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Before You Choose a Tree

Before selecting any tree for your property, consider these questions to help you choose a tree best suited to your property and your needs.

How do I use my property and what size tree can my property reasonably support given this use? 

If you have a larger property with some open space, a large tree may be a great option. If you have a smaller property, a more compact tree may be more suitable. 

Think about how the canopy of a tree will affect your property in terms of shade, leaf fall etc as this will also help in your selection.

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Where on my property is the tree to be planted?

A useful starting point is to draw a sketch plan of your property showing:

  • The orientation (north, south, east and west) of your land.
  • The location of buildings, driveways and paths.
  • The location of services such as electrical wires and underground pipes.

This information will help professionals advise on suitable species while taking into account the following:

  • overshadowing 
  • privacy
  • potential effects on services such as electrical wires, underground pipes, driveways etc. from roots and branches
  • the potential mature size of the tree and the effect on your property and your neighbour's property.

Remember, a neighbour is within his/her rights to request pruning for branches overhanging the common boundary. This may leave you with a less than pleasing shape to your tree if you plant it in an inappropriate position.

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What sort of environment is the tree is to be planted in?

The type of soil in your area and the weather conditions that trees are exposed to will also impact on your options. 

For example:

  • If your property has clay soil and is in a damp area, the choice of species would be quite different to a waterfront location with sandy soils.
  • If your property is regularly exposed to winds, such as those on the waterfront or on ridges, you would require a different species to those in protected areas, such as gullies.

Write down these sorts of details on your plan to assist your adviser.

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What do I want the tree to do?

Think about the following questions:

  • Are you planting a tree to provide shade? If so, do you require shade all year round or only in summer?
  • Are you trying to stabilise a sloping site or ‘dry–up’ a damp area in the yard?
  • Are you seeking a centrepiece or focal point to your landscaping design?
  • Are you keen to attract wildlife to your garden?

By understanding what you want to achieve, an advisor can suggest species that will be most likely to meet your expectations.

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Did You Know?

Ongoing Care

All trees, regardless of species, require maintenance. 

Council strongly advises residents to have a maintenance program for all of their trees and to act upon it. This should involve regular inspections by a qualified Arborist or Horticulturist. 

Many problems need never arise if maintenance programs are instigated and actioned. Some companies may give a discount on work if you group together with your neighbours and it is a good way of protecting your property and reducing any potential risk of damage.


Last updated on 27 June 2015