Arbor Age

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The White Cypress

The White Cypress is sought after by many, for different reasons. There is no doubt, the future of this classic beauty must be carefully considered.

Often referred to as a Pine Tree, this look-alike belongs to the Cupressaceae family. Its botanical name Callitris glaucophylla originates from Greek words – Glaucos meaning silvery or bluish-green and phyllon, referring to leaf. Crush a leaf and it will expel a fresh pine scent.

On sandy soils and well-drained slopes, where it prefers to grow, this narrow upright tree can reach 20 metres. On skeletal soils, it is often supplanted by Black Cypress (C. endlicheri) – distinguishable by its greener foliage and egg-shaped cones; the cones of White Cypress are globular shaped.

Male and female cones are found on the same tree, and during winter, the male cones shed masses of pollen relying on wind to transfer their pollen to female cones. Later in the season, the cones split open to shed their small winged seeds. Regeneration comes from seedlings buried in the ground rather than buds.

Unlike many Australian species, the White Cypress is not resistant to fire and excessive burning makes regeneration near impossible. Fire suppresses seed production, which leaves damaged trees vulnerable to predatory wasp attacks.

Sheep and cattle (and rabbits) also suppress the growth and survival of seedlings when broad scale clearing occurs. Earlier this year the Queensland Government banned broad scale clearing of remnant vegetation and graziers are now required to apply for approvals to clear any vegetation for feeding livestock.

Alternatively, some land managers are now replanting White Cypress with the goal of sustainably harvesting its highly prized honey coloured timber. So-called Cypress Pine is well-known for its resistance to decay in the ground and attacks by white ants, termites and Lyctus borers; so doesn’t require treatment and is safer for commercial use. It has very small shrinkage on seasoning and is widely used in the building industry.

White Cypress is deemed as a most important native species by commercial forestry and there has been much debate about its harvesting from natural stands. In 2013, the NSW Premier asked the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to investigate active and adaptive management of Cypress forests in the State Conservation Areas of the Pilliga, namely Brigalow and Nandewar.

Research carried out by the Commission suggested that ecological thinning of dense Cypress forests would actually benefit biodiversity, if applied at patch scales rather than broad landscape scales. The report recommended that additional interventions such as targeting grazing and prescribed burning be available as options where appropriate.

Timber managers, running out of areas to log, were hopeful the report would secure the industry’s future. However, the Government did not accept the Commission’s recommendations.

Other Uses

The White Cypress has a strong place in Aboriginal culture; its timber once was used to make woomeras, canoe poles and spear shafts, while its resin provided waterproof adhesive. The wood has a characteristic resinous odour and a slightly greasy feel and it is the oil distilled from the wood that is now sought by emerging companies. It has an incredible soothing and grounding property and is used widely as a fixative in perfumery and, more recently, in anti-anxiety aromatic medicine.

White Cypress and Wildlife

Unlike exotic pines, White Cypress are important habitat for birds and mammals alike. The thick fibrous bark supports an abundant supply of grubs bringing insect-eating birds to forage. Grey-crowned Babbler and Apostle Birds love to forage in foliage and on ground nearby. Parrots and cockatoos feed on seed-bearing cones while dead trees provide hollows for insectivorous bats and reptiles. Pollen yielded in useful quantities benefits bees.

Nest entrances of the Funnel Ant (Aphaenogaster Barbigula) are a common ground feature over extensive areas of sandy soils dominated by Cypress in Eastern Australia. The deep cavities they excavate play an important role in altering both the physical properties of the soil and its hydrology.

An Underestimated Garden Specimen

Land care groups encourage residents to plant native Cypress instead of ubiquitous exotic conifers. Toowoomba Regional Council, with the help of volunteers, grows native Cypress species at the Crows Nest Community Nursery. Volunteer Patricia Gardner has an amazing blog showing many of the local native plants.

Supervisor Nursery Operations Lisa Churchward said people could get confused when buying Cypress as it is a common name given to a lot of nursery plants including both exotic and native.

“Being able to tell the difference comes down to education and the use of botanic names in place of common,” Ms Churchward said.

“In a cultivated situation native Cypress are a great ornamental tree reaching a height of 18 metres. When maintaining trees it is best to make sure they are maintained to a single trunk as multi branching down low can cause the tree to split.”

Callitris Mistletoe (Muellerina bidwilli)

This rarely observed mistletoe specialises on native Cypress (Callitris species) and is mostly western in its distribution. As the Brigalow Belt encompasses large swathes of Callitris, for example the Pilliga Scrub in centralwestern New South Wales, mistletoe is commonly found. It is absent from Stradbroke Island but does occur on both Moreton and Fraser Islands.

December 10, 2018 / by / in
Aerial Rescue Vermeer’s Annual Arborist Seminar Series

Vermeer’s annual Arborist Seminar Series concluded in Adelaide last month, after a successful series of events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

This year’s series topic was Aerial Rescue – providing assistance to a stuck or injured climber who is not able to get themselves down. More than just an important topic for any tree crew to be proficient in, provision for aerial rescue has been a legislated requirement on Australian tree work sites since 2016.

The 2018 series continued the established two-day format, with day one providing a foundation of theory and day two devoted to hands-on workshopping of techniques. This year Vermeer introduced a team of industry renowned co-presenters to support Lead Presenter Joe Harris across each location.

The 2018 seminar curriculum was based on the techniques and information found in the new Aerial Rescue Minimum Industry Standards, recently published by Arboriculture Australia Ltd.

During the seminars on day one the presenters explored topics like prevention and planning, accident warning signs, responding to an aerial emergency, types of rescues and rescue techniques. Building upon this knowledge, Joe and co-presenters Henk Morgans, William Mittins, Sam Hardingham and Barton Allan-Hall facilitated and supervised the completion of a simulated aerial rescue with attendees during the hands-on day two workshops.

Basic and complex rescue techniques were practiced, from scenarios where the wounded climber is responding and requires aerial assistance, through to situations with non-responsive casualties in the most challenging of aerial scenarios. Each simulated rescue utilised the group’s collective knowledge, with both the ground grew and climbing rescuer engaged to ensure a successful rescue.

Excerpts of the Aerial Rescue Minimum Industry Standard were provided to participants as part of the seminar course materials, providing a reference for ongoing practice of the techniques learnt during the seminars.

About The Minimum Industry Standards Series Books

The Minimum Industry Standards series, a first for the Australian Arboriculture industry, are industry-validated and peer-reviewed documents which describe safe and current methods of conducting work on Australian tree sites. These books have been developed by Joe Harris and Arboriculture Australia, and represent a significant step forward for the industry

So far, four variations of these Minimum Industry Standards books are available to purchase at Vermeer’s dealerships in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The list of books, which will be expanded upon, currently includes:

Aerial Rescue; Tree Dismantling; Arborist Ropes; and Arborist Knots

Meet The 2018 Series Presenters

Joe Harris: Once again participants were fortunate to have internationally recognised trainer, tree climbing champion and all-round nice guy Joe Harris on board as lead instructor to share his extensive commercial and competitive climbing experience.

Henk Morgans: Henk, a multiple-time competition winner who has represented Australia at international tree climbing events, co-presented with Joe at the Brisbane seminars.

Sam Hardingham and William Mittins Sam and Will educated and entertained participants at the Sydney seminars. Sam has won both previous Red Bull Branched Out tree climbing competitions, while William has over 20 years commercial climbing experience and is a contributor to the NSW Arboriculture Association and the National Practicing Arborist Committee.

Barton Allan-Hall: Barton is a four-time Australian tree climbing champion and previous world silver medalist. He is the current Australian tree climbing champion. Barton co-presented with Joe at both the Melbourne and Adelaide seminars.

Vermeer would like to thank all participants and presenters for their contribution to another successful Vermeer Arborist Seminar Series.

For more information on the series, including photos from each seminar, see  http://vermeer.

For more information visit

December 7, 2018 / by / in
The Tree Assessment

A technique for enhancing the assessment of the structural condition of a Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis (Sm.) using the combination of IML Resi’ PD400, Sonic PiCUS Tomograph (PiT) and Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT) instruments.


A recent health and structural assessment of a street tree in the Ku-ring-gai Municipal area used the combination of IML Resi’ PD400, PiCUS Sonic Tomograph (SoT) and Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT) to assess the tree for decay and the risks associated with structural decline. The assessment concluded that the tree was of relative sound health and structure based on the combination of three techniques despite the tree showing indications of internal decay. The outcome would not have been the same if the assessment was limited to the PiCUS software (SoT) alone because the ERT identified the presence of adaptive growth which the Resi’ confirmed as sound wood at these locations. This technique shows promise for the assessment of older trees with decay and allows the better quantification of the internal decay based on a combination of factors so that tree risk assessments can be made on an individual tree and quantitative basis.


The assessment of trees for their structural soundness is important to identify the risks associated with maintaining a potentially hazardous tree. In addition, trees of structural soundness in urban environments provide a range of other benefits i.e. habitat, aesthetics, carbon sequestration and recreation. The street tree in this report was identified by the Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council as a potential risk to the safety of pedestrians and motorists, with potential impacts to services, adjacent residences and recreational areas. The tree is approximately 18 m high with a diameter at breast height (@1.4m) of 121cm.

The stage of the growth of the tree was considered as mature.

The tree was dominant in the street setting and provides medium wildlife habitat value. On initial visual assessment the tree had a least one, open decay cavity at 3m above ground level (agl), in the northern stem quadrant. There were no visual signs of animal activity. The tree was relatively symmetrical in form with canopy loading in a northerly direction (Figure 1). The crown density was about 90 per cent compared to that for the genus and species when in good condition and of normal vigour.

There were some abiotic impacts including a footpath and roadway to the east and western sides of the tree. There had also been some historical pruning resulting in the regrowth of epicormic into endocormic branching.


The tree health and structure was assessed using a Tree Risk Assessment methodology as outlined by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Best Management Practices for Risk Assessment 2011. This included a visual tree assessment (VTA) to identify tree characteristics and potential hazards at the ground, in the stem and in the upper canopy.

The basic level 2 assessment identified the presence of an extensive columnar, basal decay interconnecting with an open decay cavity at 3m above the ground (agl) and at the crown union. Pathogenic wood decay from fungal colonisation was suspected however no fruiting bodies were evident. The presence of this external decay escalated the inspection to an advanced ‘level 3’ which required further investigation of the decay.

The advanced Level 3 assessment used PiCUS 3 Sonic Tomograph (SoT) and PiCUS TreeTronic Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT) (Argus Electronic GmbH, Rostock, Germany) to assess the presence and location of decay in the tree stem as well as the size, shape and characteristics in terms of mechanical properties of the area of interest(Wang and Allison, 2008). While both these techniques are non-invasive the combination of the SoT and ERT methods can help overcome the limitations of either technique being used in isolation and can provide a better conclusion about the trees structural condition.

The SoT and ERT assessments were carried out at the buttress (figure 2a), at the open decay cavity at 3m above ground level (agl) and at the crown union, 4m agl (figure 2b). The IML Resi’ PD400 (IML Instrumenta, Mechanik Labor Systems, GmbH, Wiesloch, Germany) was only used at the crown union (at 4m agl) (Figure 3a). While the first two tools identify the location and extent of decay, the IML Resi’ PD400 resistograph tool confirms the presence of response adaptive growth by comparing the resistance (density) of adaptive growth and stem thickening at these locations against a sample of resistance (density) from solid wood in the same tree. Response adaptive growth is interpreted as the tree’s response to structural weakness, decay, stem movement and increase in wood growth thickening (additional layers of wood) or joining (welding) at branch unions. All measures were taken in January 2018.

PiCUS Sonic Tomographs (SoT)

The SoT method measures internal decay using sound waves with the principle being that sound waves travel slower through decay when compared to solid wood (Gilbert and Smiley, 2004). This is done using a series of sonic sensors (receivers) which are placed around the stem using a series of small pins to record the signals. The pins are tapped manually with an electronic hammer and the velocity of the sound waves and geometry of the sound waves are recorded as a tomogram (graph). The tomogram shows the relative and apparent ability of the wood to transmit acoustic waves while the different colours in the tomograph correlate to mechanical wood quality (modulus of elasticity), a measure consistent with the mechanical structure of the wood at the cross-section of the stem where it is measured.

PiCUS Treetronic Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT)

The ERT on the other hand uses a low electric voltage to examine the tree and provide a high-resolution electrical conductivity map of the tree’s cross-section (Goncz et. al., 2017). The electric resistance of the wood is influenced by the water content and changes within the wood structure. The resulting tomograms are coded with a blue, green, yellow and red colour range showing blue as areas of low resistance and high-water content (potential decay), through to red showing high resistance and low water content. ERT tomograms are specific to individual tree species as each tree has its own typical electrical resistance distribution. The combination of electrical and sonic tomography in the PiCUS Treetonic system provide a detailed survey allowing more accurate differentiation of various internal defects (Brazee et al., 2011). Both the SoT and the ERT assessments were carried out at the buttress (Figure 4), at 3m above ground level (agl) and crown union 4m agl (Figure 5).

IML Resi’ PD400

In addition to these two methods, resistance testing using an IML Resi’ PD 400 was also used at five positions, at the attachment points of the 1st order structural stems within the crown union. The location of the IML Resi’ PD400 tests are shown in Figure 3a and 3b where each drill location provides a cross-section of the resistance of the wood against the drill bit. The IML Resi’ PD400 instrument assesses resistance to the drill bit of the instrument through the wood and this is then displayed as a graph. The path of the drill bit was selected from cross-sections of the crown union using the SoT and ERT tomographs. Each resistance drill test was compared to a sound wood comparison drill test identified upon the subject tree. This allows a correlation to be made with sound wood and to better identify weakened decaying wood or response adaptive growth.

Where there is higher resistance compared to the sound wood, this indicates wood of a higher amplitude (low moisture content – red in colour on ERT tomograph when integrated with SoT tomograph) and where there is lower resistance this indicates incipient early decay, compromised or decayed wood (higher moisture content – blue in colour on the ERT tomograph when integrated with SoT tomograph). This measure of internal wood resistance is used as an index of wood density at different positions and can be used within the crown union in areas subject to response adaptive growth, to confirm a sound structure.

Strength Retention Formula

In addition to these measures, the t/R ratio is described as the thickness of sound wood in the residual wall(s) of the section of the stem being measured. In this case we compare the ratio of the thickness of the wood of the stem or branch tested, at each location; to the radius of the trunk or branch. 30-35 per cent is the minimum threshold for a tree part (trunk or branch) wall section, to be considered of sound integrity (Mattheck and Breloer, 1994)(see internal red line in figures 6a, 7a and 8a).

Limitations of the t/R Formula

The conventional t/R ratio test is based on field studies of vertical, cylindrical trunks with the decay centrally located and uniform. When the stem is leaning, asymmetrical in shape, or the decay is off centre, the guidelines for shell wall thickness should be used very cautiously. The greater the disparity in shape, away from a cylinder or decay off centre, the greater the inaccuracy. The t/R was used as a guide only in the assessment to assist in the trees risk rating determination. Additional data such as location of decay, presence of response growth, direction of loadings, size and age of tree, wind exposure, etc. are also considered to complement the t/R results and to determine a more accurate likelihood of failure and final recommendation.

Results and discussion PiCUS Sonic tomograph (SoT) and Treetronic Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT)

At the first location (base of tree), the cross-section of the wood shows approximately 24 per cent of wood was solid on the circumference of the tree stem with some relatively symmetrical, internal columnar decay, representing 76 per cent of the trunk comprised of decay and incipient wood. The results of the SoT and ERT tomograph at location 1 (the tree base) are shown in figure 6. Table 1 gives the key to interpreting figures 6, 7 and 8. The numbers in figure 6 represent the status of the wood according to the SoT and ERT tomograph key (Table 1).

The second test location tomograph’s (Figure 7), show an open decay cavity at 3m displayed, presenting as an asymmetrical open internal, columnar decay. The cross-section of the wood shows 39 per cent of solid wood on the circumference of the tree stem with some asymmetrical internal columnar decay represented by 51 per cent of decay and10 per cent incipient or altered wood. The results of the SoT and ERT tomograph at test location 2 are shown in figure 7a and b. The numbers in figure 7a and b represent the status of the wood according to the SoT and ERT tomograph key (Table 1).

IML Resi’ PD400

The third location showed an internal decay cavity at the crown union at 4m agl. The cross-section of the wood shows 31 per cent of solid wood with 53 per cent of decay and 16 per cent incipient or altered wood. The IML PD400 resi’ tests at this location identified small pockets of response adaptive growth, as shown by the red areas (high ERT resistivity) in the ERT diagram in figure 8b. The results of the SoT and ERT tomograph at test location 3, at the crown union 1st OSS are shown in figure 8. The numbers in figure 8a and b represent the status of the wood according to the SoT and ERT tomograph key (Table 1).

The IML Resi’ PD400 test locations were identified with reference to the ERT and SoT measuring points (mp) as areas of high ERT resistance. At the 1st OSS attachment union each of the five IML Resi’ PD400 results showed wood with good resistance and adaptive growth welds which contribute to stem strengthening at this location (Figure 9).

Figure 9 shows an example of one, of the five, IML Resi’ PD400 resistograph test locations. The IML Resi’ PD400 resonance testing is shown for location 3 (adjacent to ERT mp 12) in the crown union of the 1st OSS. The resulting resistograph identifies generally good resistance (compared to solid wood), potentially indicating response growth (due to branch welds or strengthening wood), with a small pocket of compromised wood at 16-17 cm. The assessment table under the resistograph summarises the resistance measure in cm from the start through to the end of the drill cross-section.

The Final Decision

The determination to retain this tree was based on a combination of the following decision making steps:

  • An analysis of the quality of wood at each defective tree part (Basal SS, open decay cavity 3m agl and crown union SS 4m agl)
  • The risk rating of each defective tree part and whether each reached the failure criteria where t/R was decided upon with evaluation and consideration of: PiT (Volume and location of decay and residual wall thickness and location);
  • ERT (Volume and location of response growth versus decay and location);
  • Confirmation of response growth thickening within the crown union with use IML Resi’ PD400;
  • The subject trees visual body language;
  • The loading on the defective tree parts; and
  • The target trees likelihood of failure, and the impact and consequences of failure


The three scientific decay analysis tools used in this discussion paper included the IML Resi’ PD400, Sonic PiCUS Tomograph (SoT) and the Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT). Using these results in combination with the other important risk considerations provides a new and insightful basis for determining the soundness of large landscape trees. This is particularly useful where visual assessment alone may ordinarily prove difficult to provide enough information for retention as opposed to removal. In addition, with the PiCUS assessment tool alone the tree would have been likely condemned by most PiCUS operators (Arborists) due to the presence of decay. However, with the introduction of ERT tool used in conjunction with SoT, showed that the strength of the timber in the residual walls of this tree were determined to be of sufficient strength for its size and the amount decay present, and hence the tree was recommended for retention. The use of IML Resi PD400 in association with ERT has confirmed sufficient response adaptive growth in the crown union which identifies areas of high resistance reducing the risk of stem failure and the potential for public risk.


  • Bieker, D., Kehr, R., Weber, G., Rust, S. (2010) Non-destructive monitoring of early stages of white rot by Trametes versicolor in Fraxinus excelsior. Ann. For. Sci. 67(2):210.
  • Gilbert, E., Smiley, E.T. (2004) PiCUS sonic tomography for the quantification of decay in white oak (Quercus Alba) and Hickory (Carya spp.) J. Arb. 30(5): 277-281.
  • Goncz, B., Divos, F., Bejo, L. (2016) Detecting the presence of red heart in beech (Fagus Sylvatica) using electrical voltage and resistance measurements. Eur, J. Wood Prod. DOI 10.1007/s00107-017-1225-4. Mattheck, C., Breloer, H. (1994) Field guide for visual tree assessment (VTA) 18(1): 1-23.
  • Nicolotti, G., Socco, L.V., Martinis, R., Godio, A., Sambuelli, L. (2003) Application and comparison of three tomographic techniques for detection of decay in trees. J. Arb. 29(2): 66-78.
  • Wang, X., Allison, R.B. (2008) Decay detection in red oak trees using a combination of visual inspection, acoustic testing and resistance micro-drilling. Arb & Urban For. 34(1):1-4.
  • Note: this technical paper has been shortened for publication purposes and the original full sized paper is available upon request from the author.
December 5, 2018 / by / in
Introducing Husqvarna X-Cut®

The Husqvarna X-Cut® is the world’s first original Husqvarna saw chain. It’s designed for a single purpose: to optimise the performance of your Husqvarna chainsaw – and thereby maximise your output.

The highly anticipated X-Cut® chain for professionals is finally here. Developed, designed and manufactured using the most advanced technologies and rigorous quality control. With a long-lasting sharpness, an outstanding durability and high cutting efficiency, it is made for minimum down time and maximum results.

Sharpness that Lasts

The design of the cutters, the materials used and the manufacturing processes have all been refined to the extreme.  This gives the X-Cut® saw chain an outstanding sharpness straight out of the box, and also – perhaps more importantly – a sharpness that lasts considerably longer before filing is needed.

Low Stretch

The X-Cut® saw chain is pre-stretched at the factory, which means you will be able to work longer before it needs re-tensioning. No unnecessary adjustments will slow you down, and the risk of damaging the cutting system with a slacking saw chain is decreased significantly.

High Cutting Efficiency

The X-Cut® saw chain is made to cut faster and smoother than comparable products, and it is ready to be used right out of the box. This improves your cutting efficiency and thereby your results. At the same time, less human effort (feed force) is needed, making the whole work experience easier on your body.

Optimal Cutting Angle

The angle of the cutter is crucial for your long-term efficiency. The tighter you make this angle, the higher the sharpness – but if you overdo it, the cutter will lose its sharpness faster and break easier. With X-Cut®, Husqvarna has focused on finding the optimum angle for an efficiency that lasts.

Chrome and Steel exactly Measured

The microstructure of the steel – not too hard, not too soft – and the chrome layer– not too thick, not too thin – have both been exactly defined on a molecular level. This ensures a high cutting capacity and a lasting sharpness.

Superior Lubrication

Small, arrow-shaped channels in the links help transport oil all high friction zones during operation, ensuring a superior lubrication.

Optimal Heat Treatment

For the hardening, Husqvarna has developed its own unique method of making the steel as durable as possible. This includes optimal heat treatment as well as optimal cooling – creating a molecular structure that provides an incredibly durable saw chain.

Developed by Engineers

True to Husqvarna’s heritage, the chain has been developed in close collaboration between engineers and professional loggers. With the ambition to design a chain that increases productivity, the engineers and loggers have worked together to perfect the chain.

“For me, logging is a passion and a business, where high performance means high productivity and better profit.

I’m proud to have been part of the development of X-Cut® and excited that there is now a chain specially designed for my Husqvarna chainsaws”, says Lars Strandell, multiple World Logging Champion with 30 years of professional logging on his record.

Production Built from Scratch

The saw chain factory in Huskvarna employs more than 100 people and is strategically located beside the chainsaw R&D and factory. All parts of the saw chain are manufactured on-site, from raw steel to finished product, reducing dependency on external suppliers and securing quality of the chain. The factory is designed to be environmental impact neutral, and uses state of the art technology to recycle both chemicals and energy


Husqvarna X-Cut® is now available instore at your local authorised Husqvarna Servicing Dealer, in two variants: C85 3/8” full chisel, and SPG33 .325” semi chisel chain. Both are sharp out of the box, pre-stretched, highly durable, and easy to spot due to the golden tie-strap that helps users keep track of the start/finish of their filing loop.

For more information, visit

December 3, 2018 / by / in
Made In Australia

Australian owned Lucas Mill paved its way to become a successful sawmills manufacturer with machines sold in more than 100 countries in the world.

From a small farm shed in North East Victoria, the Lucas family established Lucas Mill Pty Ltd in March 1994. At the commencement of operations the goal was simple – to earn a sufficient income to sustain the Lucas families.

With limited expectations, it came as a welcome surprise that orders for more than 50 machines were placed in the first month of manufacturing.

Today over 17,000 machines have been sold into more than 100 different countries around the world. What a magnificent achievement for manufacturing in rural Australia!

The Lucas Portable Sawmill has become an increasingly well recognised piece of machinery amongst the farming and timber communities of Australia. The portable Lucas Mill can be transported to almost any location and set up to select harvest timber with minimal impact to the surrounding environment.

Whether your project is cutting timber for private fencing, building or furniture making; or if you are a sub-contractor, there is no doubt that there is a strong demand for a quality Australian made product such as the Lucas Mill.

Lucas Mill attends between 40 – 50 field days and shows across Australia each year where they provide live demonstrations of their portable mills.

Five different circular swing-blade machines are in production, ranging from a 6-inch model up to a 10-inch model. Options are available for each model including slabbing, planning, sanding and weatherboard attachments.

If you would like to learn more about the Lucas Mill call (03) 5728 7283 or visit

November 30, 2018 / by / in
Embrace The Change

Is the thinking you have now, going to get you where you want to be?

What do you want for your business in the future? Is it grinding away at day-to- day business, the struggle to keep up with the mountain of paperwork, chasing down invoices that are due, losing paperwork, Inability to read the handwritten information?

Tree HQ can help your business by streamlining all your information. Track inquiries, create appointments, quotes and jobs, send invoices and has reporting functions. Your time is valuable, and our workflow efficiencies mean more jobs are booked, coordinated and completed through the ease of your devices.

As we always have devices nearby we are able to embrace cutting edge technology and create better systems for you as a business owner and for your team. Tree HQ allows for greater communication and the opportunity to improve customer service for your clients. Tree HQ can streamline expenses and improve your profit margin and allow for greater use of your time.

Tree HQ is a cloud-based workflow management system created and designed by qualified arborist Len McKeown to work for his business. He is passionate about how Tree HQ has improved his business and wanted to share that with others. Lens desire is to innovate and become a voice for business within Arboriculture.

Tree HQ is an application available on Desktop, IOS and Android devices. From Inquiries, appointments, quotes, jobs and payments you can track each step of your business. Tree HQ has revolutionised the way you can do business with less paperwork and more structure it results in major time savings.

With an Internet connection at your fingertips, a cloud-based platform allows you to store all your files and database in the cloud. No more storage capacity overload or losing files that were incorrectly saved. The cloud is a secure way to keep your records accessible. Reduce your workflow time and have control of your business from the office to the work site. Make smarter choices for your business by choosing to use Tree HQ.

We have three logins available to cover your team members. Admin: gives you access to all of Tree HQ, access to all calendars, quotes, jobs and company details.

Sales Rep: for your estimators, they will have access to their calendar, quotes and jobs.

Supervisors: for your crew, they will have access to jobs that are assigned to them and will not see prices.

We would suggest that you contact our office on [email protected] and we can help set up your account. You will need to fill out business details and other information for the app to function.

Listed below are the features and functions of Tree HQ, it is an invaluable tool created to help your business succeed and get you where you want to be.

Information about your potential clients is entered only once. This information then becomes part of your client database

All the info has instant accessibility from your desktop and any of your linked mobile devices and can be updated/ altered by any of them if needed

  • Customise quotes for every client – add pictures, videos or supporting documents
  • Cloud-based, keep your storage free on your devices
  • Tree HQ covers OHS procedures for risk assessments
  • Mark workers on the job site
  • Link with MYOB essentials or Xero accounting packages
  • Assign equipment to jobs
  • Marketing & profit/cost reporting
  • Add multiple Terms and Conditions
  • Colour coordinated calendars
  • Affordable plans
  • Integrate a contact form to your website to get inquiries sent straight through to the app using HTML code or key

Document each step from quoting with your clients, show your team exactly what is wanted at the job, take before, and after videos of the work, these can be beneficial for a business.

We are locally created and based in Melbourne, VIC and is available in AU, NZ, UK and USA. A local Melbourne developer now manages tree HQ, and we are excited about this new partnership.

With a few steps, you can sign up today with no obligations, no fees for the first 30days. Over the month of the trial, you can see how this program can work and fit into your business. It’s as simple as heading to our website click start trial or scroll to the bottom and input your company information. As an introductory offer, we are prepared to build a basic website for free subject to terms and conditions which can be explained by contacting our office.

Take a step toward a better future for your business.

We understand that new systems and technology can be daunting, but we are here to help. More than happy to organise a time/day to go through all the features and functions, help set up your account or to have a chat first.

For more information visit or call 1300 106 033.

November 28, 2018 / by / in
All Jobs

When looking to pair a loader and optimal attachments for all vegetation management jobs, look no further than Avant Mini Loader and Slanetrac Attachments.

Avant Mini Articulated Loaders are designed to enable operators to proactively increase efficiency and versatility without increasing staff or responsibilities, while simultaneously improving operator comfort and work quality.

Avant mini loaders target visibility, efficiency, lift capacity and power. With the telescopic boom, the loader powers a lift capacity up to 1500kg and up to 3.1 meters lift height. The unique articulated chassis and steering allows operators to move across a variety of terrains without damaging them, which is especially important during vegetation management. Unlike Skid Steer loaders, Avant Loaders can be used in any environment including State Forests, National Park and wildlife areas as well as properties.

Despite the increase in power, comfort and versatility, Avant doesn’t compromise on safety. The load sensor system provides an audible warning if the rear wheels are about to lift off the ground while the Avant quick hitch system allows fast, easy and safe attachment coupling.

Slanetrac attachments Manufactured in the UK, the specialist mini digger attachments can be used across a wide range of work sites and jobs making businesses more versatile and efficient. Read on for more information on each attachment and how it can be used.

HS55 Saw Head

The Slanetrac HS55 Mini Digger Saw Head Attachment is available for mini diggers ranging from 2 ton to 7.5 ton. With an ability to cut up to 150mm diameter material, the Slanetrac HS55 Saw Head Attachment is a great tool that can deal with rougher, thicker hedges and bows whilst still having the ability to produce neat, tidy hedges – with clean cuts with more satisfactory conditions for re-growth – fast, efficiently and safely. Also available: HS75 Saw Head.

HC150 Hedge Cutter Bar

The Slanetrac HC150 Mini Digger Finger Bar Hedge Cutter Attachment suits a wide range of machines. With a cutting thickness of up to 40mm the Slanetrac HC Series Mini Digger Finger Bar Hedge Cutter offers clean cuts allowing for neat, tidy hedges with more satisfactory conditions for re-growth compared to flail cutting attachments as well as ensuring minimum disturbance for wild life. Also available: HC180 Hedge Cutter.

FH80 Flail Cutter

The Slanetrac FH80 Mini Digger Flail Cutter Attachment is designed for mini diggers from 1.5 ton to 2.5 ton. The robust, low maintenance Slanetrac HC Series Mini Digger Flail Cutter has individually replaceable cutting blades and comes supplied with adjustable mounting brackets to suit your particular machine and hydraulic pipes to connect to your machines rock breaker lines for fast, effortless installation. Also available: FH100 Flail Cutter.

Swivel Trim Hedge Cutter

The SA-1000 Swivel Trim Tractor Front Loader Finger Bar allows you to convert a Front Loader quickly to a Hedge Trimmer. The SA-1000 Swivel Trim Tractor Front Loader Finger Bar Hedge Trimmer is a quick and easy system allowing you to perform neat hedge trimming. This system is connected to the tractor hydraulics, so you need a tractor with a suitable hydraulic flow for it to operate properly.

Overall the Avant and Slanetrac combination offers several advantages and these include:

Cleaning overgrowth areas requires less effort and can be done faster than before thanks to the Avant and flail mower combination

The articulated steering allows use on any surface without damage unlike Skid Steer Loaders

Paired with the hedge cutters, operators can experience smooth, clean hedge cuts that look great and require little effort from their machine

The reduced machine weight offers a critical advantage for being carried on a truck. The compact size prevents overhang without compromising on how much the machine can lift

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For more information or to organise an obligation free demo, call Avant Equipment on 1800 686 411 or visit

November 26, 2018 / by / in
Whole Tree Solutions

Cutting-edge products and support improving vegetation management efficiency and productivity.

Purchasing a new chipper, whether it’s a whole-tree or brush chipper, is a significant investment. After shopping around, a leading vegetation management company made their decision to go with a manufacturer with whom they had a ten-year relationship and whose support they knew they could count on.

Treescape Australasia, part of the New Zealand-based Treescape Group, purchased the first Vermeer WC2300XL whole tree chipper sold in Australia, a whole-tree chipper with enhanced infeed and crushing capabilities. They have also since expanded their Heavy Commercial division fleet with the BC2100XL, the largest brush chipper in Vermeer’s range.

Since their purchase, these high volume chippers have helped improved efficiency, productivity and expanded Treescape’s business opportunities.

The Right Choice

Treescape chose the WC2300XL as it needed a high-capacity, towable, reliable chipper to help manage their increasing workload.

Treescape Business Manager Allan Kliese said the WC2300XL was ideal because, where the working area permitted it, it allowed Treescape to cut and stack material.

Mr Kliese said, “For us the job is about breaking the vegetation into manageable stock piles, then having chipper on site at a later stage to process the stock piles increasing the efficiencies of both the staff and processing resources.

“There’s a continual process of chipping from then on. So rather than down time of machinery with the high production of the WC2300XL and BC2100XL, full work hours can be used on stock pile of vegetation, the machine is utilised to its maximum.

“So when the chipper rolls in, the job is completed in record time and can then be moved on to the next site.”

“Staff love the machines as they don’t have to break the material down as much– due to the size of the infeed rollers on both machine’s – so it makes the sites more productive.”

“Based on the success of projects between Airle Beach and Canberra, purchasing both machines has proved to be the right choice for us,” Mr Kliese said.

A More Competitive Business

Treescape’s heavy clearing division includes a fleet Vermeer BC1800XL’s, the Vermeer WC2300XL as well as their latest BC2100XL purchase.

Mr Kliese said that in other contracts, chippers were hand fed because the materials, mostly trimmings, didn’t warrant anything bigger. However, in heavier, larger clearing jobs, the WC2300XL itself feeds the chipper, which can handle a whole tree at once.

“With the WC2300XL and BC2100XL, generally those jobs are broad felling or full tree removal, which we use our excavators on for the excavator assisted felling. Then we would stack or feed directly onto the machine’s conveyor on the WC2300XL or the large intake with the BC2100XL feeding with excavators is no issue.”

The machines have worked large jobs for Roadtek and Lend lease doing roadside vegetation clearing. Also the two chippers have had time clearing areas for Holcium in the quarries along with other civil clients for housing developments.

Mr Kliese said the WC2300XL machine has had great success in Canberra for the government’s annual Dead and Dangerous Tree Removal program, which identifies and removes the most dangerous dead trees.

The impact of these chipper’s has also made Treescape more competitive when applying for new contracts. “The main benefit for clients with the debris being processed by the machines is the product produced is far more beneficial than going through a tub or horizontal grinder,” Mr Kliese advised and along with the chipping process the more sustainable processing of stumps has shown fair better end results when the project are completed.

“Our decision was based on the local support, the reliability of our existing fleet of Vermeer chippers and the good working relationship we had with Vermeer.”

A Strong Relationship

Treescape’s relationship with Vermeer began in March 2006, after it purchased a Queensland company that ran five Vermeer chippers. Some of the chippers needed replacing so Vermeer worked with Treescape on a replacement program.

Mr Kliese said the relationship was cemented when Treescape needed to add to their fleet – and Vermeer delivered. “The sales and maintenance support has been second to none, and we have been kept informed of any new developments or changes.”

The purchase of the WC2300XL came about after Treescape started looking for a locally supported, mid-range, whole-tree chipper that was towable over 400hp.

Treescape attended a five-day show in Connecticut, US, where they saw demonstrations at the factory as well as how the machines worked in the real world. The company had wanted to know about new technology being used in the US and the manufacturing standards on the machines. During their visit to the US, the team from Treescape visited all the main chipper distributors and EWP suppliers, including the Vermeer factory in Pella Iowa, USA, which was arranged by Craig Baillie, Vermeer Australia National Sales Manager for Environmental Equipment.Mr Kliese said, “It gave us a good insight into the Vermeer history and the Vermeer product.”

“I think we looked at all chippers of that size that were suited to our market in Australia, and the factors that influenced our decision was the local support, the reliability of the existing fleet of Vermeer chippers and the good working relationship we had with Vermeer in Brisbane and at their other branches.” Mr Kliese said there was plenty of technical support and Vermeer gave a good run-down on the machine before Treescape’s first use. “Vermeer gives great advice on the machine’s maintenance needs from their experience and knowledge, having built and operated those machines around the world.”

For information visit

November 23, 2018 / by / in
Run Off Cover

I’ve closed my business; do I still need insurance cover?

Most Public and Products liability policies only provide cover against liability for damage to property or injury to person where the occurrence (damage/injury) happens during the currency of the policy. Therefore, any damage/injury that occurs after your policy expires may not be insured, unless you have taken out a replacement policy or run off cover.

If you are a sole trader, partnership or a registered company and you cease to trade you may need to maintain liability cover for goods or services that you provided in the past against any claim that may arise in the future. This cover is called Run Off cover and is available to ensure protection against future liabilities even though the business has ceased trading.

We strongly recommend that you arrange Run Off Cover, especially if you’re a sole trader or partnership or the company continues to exist and has ongoing net assets. The last thing you want in your retirement or when no longer working for yourself is a large bill that a liability policy would have responded to if an incident has occurred.

Please contact Fitzpatrick & Co to discuss your situation and to arrange a competitive quote to ensure continued protection against unexpected liabilities.

Fitzpatrick & Co have specialised in the horticulture and arboriculture industry for more than 30 years providing assistance and financial support to companies, associations and events. We are there when your industry needs you.

For more information call Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1634 or email [email protected]

November 21, 2018 / by / in
Expanding Horizons

Vegetation Processing And Clearing Equipment.

Today technology and mechanisation play a key role in extending the operational capabilities of small and large businesses while keeping skilled employees safer than ever.

In any industry it can be difficult to find enough reliable, skilled workers. This is especially challenging for tree care companies due to the highly specialised nature, and also perceived risks, of their typical working tasks.

In recent years increased mechanised assistance is becoming apparent in tree take-downs and trimming across Europe and North America, as well as projects including vegetation control along waterways and roads, to help offset this workforce shortage and ease pressures on business owners.

This shift in equipment utilisation may eventually be likened to that seen in large scale timber harvesting operations here in Australia, which until not so long ago were dominated by hand-falling crews working on the ground with chainsaws. During these times near-miss incidents, injuries and deaths were unfortunately frequent.

Over the last few decades Australian attachment supplier Forest Centre has seen this advance of mechanisation in forestry – a change which has taken skilled operators off the ground and into the safety of a machine cabin where they are able to control felling, cross-cutting and processing functions at the touch of a joystick button – and are these days receiving increasing enquiries for this level of technology for use outside of the forest.

“Our attachment range has expanded to cover 5 ton compact machines right up to 30+ ton excavators, as well as other carriers including truck mounted cranes and telehandlers” explains Forest Centre Sales manager Rey Kell, referring to a product stable of all-European brands in hydraulic grapples, rotators, tree shears and grapple saws.

“Rather than replacing skilled hand-fallers or climbers, mechanised processes using purpose-built grapple saws and tree shears can serve as a means to extend the operational capabilities of a tree care business” Rey adds “this can allow more work to be performed safely, with smaller crews, reduced operator fatigue and in less time.”

Challenging projects involving the removal of diseased or poisoned trees and storm blow-down timber for example can be approached with significantly less risk exposure for the operator.

GMT Equipment

Manufactured in the Netherlands by Gierkink Machine Techniek, GMT compact felling grapples are available in two different sizes with 35cm and 50cm cut capacity, presenting capabilities for loading, cross-cutting and falling on any machine from 5 ton class upwards that can run a regular rotating hydraulic log grapple.

Designed with a tilting upper frame and hydraulic chainsaw, the GMT grapples are essentially a scaled-down forestry directional felling head. A dangle mount rotator and swing yoke allow directional control when bringing down the cut piece whilst also reducing any torsional forces on the boom of a truck crane or smaller excavator.

A patented hydraulic valve block built into the grapple allows all controls; jaws open/close, rotate, tilt up and saw cut to be controlled by only four buttons; two valve functions and either 40 litres or 60 litres per minute minimum hydraulic flow. Unlike other compact grapple saws no electrical control modifications, wiring, remote controls or batteries are required. The hydraulic sequence valve also has a unique safety aspect in that the saw will not operate until there is a firm grip on the limb or trunk section you’re wanting to cut. The saw function can also be turned off for extended use as a loading grapple.

Larger Carriers

For more demanding tasks in cross-cutting and tree removal Forest Centre also offers both dangle and fixed mount grapple saw combinations manufactured by Vosch Equipment and Hultdins Sweden to suit larger machines.

Carriers from 10ton class excavators and upwards offer greater stability and hydraulic horsepower, opening up the possibilities for driving larger displacement saw motors with larger pitch saw chains, single cut capacities beyond 500mm and the ability to have a higher degree of directional control when withdrawing large and heavy cut pieces from the working area using positioned type rotators.

TMK Tree Shears

In some working environments such as cutting close to ground level, tree shears may be preferred due to their simple yet very durable cutting systems.

Introduced to the Australian market in April 2018 by Forest Centre, Finnish-built TMK Tree Shears are designed with a single powerful moving jaw that draws the tree across a fixed cutting blade integrated into the lower frame of the shear.

Three different models are available, with softwood cut capacities of 200mm, 300mm and 400mm (slightly less for

hardwoods on the two larger models), which can be fitted on machines from 2 ton up to 20+ ton.

Optional equipment includes a two-stage ‘Turbo’ cylinder allowing fast cycle times without sacrificing power on machines with lower hydraulic pressures, as well as a collector arm for multi-stem accumulating.

For more information on the range of tree handling and cutting attachments options contact Forest Centre on (02) 6947 2833 or online at

November 19, 2018 / by / in