I have a large bottlebrush in my yard. Recently got a new fence not realising the trees stump was pushing against the old fence. Fencers cut shaping on fence around tree base and large branches at top. I didn't realise they were doing this. I don't think the property owners will like what's been done. So my question is can I cut a slice down the stump to make it narrower without killing it? I cannot afford to have the tree taken out. It is encroaching on neighbours property by about 2cm. I can take off top branches and get new paling but its the bottom im concerned about
Im no expert but i think if you slice part of the trunk off vertically to allow a gap - the trunk would simply regrow and push the boards back off from underneath? (and potentially weaken the tree to the point it might fall over next bad storm, or weaken it so it sways in storms affecting the fence) If that were my tree id be pulling some panels off to allow clearance, cutting the tree and stump down to below ground level using a chainsaw and then drill the stump and inject some roundup occasionally until your sure that tree wont come back. Cut the wood into manageable chunks and store somewhere for 12months - then you can have a few great firepit nights perhaps once the wood has dried?
Bunnings have a product for killing stumps
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @phrobat2. It's fantastic to have you join us and many thanks for your question.
I presume by property owners you are referring to the neighbours? I would suggest having a chat with them to find out if they actually have an issue. If the neighbours agreed to the installation of a new boundary fence and there is a tree obstructing it, then I believe you have both ended up with a reasonable resolution. If the neighbours wanted the fence to run directly through without alterations, then they would be well within their rights to request the tree's removal/pruning and offer to pay for it.
Whether or not the neighbours have an issue, it would be a good idea to contact your local council for information on whether you need a permit to prune or significantly alter the native tree. My concern with your plan of slicing down the stump is that you might end up killing the tree and incurring a fine for doing so. It really depends on how aggressive you are with the cut. If you prune the top canopy at the same time, then there is a good chance the tree will survive to some extent. Bottle brushes are quite resilient, but the cambium layer is what transfers nutrients to the canopy. If this layer is partially severed then there will be resulting die back.
Let me mention one of our resident plant experts @Adam_W to see if he could add to the conversation.
Interesting topic and a situation that must happen a lot.
To me it looks like the fencers have done a good job? Like Mitchell said, I would talk to the neighbours and see how they feel before grabbing the chainsaw.
"It is encroaching on neighbours property by about 2cm."
This is more than 2 cms and my neighbour is unhappy - but what's causing it (on my side) is a 35 metre tall Silky Oak tree - matured well before we moved into the house.
My question is - can councils force the removal (cost on the owner?) of trees in situations like this if the property owners adjoining these trees complain to council?
Hi @phrobat2 and welcome!
It's pretty common practice for fencers to shape around a tree. Ideally they should have left enough space for future growth which in this case it doesn't look like they've done.
I'd just chat with the neighbours & see what they reckon. Personally I'd be okay with it.
Shaving the side off the trunk will cause the tree immense damage & stress and as has been mentioned my not achieve much as resulting scar tissue regrowth (technically called a callous) may well push out even further.
Hi @Noyade sorry, not sure I'm getting the problem. Are the neighbours cranky about roots?
It would be extraordinarily unusual for a council to insist on the removal of a native tree on private property when a neighbour complained about it.
There would need to be some pretty substantial reasons - risk of property damage through falling limbs (rarely happens with Grevillia robusta), structural damage to property through roots, blocking of sewer or storm-water etc.
In the case of the latter the onus would be on the neighbours to prove the roots are coming from your tree. I have been involved in situations where a council require tissue sample testing to prove this not just a circumstantial assumption about the tree causing the issues. They would also need a report from a certified arborist stating the case. You'll find most councils will not accept anything from a home-owner about trees with an aborist's report.
In these sort of situations, even with all the evidence & reports, the council will simply say 'yes, we agree, talk with your neighbour...'
Many thanks for your detailed reply.
Are the neighbours cranky about roots?
Most certainly yes, and - causing the distortion of the fence, large branches over his property ("could drop and kill my grandchildren"), leaves dropping regularly (recently they told me the orange flower(?) contains arsenic) and on and on it goes - for nearly thirty years now.
It is certainly too big for me personally to remove, in fact it was too big thirty years ago and of course would require council approval. Over the years I sourced quotes to remove it completely and were up to $3,000. There is no money on my side of the fence.
So I started wondering recently, if their complaints were sent to council, can council force my hand.