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One of the things you really notice as a pedestrian in wet weather is low-hanging branches over the footpaths.

I don’t know if the wet weather we’ve been having causes the trees and bushes to put on a growth spurt, or it’s just more noticeable because every time you brush against something lots of water falls on you, or because it’s harder to avoid head collisions while dodging puddles and holding an umbrella, but it’s been particularly apparent the last couple of days.

Yesterday afternoon I went out with the clippers to ensure the tree outside my house that overhangs the path isn’t in anybody’s way.

Of course, I shouldn’t have done it straight after it had been raining, as it resulted in masses of water showering down on me every time I nudged a branch.

But oh well, anybody walking down my street (and we don’t get heaps of traffic, foot or otherwise) can rest assured, they won’t have to duck when passing my house.

It’s worth a few minutes’ work to make life easier for my fellow pedestrians.

I must check if there are council bylaws about this kind of thing. Checked your overhanging trees recently?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

11 replies on “Overhang”

You will find that there probably are council bylaws on this subject. We have had Greater Dandenong Council (and the former City of Dandenong before that) giving us regular reminders about trimming branches that stray over the footpath. A few years back we even had some bloke from the council sitting over the road taking photos of our place!!

Having said all that we do regularly trim the trees at the front of my place, so it is not a great problem (I do a half hour walk every night myself, an hour on weekends on top of the half hour a lunchtime). About half way along my route there is a low branch that I have hit my head on and is still hanging low six months later … perhaps the council have slackened off!!

yeah, I noticed the low-hanging branches this morning walking to the station. I guess it’s the water/moisture on the branches weighing them down.
PS Wasn’t it fantastic to get a good drop?

As stated above the branches are sometimes actually lower due to the weight of the water clinging to the leaves. This effect is even more pronounced when branches are covered with ice and snow.

There used to be bylaws about trees overhanging footpaths. Imagine what is like to be a blind person walking along the footpaths and continually getting smacked in the face by branches and leaves.

Overhanging trees (Glen Eira)

Property owners are responsible for keeping trees and shrubs under control and trimmed back to ensure pedestrian safety and clear sightlines for drivers.

Trees must be trimmed to a height of 3 metres above the ground and vertically in line with the property boundary. Shrubs must not protrude beyond the fence line or encroach onto the footpath.

If a Council notice is sent requesting that trees or shrubs be trimmed the work must be completed within 14 days.

The property owner is responsible for pruning any overhanging vegetation, however, Council offers a free mulching service (subject to terms and conditions) to dispose of the vegetation. Arrangements can also be made for an authorised contractor to prune and remove the vegetation for $121.00 (GST included). An application form can be downloaded below.

Property owners who do not comply with a notice within 14 days will be issued with a caution notice. This provides a further 10 days to complete the work. If action is still not taken within the required timeframe a penalty notice of $200 may be issued and a contractor engaged by Council to undertake the work. The property owner is responsible for the contractors fees.

Glen Eira council sent me a nasty letter some years ago, just because I had a few small seaside daisies growing at the base of my front fence. Obviously they don’t police this rule any more coz there are much greater transgressions everywhere in Glen Eira. It is much worse these days IMO.

Thanks for looking it up Peter. In my case however, the tree is on the nature strip – who takes responsibility for that?

(The bushes along my fence line are under control, thankfully!)

Peter, you beat me to it. We’re fairly careful with the three metre rule but I wish the Telstra exchange just round the corner was even half as good. They take up half the footpath with their growing things and I generally have to duck as the trees are way too low. Being short, I don’t have to duck too far. Anyway, I’m going to ring Glen Eira and see what they do about it.

I believe that nature strip trees are the council’ s responsibility, and many of them break council’s own rules.

Same rule in Whitehorse: 3m up in line with the property boundary. They’re still fining people, judging from the local media.


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