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Consulting AQF5 Arborists

We provide specialist advice backed by experience and internationally recognised qualifications in arboriculture. We are AQF Level 5 arborists that are actively involved in maintaining up-to-date information on this fast developing industry. We attend seminars, courses, and trade shows to make sure we are current with the latest advances in the industry.

Choose Assurance Trees for Tree Consulting

If you are considering development work to your property, you will most likely require guidance from a professional arborist consulting before submitting your development application. If you invest in the services of a professional company such as Assurance Trees, the arborist report will be completed accurately and in a timely manner, reducing the risk of delays and rejection of your planning application. Read More

The Benefits of Going with a Professional Consulting Arborist

The expertise of a consulting arborist is invaluable and helps to safeguard the health of your trees while promoting safety and sustainability. Arborist consulting services offer a wide array of benefits, making them an essential investment. We’re on hand whether you’re concerned about the trees’ wellbeing, need assistance navigating the regulations around tree removal, or you’re looking for an arboricultural retention report. If you have mature or heritage-value trees on your property, a consulting arboristcan develop plans to protect these valuable assets while accommodating new construction or landscaping needs.

Discover Our Premium Arborist Consulting Services

As AQF Level 5 arborists, we are highly trained professionals who offer premium arborist consulting services. A consulting arborist can assess the health of your trees, identifying any potential issues such as diseases, pests, or structural weaknesses. Early detection and intervention are incredibly important and can save you from issues escalating into costly tree removals and property damage.

Our arborist consulting services at Assurance Trees ensure that you comply with local tree ordinances and regulations. We can help you obtain any necessary permits needed for tree work and navigate the legal aspects of tree management.

Assurance trees can also offer consultation services if you are planning new planting of trees, from the suitability of species for your soil type and location, right down to the planting itself. Indeed, we provide tall tree consulting services to homeowners and commercial/government enterprises alike.

We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful natural places in the world, but with that natural beauty comes responsibility. We need to take care of the trees and vegetation that make our daily life so pleasant. Care comes in the shape of tree consulting with a professional arborist in Newcastle. But what is an arborist? In essence, an arborist is an expert skilled in trees, tree surgery and vegetation control. An arborist may work with private homeowners, landlords, business owners and local authorities to manage trees and vegetation. When you hire an arborist for consultation, you should ensure they are AQF5 qualified. This means the arborist has attained the highest level of technical and theoretical know-how in Australia and therefore is qualified to conduct the work for you. Our team leaders at Assurance Trees have attained this level of certification and all workers are qualified to AQF3, and we continue to invest in further training as the industry develops.

Tree Consulting and More

You may require arborist consultation for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that customers want trees to be removed from their property, but they want to make sure they are not violating any laws and they want the task done properly. Assessment Trees can provide this guidance and also conduct the work of removing the tree, stump, and clearing land with state-of-the-art machinery. We even offer a recycling service to make the business of tree removal as sustainable as possible.

Other services may include conducting regular maintenance of trees and other vegetation on your property or premises in different parts of NSW which includes tree removal in Dungog. This type of work is important not only for aesthetic reasons but also to keep the vegetation on your property in a healthy, safe condition. tall tree consultants also may be called on to conduct risk and safety assessments of trees and the threats they may pose to people, structures, and the environment. This is especially important given the increasing frequency of extreme weather and natural phenomena such as storms and bushfires. Properly maintaining your tree population means there will be less risk to you, your loved ones, and your property if such extreme events strike.

Contact Assurance Trees Today for Arborist Consulting

For professional tree consulting services, whether it is land clearance, tree or stump removal, maintenance or health and safety assessments, Assurance Trees should be your first port of call. If you are looking for an expert tree removal consultant or require any of our other expert services, reach out – we at Assurance Trees are ready to help. Contact us now for a friendly chat and a free, no-obligation quote.

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Arborist Reports

The term Arborist Report relates to a range of written reports that communicate the recommendations of a consulting arborist. In Australia the requirements educational and experience requirements for a consulting arborist vary from council to council, but in general refer to someone that has achieved the qualification of AQF5 or higher. However just because someone holds an AQF5 qualification does not mean they are experienced in the field that you may require expertise on. For example, some consulting arborists are very experienced with tree risk assessments and aerial tree inspections but have little experience with DA requirements or decay testing. Some of the most common types of arborist reports that we are conducting on a regular basis throughout the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Central Coast, Upper Hunter, and Mid North Coast and what they might be used for are listed below:

Arboricultural Impact Assessment

This is a report that is required when a development application is submitted to council that proposes a development that has the potential to disturb existing trees either on the property or on a neighbouring property. The exact requirements and layout of the report varies from council to council however they all share the same purpose which is to identify developments that conflict with trees and quantify the tree removal requirements and specify how trees can be retained. Our principal consultant, Aaron Bath, has extensive expertise in this area of arboriculture.

Tree Risk Assessment

One of the most common types of reports that are requested by our clients are Tree Risk Assessments. This is a formal process that quantifies and qualifies the risks associated with mature trees in the urban environment. As with AIA’s this report requires more detail so we have a whole page dedicated to helping potential clients understand this process. To read more about Tree Risk Assessments click here.

Damage to Property Reports

In many cases trees in the urban environment can interact with our built structures a little too much. This can cause ongoing problems to infrastructure that needs to be managed. In some cases, it is obvious that a tree is causing structural damage; for example, a tree growing right up alongside a brick wall and causing the wall to tilt over. But in many other cases the cause of the damage is more subtle or indirect; for example, a tree could be causing excessive moisture loss in heavy clay soils and causing one side of a houses footings to subside as the clay shrinks at different rates. Whether you have a simple situation or a complex issue we can investigate and document the facts about what is happening. These reports are most often used to support applications to local councils to have trees removed, or to establish that a neighbouring tree is causing damage to your structures and help with proposing management options.

Remediation Reports

Trees, particularly when over mature or subjected to changes in conditions can begin to deteriorate. This can be a stressful situation for many people, particularly when a tree is significant. It is important when managing stressed trees that a proper investigation is conducted as soon as possible, and a clear plan of remediation is developed that considers all the relevant factors. We often see owners and managers call of trees call tree contractors to come in and give advice in these situations. The problem with this is that tree contractors (tree removal and pruning companies) are almost never paid for inspections and advice, so the advice they give is often in the form of quoting work that their company can do; mostly pruning. In many cases pruning of a tree is the worst thing that can be done, and the work ends up costing the client money and only makes the problem worse. Establishing a clear, unbiased work plan free of conflicts of interest is critical for good management of stressed trees. We conduct investigations with reports ranging from extremely detailed for distribution to government and principal contractors to a quick email with a plan for the homeowner on a budget.

Arboricultural Impact Assessments

An Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) is a report that is typically required when a development proposes to disturb trees. As local councils work towards having greater tree retention in our cities and towns, more and more councils are requesting that the impacts of a proposed development are independently assessed to report on the number and value of trees that will be lost or affected by the development.

Arb Impact Assessments quantify the number and value of trees requiring removal as well as specify the trees that will be affected but will still be suitable for retention and how to manage the protection during construction. AS4970 Protection of Trees on Development Sites forms the basis of the assessment along with the consultant’s experience level. A sound understanding of building and construction is key to specifications for tree retention. Assurance Trees principal consultant is also a qualified builder and has vast amounts of experience in the construction industry.

Below are the most common questions we get about Arboricultural Impact Assessments.

  1. How do I know if my Development Application requires an AIA?
  2. The requirement for an AIA will be specified in the local governments Development Control Plan (DCP). This is local government legislation that controls the standards of development in various situations. Most DCP will have a whole section dedicated to vegetation and tree management and all the various triggers that might cause an AIA to be submitted with your application. If this all sounds a bit intimidating consider giving your local council a call and asking if you require and AIA, or ask your architect/designer to look into this for you. If you submit your DA and have forgotten to conduct an AIA it is likely that the planner from council will send you a Request for Information (RFI), requesting that you complete the Arb Impact Assessment.
  3. At what stage of the planning do I complete the AIA?
  4. This depends on the size, complexity, and legislative triggers of the proposal. To simplify the answer, we have separated it into two situations: Basic (dwellings) and Complex (Schools, Shopping centres etc)

Basic – For residential DA’s it is best to conduct the AIA once the site survey has been completed and the basic footprint of the development has been established. This is generally more towards the end of the design process. However, it is important that the Arboricultural Impact Assessment is complete prior to finalisation of the design as there may be design changes that are recommended that the designer must incorporate into the design drawings.

Complex – For sensitive sites and large developments the results of an AIA can have implications on design elements and footprints. So, for these bigger developments it is best to conduct a Preliminary Arboricultural Assessment along side the site surveyor to help inform the design team and planners during the design phase. Once a design is nearing completion a full AIA can be conducted and the tree impacts quantified correctly.

  1. What sort of information is in an AIA?
  2. Below is the most common basic layout of an AIA report:

Executive Summary – This gives a high-level overview of the main findings and recommendations from the investigation.

Overview – Discussion of the proposal, the site-specific details, location, and applicable legislation

Methodology – Detailed description of how the assessment is conducted both on and off site.

Site Details – Describes species profiles of trees, soil conditions, heritage links, significant tree checks, tree health problems, habitat checks, compensatory planting, koala feed trees and any other issues that are relevant to the site.

Tree Data – All tree data captured onsite is organised into a table and all trees are allocated tree numbers. Data captured will vary depending on the requirements of the local council, however as a rule the following are captured for each tree; Location, Species, Height, Crown Spread, Diameter of Trunk (DBH), Condition, Age Class, Defects, Landscape Value, Sustainability Rating, Retention Value, Structural Root Zone (SRZ), Tree Protection Zone (TPZ).

Mapping – Plotting of the trees onsite in reference to the proposed development. These maps will demonstrate which trees can be retained and which will require removal. There are often map types of maps included that show different aspects of the study such as, Location maps, Tree Removal Plans, Tree Retention Plans or Tree Exclusion Fencing Plans.

Images – Images captured during the site inspection will be included if relevant to the report and its findings.

Supporting Information – Various other relevant items could be included in the report that are required to support recommendations given in the report or to communicate methodology.

  1. Do you physically go to site?
  2. Yes. An AQF5 consulting arborist will attend site to collect site specific details, collect tree specific data, tag and locate trees. This part of the process is a large part of the work involved in producing a quality report for a DA submission.
  3. What determines if a tree can be retained?
  4. The basis for tree retention is the amount of disturbance that the proposal will have on the tree both above ground and below ground and the ability of the tree to withstand the changes and remain viable. The Australian Standard that provides a framework for this process is AS4970-2009 Protection of Trees on Development Sites. During the mapping of the tree locations against the proposed footprint it becomes clear as to which trees are inside the affected area.
  5. What is the main purpose of an AIA?
  6. The purpose of an AIA is to inform proposed design to better incorporate quality existing trees where possible. To communicate to council the impacts of the development to allow for accurate assessment and to prescribe to construction contractors the methods of tree protection that will result in healthy trees at the completion of the project.
  7. How fast can you complete an AIA?
  8. This would depend on our current workload and the size of the project; however, most reports are completed within 3 weeks of engagement. If your development requires a fast track AIA, we will work with you to try a make this happen if we can move projects around to suit. We regularly complete reports within 2 weeks of engagement for our clients when it is required.
  9. How much does an AIA cost?
  10. The starting cost of a report will be $1500 + GST and will depend on many factors including:
  • Number of trees
  • Council Area (report requirements)
  • Complexity of development
  • Legislative requirements
  • Planning pathway
  • Delivery Timeframe
  1. What Council Areas do you frequently conduct AIA for?
  2. Newcastle, Port Stephens, Mid North Coast, Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast, Maitland, Cessnock, Port Macquarie Hastings, and Sydney Metro.

Project Arborist Consulting

A Project Arborist is an AQF5 consulting arborist that is appointed at the physical start of a construction project. Their role is to oversee the tree protection requirements that have been specified in the development consent, normally based on the Arboricultural Impact Assessment completed during DA approval.

The amount of supervision required and inspection schedule for DA certification will vary between projects however most projects require at least an inspection upon establishment of tree protection fencing and another at completion to obtain an occupation certificate.

The main role of a Project Arborist is to supervise works that are close to trees where further investigations are required to determine if the tree remains viable. More and more developments are trying to retain existing trees to create more pleasing urban environments. This requires that trees are managed closely, particularly while the pressures of the construction process are present.

Assurance Trees provide Project Arborist Consulting to the Lower Hunter, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast, Mid Coast and Upper Hunter.

During the construction phase we provide the following services once appointed as the Project Arborist:

  • Inspections and documentation at various milestones of construction as specified in the DA consent.
  • Supervision of earthworks inside TPZ of trees to be retained.
  • Phone and email support for the construction team with regards to trees.

At the completion of the construction project, we can provide reporting and documentation for DA certification as required by the DA consent.

Tree Risk Assessments

Managing tree risk is a growing part of the urban situation. As our cities become leafier and more trees are retained around developments it becomes necessary that a formal approach is taken to managing the hazards associated with mature trees.

In high use areas such as schools it is important that hazards are identified and a plan put in place to reduce the risk of tree failures such as branch drop, deadwood drop and partial or whole trees falling over. In many situations a tree shows evidence of hazards long before a failure occurs. Having an experienced AQF5 arborist look over your trees and produce a works plan for remediation can dramatically reduce the risk.

At Assurance Trees we follow the tree risk assessment methodology as outlined by the International Society of Arboriculture and have obtained the associated ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).

The process for a risk assessment is outline below:

  • Discuss the risk level that the tree owner is comfortable with. This is normally categorised as Low, Moderate, High, or Extreme.
  • Look at the site and allocate occupancy rates for the different areas to identify where to focus more closely.
  • Conduct a site inspection and collect tree data looking to identify hazards and grade the hazards according to the risk matrix.
  • Look at ways to reduce risk and specify the works in a management plan.
  • Document the risk assessment in a way that is easy to understand and that allows tree contractors to quote accurately on the works.

The most common clients to request tree risk assessments are schools. However, anyone that manages tree assets that are in the public domain have a responsibility or duty of care to manage the risk. As with most workplace hazards the first point of call is to quantify the risks so that management activities can be developed to reduce the risk to acceptable levels.

As a company with a history in tree removal and pruning we understand the requirements of the company that would be conducting the pruning or removal works, as such our reports are easy to follow and provide certainty of scope to the contractors quoting your work. We find that this helps reduce the costs to our clients as we take the mystery out of the work. We are also available to supervise tree contractors if this is preferred by our clients to make sure that contractors do not do damage to high value tree assets.

When conducting our tree risk assessments, we use a wide range of methods. Most common is a visual tree assessment (VTA), this will pick up most tree defects and hazards that are visible from the ground. We are also professional tree climbers and can conduct aerial inspections if this is required. We also own specialised equipment to drill tiny holes into tree stems to check for decay. Is this extremely helpful in detailed assessments when decay is suspected. For more information on resistograph testing click here.

Decay Testing (Resistograph)

Measuring (quantifying) decay in trees is normally a difficult thing to do. Major decay can be detected by sounding the tree with a dead blow hammer and interpreting the sound. But this can be unreliable and misleading in many cases.

In the case of high value trees, it is necessary to know exactly the extent and location of the decay to make informed decisions. We have a highly specialised drill that measures feed force and resistance and produces accurate and reliable readings on decay levels inside wood.

We own and use an IML Resistograph, imported from Germany to measure decay in trees for our clients when necessary. The benefits of this are:

  • We can obtain baseline readings for decay and then conduct checks at appropriate intervals to determine decay rates, thus obtaining useful life expectancy or for planning of remedial management activities.
  • We can determine if the level of decay is likely to result in tree failure based on research, not guess work.
  • Once we have a good understanding of the location an extent of the decay, we can than look at a tailored plan to reduce the risk of failure to acceptable levels or look at tree removal if this is the only option.

Root Investigations and Root Pruning

There are many reasons that a root investigation might need to be conducted around a tree. Sometimes tree roots can grow under our structures causing damage or investigations into extent of root systems during development works.

We own and use a specialised compressed air excavation tool known as an Air Spade. This device is a fast and safe way to excavate in and around tree roots, moving the soil away but leaving the roots unharmed and intact, along with any underground services that may be hidden below the surface. The air spade method allows for uncovering of all offending roots to get a clear picture of the situation prior to selective root removal. This is very important if the stability of the tree is to be maintained.

Excavating alongside driveways or slabs with the air spade tool ensures that underground services are unaffected. We can locate and remove destructive roots and if required install a barrier know as a root deflecting membrane or root barrier. This barrier will ensure that the roots are encouraged to grow away from the structure. This allows the tree to be retained and the structure to be protected. In many cases the cost of these works is less then the cost of tree removal.

Mature Tree Transplants

For high value trees we can conduct what is known as Bare Root Transplanting. This specialised task is conducted with the use of an excavation tool that utilises compressed air to remove soil from around the root system of a large tree. This allows us to prune back the root system and tie back the larger roots to the main stem allowing for significant weight decrease ready for transport. Not all mature trees are suitable for transplanting and cost is a significant factor in the suitability of this for your situation.

Minimum cost of transplant is $2500 + GST. So, the value of the tree must be greater than this. Although for mature trees this is considered a low price and in many cases transplanting may be cheaper than purchase of nursery stock.

Size guide for transplanting:

  • 250mm maximum trunk diameter
  • 8m maximum height

It is possible to transplant larger trees however it is very hard to manage the logistics with trees larger than the above guide. The costs associated with very large tree transplants are huge.

Tree Health

Tree health is a big issue in the urban forest. There are so many factors that influence tree health from pests and diseases to soil compaction and over or under watering. In many cases the situation is time sensitive, and you want to make sure that you take the right course of action right from the start. Below are some of the different areas of tree health that we conduct physical works in on a regular basis.

Root Decompaction and Vertical Mulching

One of the big issues in the urban environment is the over compaction of soil in the tree root zone. Trees need gas to exchange between the air and the roots, therefore the soil needs to be porous enough for oxygen and the like to enter and exit. When compaction becomes severe it can interrupt these important exchanges and prevent moisture increase or create waterlogged soil. All of this is a major problem for trees.

Decompaction of soil is completed with an air spade tool that utilises compressed air that rapidly enters soil pores while expanding and fracturing the soil, thus introducing air or fluffing up the soil profile. This can be completed in the entire root zone or in a variety of patterns around the tree. The most common methods are pot holing and radial trenching.

Potholing is our preferred method as it can be completed quickly with out mess in almost any situation. This involves blasting air into the ground in a grid pattern throughout the root zone to a depth of up to 600mm. Once the potholes are introduced the holes can be filled back in with the fluffed-up soil that came out of the hole, or a fresh high organic soil can be installed further enhancing the soil around the tree by introducing organic matter. Many tree health issues can be fixed with this potholing and vertical mulching treatment.

Stem Injection Treatments

On of the most common treatments we inject into trees is a chemical called SilvaShield. This is a treatment that is injected slowly into the sap layer of the tree and the tree transports this chemical throughout the canopy. Due to the solution being injected directly into the trees stem it reduces the risk of more traditional chemical application methods such as soil application and foliar application. For successful application of nutrients and chemicals into a tree it is important to account for factors such as:

  • Transpiration Rate
  • Sunlight levels and temperature
  • Ground water availability
  • Species profile
  • Bark layer depth
  • Seasonal factors

This treatment is extremely effective against the following pests:

  • Thaumastocoris bugs and leaf blister sawfly larvae (eucalypt trees)
  • Sycamore lace bugs London plane trees)
  • Elm leaf beetle (elm trees)
  • Fig leaf beetle (fig trees)
  • Flatid (Pandanus)

Other injectable nutrients we use can rapidly treat low nutrient levels in trees. These are essentially concentrated nutrient applications given directly into the stem of the tree.

Cabling and Support

Sometimes cable bracing can be used to support limbs that have defects such as bark inclusions or severe over extension instead of the removal of the limb. Cabling can be installed helping to transfer strength from other areas of the tree to the at-risk limb.

We utilise a bracing system that is of nylon composition, wrapping around the limbs rather than drilling into, and allows for natural limb bending and movement (which is important for strength development) while supporting the limb in the case of strong winds and storms. This can bring peace of mind for that large limb overhanging the roof while still giving you all the benefits of shade and beauty of the tree.

Installation of cable bracing is fast and is guaranteed to last for over 10 years. We have installed many bracing systems that have allowed for tree retention rather than removal.

Expert Witness

Our Senior Consulting Arborist has conducted expert witness investigations for the Land and Environment Court proceedings. Our expertise is being relied upon by more law firms every year. Contact us today and discuss your requirements with our Senior Arborist.

Heritage Trees

We provide arborist reports for trees that have heritage value or are listed as heritage items. If you own a tree that you think should be listed as a heritage item, we can provide the investigation and report to present our case to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage who then determines if the tree should be added as an item of heritage significance. We can conduct heritage reports that help protect high value or significant trees all over the Hunter Valley, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast.

Tree Surveying

Our consulting arborists can assist government and private sectors with tree surveying and auditing if this is required. We can capture detailed tree data in our cloud based Geo database against locations with the required degree of accuracy necessary for the application. This can produce interactive maps that show relevant tree information and images.

Tree Investigations

Our consulting AQF5 arborists can perform a range of testing on trees if visual inspections are not conclusive. We can conduct root investigations, aerial inspections, Ph testing of soil, soil structure and texture tests, and structural test on the biomechanical aspects of trees using advanced equipment. We conduct resistograph testing to determine decay rates and accurate sizing of cavities and remaining tree structure, PiCUS sonic tomograph, and ground penetrating radar for root analysis. If you require conclusive solid data on a valuable tree asset be sure to contact our term for an obligation free quotation on your project.

Arborist Reports
consulting arborists in newcastle
consulting arborists in maitland and hunter valley
tree maintenance in Maitland and Hunter Valley

Our Qualifications

  • Diploma in Arboriculture (AQF5)
  • Trade Certificate in Arboriculture (AQF3)
  • TRAQ Risk Assessor (International Society of Arboriculture)
  • Cert 4 in Building and Construction
  • NSW Builders Licence
  • Trade Licence (Carpentry)
  • Chemical Cert 3
  • Police Check
  • Working with Children Check
  • Rail Cat 3 Cert
  • White Card
  • Elevated Work Platform Licence
  • Dogging License (Cranes)
  • Occupational First Aid
  • Senior First Aid
  • Power Lines Awareness Cert
  • Traffic Controller Cert
  • Traffic Controller Supervisor Cert
  • Heavy Rigid Truck Licence