Frequently Asked Questions
“Why does the City of Mandurah let developers cut trees down?”
Much of the uncleared land within the City of Mandurah is owned by private individuals or developers who have a legal right to develop their land. The City works with developers to identify areas of vegetation which can and should be retained. However, Western Australian Planning Commission policy, Livable Neighbourhoods, (http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/Plans+and+policies/Publications/1594.aspx) only requires that 10 per cent of the developable land area be set aside as public open space. This are must also include areas for active recreation, such as playing fields and playgrounds, as well as bushland retention.
“Why should we retain large trees?”
Native trees perform a number of important environmental services as well as provide food and habitat for local wildlife. Many species depend on mature, hollow-bearing trees for their very survival. These trees can take many decades to form and cannot be replaced once cut down. Providing they are maintained correctly, large trees are an invaluable asset, providing shade, protection from wind, reducing evaporation and soil erosion as well as purifying the air and protecting water quality.
“I planted this tree, can I cut it down?”
No, under the City’s Tree Preservation Requirements, any tree (regardless of species) within a tree preservation area which is greater than three metres tall requires a planning approval prior to any removal or any major pruning works. If you are unsure if your tree requires planning approval prior to removal or trimming please see the 'requirements for planning approval for tree preservation areas'.
“Do the City of Mandurah's Tree Preservation Requirements stop me from trimming my shrubs without approval?”
No, trimming and minor pruning of ornamental plants is permitted. However, destructive pruning of large trees (taller than three metres) is prohibited within the City (see below). It is important to note that dense shrubs are often highly attractive to small birds so it is important not to prune these species during peak breeding times to prevent disturbance and nest destruction.
“Why can’t I lop my trees to make them safe?”
Lopping does not make a tree safe, it makes them much more dangerous. The practice of lopping native trees is inappropriate and not in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4373 - Pruning of Amenity Trees. Simply removing the ends of tall branches does not make these trees safer and in fact can make them more prone to future limb failure. Lopping of eucalypts encourages the development of epicormic growths which are more poorly attached and more likely to peel away and fall than those branches which form as the tree is allowed to develop naturally. This regrowth must then be trimmed every three to four years to prevent limb failure, significantly increasing the costs associated with tree maintenance. In some circumstances, trees which have been lopped or pruned poorly in the past are no longer able to be retained safely and are best removed. If you feel that a tree is unsafe or requires pruning, please consult a qualified arboriculturalist (not a tree lopping company) and ask them to recommend what works should be undertaken. If the tree is deemed unsafe or in need of remedial pruning, please contact the City’s EcoServices team to determine if these works are exempt or require a planning approval before being undertaken.
“Why plant a tree?”
Trees not only enhance your garden by introducing height, colour and shade, they also attract and support local wildlife. While it is true that many trees grow too large for the average suburban garden, there are many highly ornamental and low-maintenance native trees which are suitable for even the smallest of lots. Trees also provide valuable shade from the harsh summer sun to cool your house and garden or grow more tender plants. While some may perceive the leaves which trees and flowers shed by trees as a nuisance, this is easily collected and is a free and continuous source of mulch to reduce evaporation from garden beds.
“Can I keep horses, sheep, alpacas, cows, goats...?”
The City of Mandurah’s Town Planning Scheme No 3 controls land use within the City, including the keeping of livestock. The planning requirements vary in accordance with land zoning however, planning approval is required to keep livestock on rural residential and special use urban zoned lots and must be in accordance with the Department of Agriculture's stocking rates. Planning approval will not be supported for the keeping of livestock if it results in the clearing of existing bushland. If you are thinking of purchasing livestock, please contact the City’s EcoServices team for more information on planning requirements or refer to the City of Mandurah's 'Keeping Horses' information handout.