General Info

Tips to keep your trees and garden in top condition


In the past the practice of lopping or topping to reduce the overall height of a tree that was becoming inconveniently large was an accepted practice. Unfortunately, though still regularly done by homeowners and some operators, it is no longer viewed as best practice, and can sometimes have the reverse effect, encouraging subsequent regrowth at weakened points of the trunk, resulting in a larger and more dangerous tree. Exactly the opposite of the desired effect! The crown of the tree is extremely important to the overall structure, and trees naturally monitor the ratio of their growth zones to the load bearing capacity of their major branches. Proper pruning by a trained arborist tries to maintain these ratios, reducing the height of the tree in the least stressful way possible.


Australian conditions are often hot and dry, and conserving water is a necessary part of tree and garden maintenance. One of the best ways of protecting soils from evaporative water loss is to mulch, and there are a variety of mulches to do the job. However, it may be necessary to check if the mulch you are using is suitable for the task in hand. Mulches that are “green”, such as freshly chipped wood, contain a lot of fresh plant material. As this material begins to degrade, it may draw nitrogen from the soil to aid micro-organisms in the composting process. This loss of nitrogen may cause damage to some plants. Fresh plant material may also contain chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants, or are excessively acidic or corrosive, eg: turpenol in pine chips. These and other problems are solved by buying cured mulch, or leaving mulch to cure for a couple of months, so that natural degradation of the material will render it more benign.


Are your gutters as clean as the guttering in the picture? We hope so! Clogged gutters are no fun, and gutters suffer from one problem: Out of sight, out of mind! The chances are the time that you think of the gutters is in the middle of a violent autumn storm when water is streaming into your roof cavity and down your inner walls and light fittings! If you are in a bushfire prone area, and your gutters are full of volatile gum leaves, your roof and house are at added risk from airborne cinders, which easily ignite the oil-rich leaf material. Gutters need to be cleaned regularly, and we can help if overhanging trees (especially gums) are contributing to the problem.


Properly situated trees and shrubs, besides adding to the beauty of your home, can help with cooling and heating costs too. Trees of course offer shade from the summer sun. A mature shade tree can cut solar radiation by 90%, but shouldn’t block much-needed light and heat in winter, so they need to be judiciously placed. Shrubs planted in borders around the house can also act as an insulating barrier against winter winds and internal heat loss. If you’re planning a garden makeover, it may be worthwhile consulting an arborist to take best advantage of what plants can offer. The correct type and size of plant, that will grow to an optimum height with a minimum of maintenance, can result in significant energy savings.