Seth Thompson, NZ Arb President, says the organisation encourages Councils to proactively ensure the protection of trees in an urban environment.
"Although areas of tree protection through district plans can apply, generally Central Government has eroded Councils’ ability to protect trees within urban environments, which is putting considerable pressure on the urban tree canopy," says Thompson.
“Arboriculture and industry regulations can be complex – so we recommend any property owner wishing to fell trees or modify bush engage their local council planners beforehand so they can ascertain whether any restrictions apply, and get advice from a reputable arborist, such as a member of NZ Arb.”
The organisation does not have the full details of the current highly publicised Kauri case in Titirangi, however is critical of the recent ringbarking of the tree in question.
“Ringbarking trees is not an appropriate action in the management of urban trees,” says Thompson. “Ringbarking severs the vascular tissues that translocate nutrients and water between the roots and leaves.
“The rate of decline to the tree’s health from such actions is dictated by several factors including species of tree, health of the tree at the time, time of year and depth of the cut. In some cases, reversing a ringbarking event can be undertaken, although time is a critical factor to ensure best results. Another consideration for this area is taking precautions against the spread of Kauri Dieback Disease”
Thompson adds: “Ringbarking can also have safety issues if unchecked as dead and unhealthy trees have a bigger risk from failure. Undertaking ringbarking while somebody is in a tree is plainly stupid and no arborist in their right mind would do this.
“Furthermore, it is imperative to consider the work safe aspect and be mindful that employing ‘cowboys’ to undertake unsafe practices could result in fines from Worksafe.’
As the industry’s professional body, NZ Arb members are required to adhere to a clear code of conduct and appropriate professional standards, and would be expected to be familiar with any local tree felling restrictions.
Property owners can contact NZ Arb via www.nzarb.org.nz to be informed which contractors in their local area are Association members. The organisation also runs an ‘Approved Contractor Scheme’ – these contractors have undergone a rigorous vetting process and need to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards to retain their status.
“By engaging one of our members or an Approved Contractor, property owners can expect to receive accurate advice on both the local regulations and appropriate tree care,” says Thompson.