Q: The previous owners planted a eucalyptus tree at the end of our (10m) garden. While it looks great, it is now getting unmanageably tall and bushy and we would prefer to cut it down and plant something more suitable. Our neighbour at the back likes the tree and told us home owners cannot cut down old trees: when he was extending his house, cutting down a tree was part of the planning application. Is he right?
A Your neighbour is partly correct in that it is – generally – illegal to uproot/cut down any tree over 10 years old unless you have a Felling Notice. This is obtained from the Garda station nearest to the tree targetted for felling. But – and this is where your situation comes in – there are exceptions.
According to the Department of Agriculture (agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice) the requirement for a felling licence does not apply in certain situations including where: a) the tree in question is a fruit tree; b) the tree is less than 100 feet from a dwelling other than a wall or temporary structure.
The penalties for illegal felling range from fines of up to a maximum of €63.49 per tree to imprisonment for up to two years. In addition to any fine imposed by the court, the Minister may, by order, require the person convicted to replant.
Checking out your local Citizens Information (citizensinformation.ie) for advice.