No not the sort of trouble you hear most people complaining about, roots in the pipes or dropping leaves in the gutters; it’s an expensive tree removal sort of trouble that has reared its head this week.
Now, I am a self confessed tree hugger. I love trees surrounding my house, they create a temperature moderating effect through shade and wind breaks, plus green is such a lovely cooling colour. To my eyes, a house looks undressed without some sort of greenery to break up the stark, squared off lines of the building. Because of this I have worked with our architect to ensure that a number of existing native trees have been retained on the site and had the house designed to showcase some of these. But none of these are the culprit. The tree in question isn’t even on our land; it’s on the nature strip on the front of the newly created block of land. Unfortunately it is situated right in the middle of where the new driveway will run. When you have a 10m frontage to a block of land a large poinciana tree is bound to create a headache sooner or later.
We originally started the tree removal request back before Christmas and it has taken until now to get a resolution. Now because the tree is ‘owned’ by the Council, and despite the facts that:
- it would have been planted by a previous owner of the property approximately 10 – 20 years ago, against Council policy,
- the rest of the street trees are Xanthostemons, a native tree,
- this tree will always require a high degree of maintenance and is a trip hazard with its sprawling roots and
- it will grow to a massive size eventually and may pose a risk from falling limbs,
it was deemed to be a valuable street tree and initially the Council turned down our request to remove it. I managed to get one of the Council arborists to revisit my case and when he visited this week I took him through the plans for the new house, putting my case forward. Thankfully he was a reasonable chap, although he did suggest I could remove one of the existing native trees on the block and reposition the driveway, I politely pointed out that not only was my tree a native, but moving the driveway would necessitate re-designing and re-drafting the whole front of the house. So thankfully he agreed to approve the removal of the tree.
Now for the really painful part. If we were allowed to remove the tree ourselves it would probably take handy hubby and I a couple of hours to cut down, load onto the trailer and take to the tip. Alternatively I could get a crew in and for a couple of hundred dollars they would cut it down and turn it into a nice pile of wood chips for me. Unfortunately that is not an option. It’s the Council’s tree and they are the only ones who can remove it, however we do have to pay for this privilege. Additionally because I am removing a tree I have to replace the equivalent in canopy area, this equals two normal trees; of course it would have to be a poincianna, one of the widest spreading trees out there! Adding salt to the wound, I will be charged $260/replacement tree. Now I purchased some xanthostemons and planted them out at our other house, they cost me $8/pot for a fair sized plant. I am told the $260 covers a years worth of care and maintenance on the tree, I’ll be interested to see how often the trees are visited over the next year.
So I have learned a good lesson. Don’t buy houses a large poinciana on the nature strip or at least allow around $1000/tree to remove.
I’m going out to hug my Stenocarpus sinuatus now, it always makes me feel better.