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How To Choose A Tree Lopper In Sydney: 2024 Guide

Tips for choosing the best tree lopper in Sydney

If you have trees on your Sydney property, chances are you'll need to hire a tree lopper at some stage. Whether it's for general pruning, storm damage clean-up or complete removal, choosing the right arborist is crucial to ensure the job is done safely and effectively.

But with so many tree lopping services in Sydney, how do you know which one to trust? What qualities should you look for? And how much should you expect to pay?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll show you exactly how to choose a tree lopper in Sydney. We'll cover the key factors to consider, the questions to ask, and the red flags to watch out for. By the end, you'll have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision and get the best results for your trees.

Key Takeaways

  • Look for a qualified arborist with minimum AQF Level 3 and several years of industry experience
  • Check the tree lopper is fully insured with public liability and workers compensation cover
  • Ask for recent references and check online reviews to gauge reputation and quality
  • Make sure they have the right equipment and follow strict safety protocols
  • Get a detailed written quote that covers all aspects of the job, with no hidden costs
  • Choose a tree lopper that is professional, punctual and easy to communicate with
  • Contact us for expert help finding the best tree lopper for your needs

Why Tree Lopping Is Important

Before we delve into how to choose a tree lopper, let's recap why tree lopping is so important in the first place. Regular pruning and maintenance of your trees offers many benefits, such as:


Removing dead, diseased or damaged branches helps prevent them from falling and causing injury or property damage. Pruning also keeps trees clear of powerlines, buildings and sight-lines.


Lopping promotes healthy growth by removing competing or crossing branches and allowing more light and air into the canopy. It can also help control the spread of pests and diseases.


Regular pruning helps maintain an attractive size and shape for your trees, as well as encouraging flower and fruit production. A well-maintained tree can also add significant value to your property.


Proper lopping techniques help develop a strong branch structure that is more resistant to storms and high winds. This is especially important for young trees that are still establishing.

Of course, these benefits can only be achieved with correct pruning methods. Lopping done incorrectly can actually damage the health and stability of the tree, as well as creating hazardous conditions. That's why it's so important to choose a qualified and experienced tree lopper who adheres to industry best practices.

Professional tree lopping services Sydney

10 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Tree Lopper

Not all tree loppers in Sydney are created equal. When evaluating different providers for your tree work, be sure to consider the following key factors:

1. Qualifications

The first thing to check is that the tree lopper is properly qualified. In Sydney, a minimum AQF Level 3 in Arboriculture is required to operate as an arborist. This nationally recognised qualification covers the skills and knowledge needed to safely perform tree surgery and maintenance.

Some tree loppers may have higher level AQF qualifications like Level 4 or 5, which can indicate greater expertise. You can also look for additional credentials like a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture.

2. Experience

While formal qualifications are important, nothing beats real-world experience. Ideally, you want to choose a tree lopper who has been working in the industry for several years and has experience with the specific type of tree and job you need.

Ask how long the company has been operating and what kind of projects they typically handle. A well-established business with a proven track record is usually a safer bet than a fly-by-night operator.

3. Insurance

Tree lopping is inherently dangerous work that involves working at heights with powerful machinery. Accidents can and do happen, which is why it's essential that your tree lopper has comprehensive insurance cover.

At a minimum, they should have public liability insurance to protect against damage to your property, as well as workers compensation insurance to cover any injuries to their staff. Ask to see proof of current policies and make sure they are adequate for the scope of work.

4. Safety

Closely related to insurance is the tree lopper's commitment to safety. They should follow strict protocols and use appropriate equipment to minimise risks to people and property.

This includes things like conducting site assessments, developing safe work method statements, using PPE, setting up exclusion zones, and having emergency response plans. Don't be afraid to ask detailed questions about their safety practices and look for accreditations like AS/NZS 4801.

5. Equipment

Modern tree lopping requires specialised equipment to get the job done efficiently and safely. Depending on the size and location of your tree, this may include elevated work platforms, cranes, wood chippers, stump grinders and rigging gear.

Check that the tree lopper has access to the right machinery for your job and that it is well-maintained. Newer equipment with the latest safety features is preferable to older, poorly serviced gear.

6. Reputation

The best way to gauge the quality of a tree lopper's work is to look at their reputation in the industry. Ask for references from recent jobs and follow up with the clients to see if they were satisfied with the service.

You can also check the company's online reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook and Product Review. Look for consistently positive feedback and pay attention to any red flags like poor communication, shoddy work or hidden costs.

7. Customer Service

Don't underestimate the importance of good old-fashioned customer service. You want a tree lopper who is professional, friendly, and easy to communicate with from start to finish.

Pay attention to things like how quickly they respond to your enquiry, whether they show up on time for the quote, and how well they listen to your needs. The best tree loppers will take the time to answer your questions patiently and keep you informed at every stage of the job.

8. Pricing

While price shouldn't be the only factor in your decision, it's still an important consideration. Tree lopping costs in Sydney can vary widely depending on the size and scope of the job, so it's important to get a clear and detailed quote upfront.

Be wary of any tree loppers who give you a price without seeing the tree first or who seem vague about what is included. A professional arborist will provide a written quote that itemises all costs and is transparent about any potential extras.

9. Availability

Another practical consideration is the tree lopper's availability and lead times. If you need the work done urgently, there's no point choosing a company that is booked out for months in advance.

Look for a provider that can give you a clear timeline for when the work will start and finish, and that has the flexibility to accommodate your schedule. Keep in mind that good tree loppers are often in high demand, so it's best to plan ahead if possible.

10. Gut Feel

Finally, don't discount your overall gut feel when choosing a tree lopper. If something doesn't quite feel right, even if you can't put your finger on it, it's probably best to trust your instincts and keep looking.

At the end of the day, you need to feel confident and comfortable with the tree lopper you choose. They should be someone you can trust to do the job safely, professionally and to a high standard, with minimal stress and hassle for you.

Qualities of a good tree lopping service Sydney

Questions To Ask When Hiring A Tree Lopper

So, you've shortlisted a few potential tree lopping services in Sydney based on the factors above. Now it's time to drill down into the details and ask some specific questions before making your final decision.

Here are some key things to ask when getting a quote or interviewing a tree lopper:

  • Are you fully licensed and insured?
  • What qualifications and experience do you have?
  • Do you have references I can contact?
  • What equipment will you use for the job?
  • How will you ensure the safety of my property and the public?
  • What is included in the quote and are there any potential extra costs?
  • How long will the job take and when can you start?
  • What follow-up care or advice do you provide?
  • How will my property be left after completion?
  • What is your process if I am not satisfied with the work?

Don't be shy about asking plenty of questions - a professional tree lopper will be happy to answer them and put your mind at ease. If they seem evasive or give vague answers, that's a red flag that they may not be the right choice.

Checklist When Getting A Tree Lopping Quote

Price is obviously a major factor when choosing a tree lopper, but it's important to make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Here is a handy checklist of what should be included in a comprehensive tree lopping quote:

  • Scope of work - what exactly will be done to each tree
  • Equipment - what machinery and tools will be used
  • Staff - how many crew will be working on the job
  • Timeframe - how long the job will take and start/finish dates
  • Clean-up - removal and disposal of all debris from site
  • Stump grinding - whether stumps will be removed and to what depth
  • Travel - any mobilisation costs for crew and equipment
  • Traffic control - any additional costs for road closures or management
  • Council permits - costs for any necessary approvals or applications
  • GST - all costs should include GST

If any of these items are missing or unclear in the quote, ask the tree lopper to clarify them in writing. This will help avoid any nasty surprises or hidden costs down the track.

It's also a good idea to get at least three quotes from different providers so you can compare prices and inclusions. Just remember that the cheapest option is not always the best value in the long run if it means compromising on quality or safety.

Questions to ask a professional tree service Sydney

Red Flags To Watch Out For In A Tree Lopper

While there are many reputable and professional tree loppers in Sydney, there are also some unscrupulous operators who give the industry a bad name. Here are some warning signs to watch out for when choosing an arborist:

Lack of Qualifications

If the tree lopper can't provide proof of relevant qualifications and training, or seems vague about their credentials, that's a major red flag. Tree lopping is not a job for amateurs or cowboy operators.

No Insurance

Proper insurance is non-negotiable when it comes to tree work. If the tree lopper doesn't have current public liability and workers comp cover, don't even consider hiring them. The risks are simply too high.

Unsafe Practices

If you observe the tree lopper using unsafe or outdated techniques, such as climbing without ropes or hacking at branches indiscriminately, that's a sure sign to stay away. Safety should always be the top priority.

Poor Communication

If the tree lopper is unresponsive, dismissive or unclear in their communication with you, that doesn't bode well for the rest of the job. You need to be able to rely on them to keep you informed and answer your questions promptly.

Unclear Quotes

Beware of any quotes that are unusually cheap, verbal only, or lacking in detail. A reputable tree lopper will provide a clear written quote that outlines all costs and inclusions upfront, with no hidden surprises.

Pressure Tactics

If a tree lopper tries to pressure you into making a quick decision or signing a contract on the spot, be very wary. They may be using manipulative sales tactics or trying to lock you in before you can do proper research.

Negative Reviews

Finally, pay close attention to any negative reviews or complaints about the tree lopper online. If multiple customers report issues like shoddy work, overcharging or unprofessional behaviour, that's a clear indication to steer clear.

Of course, even the best companies may have the odd negative review. But if you see a consistent pattern of problems or the tree lopper is defensive or hostile in their responses, that's a definite red flag.

The good news is that by doing your due diligence and following the tips in this guide, you can avoid these pitfalls and choose a tree lopper in Sydney that will do a safe, professional and high-quality job.

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Arborist Or Tree Lopper: What's The Difference?

Throughout this guide, we've used the terms 'arborist' and 'tree lopper' interchangeably. But what exactly is the difference between the two?

In short, an arborist is a professional who has studied the science of trees and how to care for them. They have completed formal qualifications in arboriculture and have a deep understanding of tree biology, health, and maintenance.

A tree lopper, on the other hand, is a more general term for someone who prunes or removes trees. While some tree loppers may be qualified arborists, others may have learned on the job or have more limited training.

When choosing a tree lopper in Sydney, it's always best to look for a qualified arborist. This ensures that they have the knowledge and skills to properly assess your tree, diagnose any issues, and carry out the work to industry standards.

That said, even qualified arborists may still call themselves tree loppers, as it is a more commonly understood term. The key is to check their specific qualifications and experience rather than just relying on the job title.

Do I Need Council Approval For Tree Lopping?

Another important consideration when planning any tree work in Sydney is whether you need council approval. Each local government area has its own rules and regulations around tree management on private property.

In general, you will need to get a permit from your local council before removing or heavily pruning any tree that is:

  • Above a certain height (typically 5-10m)
  • Above a certain trunk diameter (typically 30-50cm)
  • A listed species with special significance
  • Located in a heritage conservation area

There are some exceptions for things like:

  • Dead or dangerous trees that pose an imminent risk
  • Trees within a certain distance of a building (typically 2-5m)
  • Pest species like privet or camphor laurel
  • Fruit trees or small shrubs
  • Pruning of less than 10% of the canopy

The rules vary between council areas, so it's important to check with your specific local government before doing any work. Significant penalties can apply for illegal tree removal or pruning, including fines of up to $1.1 million.

When you choose a reputable tree lopper or arborist, they will be familiar with the local council requirements and can advise you on whether a permit is needed. They may even handle the application process on your behalf to make things easier.

Just be aware that getting council approval can take time, sometimes up to 4 weeks or more. So it's important to factor this into your planning and choose a tree lopper that can work around these timeframes.

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How To Prepare For Tree Lopping

Once you've chosen a qualified tree lopper in Sydney, there are a few things you can do to prepare for their arrival and ensure the job goes smoothly:

Clear Access

Make sure the tree lopper has clear and easy access to the tree(s) being worked on. This may involve moving vehicles, furniture or other obstacles out of the way. If the tree is in a locked yard, arrange to have someone home to let them in.

Secure Pets

Tree lopping can be noisy and disruptive, which may distress your pets. It's best to keep them safely inside or arrange for them to be out of the home during the work.

Notify Neighbours

If the tree work is likely to impact your neighbours, such as overhanging branches or noise, it's courteous to let them know in advance. Your tree lopper may be able to help with this communication.

Mark Underground Services

If there are any underground utilities near the tree, such as gas, water or electricity, make sure these are clearly marked and the tree lopper is aware of them. You may need to contact Dial Before You Dig for assistance.

Arrange Parking

Tree loppers often have large trucks and equipment that need to be parked close to the worksite. If parking is limited on your street, you may need to arrange a temporary permit or reserve a spot for them in advance.

Protect Valuables

While professional tree loppers will take care to avoid damaging your property, it's still a good idea to move or cover any valuable items that are near the tree, such as outdoor furniture, statues or potted plants.

By taking these preparatory steps, you can help the tree lopping process go more efficiently and minimise any potential issues or delays on the day.

How To Maintain Your Trees After Lopping

Tree lopping is not a one-and-done task - it's an ongoing process of maintenance and care. To keep your trees healthy and looking their best after lopping, here are some tips to follow:

Water Regularly

Freshly pruned trees may be more susceptible to drought stress, so make sure they are getting enough water, especially during dry spells. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 buckets per week for small trees and 4-5 buckets for larger ones.

Mulch Around Base

Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree can help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Just make sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to avoid rot.

Fertilise Annually

Giving your trees a balanced fertiliser once a year can help boost their growth and vitality. Look for a slow-release formula that is specifically designed for the type of tree you have and follow the application instructions carefully.

Monitor For Pests

Regularly inspect your trees for signs of pest or disease issues, such as discoloured leaves, sticky residue, or abnormal growths. Catching these problems early can make them much easier to treat and prevent spreading.

Prune Regularly

Lastly, keep up with regular pruning and maintenance as recommended by your arborist. This may involve an annual check-up and light prune, or more frequent visits for fast-growing or high-maintenance trees.

Your tree lopper in Sydney should provide you with specific aftercare instructions based on the type of trees you have and the work that was done. Don't hesitate to ask them for advice or recommendations on how to keep your trees in top shape.

Cost Of Tree Lopping In Sydney

Of course, one of the biggest factors in choosing a tree lopper is the cost. The price of tree lopping in Sydney can vary widely depending on a range of factors, such as:

  • Size and location of tree
  • Type and condition of tree
  • Complexity and risk of job
  • Access and equipment required
  • Time and labour involved
  • Qualifications and experience of arborist
  • Inclusion of extras like mulching or waste removal

As a rough guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 for a small pruning job up to $2000 or more for large tree removals in Sydney. Stump grinding, if required, will also add to the overall cost.

To give you a more specific idea, here are some average price ranges for common tree lopping services in Sydney:

Service Small Tree (3-5m) Medium Tree (5-10m) Large Tree (10m+)
Pruning/Shaping $250 - $500 $500 - $1000 $1000 - $2000+
Removal & Stump Grinding $400 - $800 $800 - $1500 $1500 - $5000+
Hedging & Shaping $60 - $120 per hour - -
Deadwooding $200 - $500 $500 - $1000 $1000 - $2000+
Palm Cleaning/Removal $80 - $400 $400 - $1000 $1000 - $2500+

These prices should be used as a general guide only. The best way to get an accurate quote is to have a tree lopper inspect the tree(s) in person and provide a written estimate based on your specific needs.

When comparing quotes from different providers, make sure you are clear on what is included and excluded in the price. Some cheaper quotes may not include things like council permits, traffic control, or waste removal, which can add significant costs to the final bill.

Affordable Dan's Tree Services are leading tree loppers Sydney

Need Help Choosing A Tree Lopper In Sydney?

Choosing the right tree lopper is a big decision that can have a significant impact on the health and safety of your trees and property. By following the tips and advice in this guide, you can feel confident in selecting a qualified, experienced, and reputable arborist who will do the job right.

If you need help finding a reliable tree lopper in Sydney, look no further than Affordable Dan's Tree Services. With over X years of experience and a team of fully qualified arborists, we offer a full range of professional tree care services across Sydney, including removals, pruning, stump grinding and more.

Our focus is on providing safe, efficient, and affordable tree solutions that enhance the beauty and value of your property. We use the latest equipment and techniques to ensure the best outcome for your trees, and always put customer satisfaction first.

To get a free quote and expert advice on your tree lopping needs, contact us today on 0414 638 360 or send us an email via our online contact form. One of our friendly team members will get back to you promptly to discuss your requirements and arrange a convenient time for a site visit.

Don't trust your valuable trees to just anyone - choose the tree lopping professionals at Affordable Dan's and have peace of mind that you're making the right choice.

Tree Lopping Sydney FAQs

In most cases, you are allowed to prune or lop your own trees on private property in Sydney. However, there are strict rules around which trees can be removed or heavily pruned without council approval. Fines of up to $1.1 million can apply for illegal tree work, so it's important to check with your local council before doing anything major. Even if it is legal, lopping your own trees can be extremely dangerous and is not recommended unless you have the proper training and equipment.

Yes, anyone carrying out tree lopping work in Sydney must hold a valid qualification in arboriculture, such as a Certificate III or higher. This ensures that they have the knowledge and skills to perform the work safely and to industry standards. Be wary of any tree loppers who cannot provide proof of their qualifications, as they may be operating illegally or have inadequate training.

The frequency of tree lopping depends on the type, size, and location of the tree, as well as your desired outcome. Most trees benefit from light pruning every 1-2 years to remove dead or damaged branches and maintain their shape. However, some fast-growing or hazardous trees may need more frequent attention. Your tree lopper can advise you on the best schedule for your specific trees based on a thorough assessment.

No, you cannot authorise a tree lopper to work on a tree that is not on your property, even if it is overhanging your land. The tree belongs to the person whose land it is growing on, and they are responsible for its maintenance. If you have concerns about a neighbour's tree, the first step is to talk to them and try to reach an agreement. If the tree is dangerous or causing damage, you can contact your local council for assistance. In some cases, you may have the right to prune parts of the tree that overhang your property boundary, but it is always best to seek legal advice before taking matters into your own hands.

The best time to lop trees in Sydney is during late winter or early spring, when the tree is dormant and there is less risk of shock or disease. Lopping at this time allows the tree to heal quickly as it comes into the growing season. That said, dead or hazardous branches can be removed at any time of year for safety reasons. Avoid lopping in late spring or summer when the tree is actively growing, as this can cause unnecessary stress.

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