have different policies to the trimming or removal of trees. Councils such as Willoughby, Ku Ring Gai, Manly, Lane Cove and North Sydney allow you to prune without prior permission, 10% of cases may be deemed otherwise, such as if a tree is under a conservation area or heritage listed. Additionally, a few local councils will need permission as some trees are exempt from councils.
Any tree, whether native or an exotic species, is covered under the controls, if it is listed under the Register of Significant Trees, or has:
- a height of 5m or more
- a canopy spread of over 5m
- a trunk diameter of more than 300mm, at ground level.
Depending on the tree species, the condition of the tree or the type of pruning required. There are serious penalties for breaching the jurisdiction. Fines apply for any breach of jurisdiction concerning the pruning or removal of certain trees.
You also need to apply to the Council’s before you prune the overhanging branches of a neighbour’s tree – if it meets the size requirements above. Permission from your neighbour is not required, although it is recommended you let them know as a courtesy that you want to prune the tree.
However, if your tree is dead or immediately dangerous you do not need the council’s permission. More importantly, however, you will have to do the following:
- record the tree’s condition and the cause of any risk that the tree may pose
- provide a statement that verifies that the works undertaken will be or where the minimum necessary to manage the risk
- provide a report to the City from a qualified Arborist, prior to works taking place or immediately following the works.
You can find related local council policies in our council links page, additionally, if you’re after more information about pruning or removing a tree from your property, simply call us on 0412 614 133 or contact us through our online enquiry form. One of our staff members will get back to you within 24hours.
NS Landscaping specialises in tree lopping services across Sydney’s North Shore. Our tree lopping service includes trimming unwanted sections of trees and shaping up of trees. We clear branches and limbs, and shorten tree trunks. We provide expert tree services offering excellent care by ensuring that no hazard, from falling branches, faces your property or residence. We also ensure zero rate of foliage at affordable tree services.