Today at Tree Fellas we’re bringing you some important advice – always check before you chop! Whether you’re thinking about entire tree removal or just tree pruning and trimming, Auckland has some strict regulations which must be adhered to. These regulations may seem like a pain but they’re extremely important for protecting our environment.

There are many reasons why a tree may be protected by council laws. The tree could have historical significance or cultural value which warrants its protection. Other trees are critical for preserving the ecosystem around them. Pohutukawa trees, for example, are often protected as they help prevent the erosion of sand dunes and coastal areas. All of these trees are rightly treasured for the valuable ways in which they contribute to our environment, community and heritage.

Notable or significant trees will generally be protected under local District Plans. Different areas of Auckland are covered by these lists, which contain the names and reference numbers of protected trees. In addition to District Plans there are some general tree protection rules contained within the Resource Management Act (RMA). A tree may also be protected as part of a condition on a resource consent, or protected by a covenant or consent notice on a title.

The government amended the RMA in 2011, loosening some regulations and leaving fewer trees protected than before. Since then, general tree protection rules have been revised again for the North Shore, Rodney, and part of the old Auckland City Council area. It’s important to keep yourself up to date with any changes to regulations in your own area, or anywhere you are considering buying land.

If your tree isn’t protected by any of the above regulations you won’t need special permission to cut, prune or remove it. However, if it’s subject to general tree protection there will be a limit on how much it can be trimmed (no more than 20 per cent of one year’s live growth). The trimming must also leave the tree’s health and natural form in tact. Any pruning, trimming or removal of protected trees which breach guidelines may incur serious fines.

So how do you find out if your tree is protected? You can read up on the Auckland Council’s regulations and amendments, or click here for an overview and map of protected areas, but you may find the rules confusing when it comes to your own home or specific situation. At Tree Fellas we’re happy to help. We’re experts in tree removal and tree pruning in Auckland, and we can come to examine your property and give you a personal tree assessment. This assessment will tell you whether you need resource consent to trim or remove your tree, and we’ll help you to go about getting that consent.

It’s better to be safe than sorry – no one wants to be landed with an unexpected and hefty fine just for pruning a tree. So give us a call and we’ll check before you chop! The environment and your wallet will thank you.