Whether they’re on a golf course, home backyard or park, trees are an important part of any good property. As such, it is vital that they are protected, maintained and looked after effectively. A qualified tree surgeon can help ensure the wellbeing of the trees on your site.

An arborist report provides information on the health of a tree or shrub, especially in relation to its environmental and cultural context. They can help with the management and/or development of trees on an area of land. They can also help determine whether or not a tree or shrub should be removed.

There are many reasons why you might want to get an arborist report. This article will outline those reasons as well as how to acquire one and what to expect during the process.


When you might need an arborist report

You’ll generally need to get the document if you’re planning on starting a new development (whether it’s a new housing estate or putting a pool in the backyard), intending to work on a heritage listed site, or are wanting to remove a tree. Essentially, if a tree is likely to be affected by your actions, you’ll probably need one. Check with your local council for more information.

Not getting an arborist report could lead to a range of negative consequences. Your developmental project could be delayed, the ecosystem of the land could be tarnished (leading to loss of wildlife, spread of weeds and diseases etc.), you may be fined or restricted from developing by your local council, and/or you could lose essential trees or cause damage to people or property.


What information they provide

An arborist report is a legal document which can hold up in court. It outlines a range of recommendations and conclusions about the state of a site and its trees which can be used by governing authorities such as councils, architects or developers. They provide specific information such as:

  • The client, document’s purpose and site details
  • The specialist’s details and the methodology used in the document
  • Tables including each tree’s species, age, condition, height, hazard assessment and lifespan estimate
  • Site summary, including structures, soil, weather exposure, human intervention effects and landscape
  • Any past disease or pest problems
  • Evidence including photos and test results
  • Discussion on options for reducing damage via preventative measures across all stages of development
  • Recommendations, reasoning and references for action that should be taken.

That’s a lot of important information! You might be wondering who the person doing all this work is. Which leads us to part three.


Who does the work and what qualifications they have

As the name suggests, a tree surgeon specialises in working with trees. They carry out tree health inspections and assessments, pruning, land clearing and tree removals.

To work as a tree surgeon, a Certificate 3 is required, though some specialists may have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. To get an arborist report, however, you’ll generally need someone who has a Diploma of Horticulture (Agriculture) and ideally you want to hire someone who is a member of one of the industry’s authority bodies. Their qualifications, name and contact details must be included in the document.



Obtaining an arborist report is an essential part of any site development project. Getting one can help speed up the process of your project by preventing delays and other frustrations. It can also help ensure that any trees which are at risk of falling or causing damage to land or property are dealt with appropriately. This can improve your property’s value and safety.