We're specialists in shelter belt maintenance and handle a huge variety of tree challenges.

We're not just operators, but engineers as well. We've specially adapted, our custom-built machinery and that's what makes us different from other companies, allowing us to do a quality job while still being quick and tidy. These are some of the things we get asked on a regular basis. If you have any more questions send us an email and we can give you an answer.

Shelterbelt trimming FAQ - McDonnell's Tree Trim
  • Why are Tree Trim’s truck based trimmers so much better for trimming my shelter belts?

    They're custom-built to maintain steady boom control for a better finish in quicker times. The 3-axle base and custom set length allows for efficient and smooth terrain crossing and better finishes.

    Combined with our optional super fat flotation tyres, we have superior traction with less ground pressure significantly reducing our impact on your property. Great for getting through dairy farms in the winter!

    The cab is positioned high so our operators have excellent visibility above the slash, maintaining unparalleled sight of the machine’s perimeters and to fences, gateways and other property. And our tilt cabs combine with the cab height to allow perfect vision for power line clearance operations.

  • How often should I trim my shelter belts and hedges?

    Every 1 or 2 years. Typically, experienced property owners do their trimming annually or bi-annually. This keeps the volume of material for cleaning up to a minimum. The debris hasn't gotten woody or developed pinecones that potentially fly further from the cutter, creating a wider spread mess and greater hazard during the trimming operation. 

    It is easy enough to cut and clear older regrowth but it's messier, slower and, quite frankly, a bit overwhelming with regards to the volume of debris needing to be cleaned up. A lot of our customers do it yearly and deem there to be no clean up necessary.

    1 & 2 year maintenance trimming is cheaper, tidier and comes up looking better.


  • I don’t like the messy flail, what are the options?

    We always like to consult with you prior to starting work and ascertain your preferences, present the options and offer suggestions. We can quickly point out the pros and cons of our cutting options so you can make informed decisions.

    The flail cutting head is a powerhouse for fast, crisp maintenance work. It clears debris from the tops of hedges better and minimises 'pop-ups'. For maintenance trimming of 1 and 2 year regrowth, it is unbeatable for efficient work times and good looking finishes. Coupled with our mess minimising procedures and techniques developed over the years, it has to be the best option 9 times out of 10. Yes, an inexperienced or untrained operator can cause devastation with this cutting head but that is simply poor management and you won't get that with us.

    For very tight areas, sensitive property or very close proximity housing and buildings, the saw or flail disc must be utilised. This significantly reduces the spread of trimmings and hazard of the operation. The saw is also utilised to trim back heavier regrowth and big old limbs. Trees up to 400mm diameter at the cut are quickly topped and trimmed up with this cutting head.

    Typically there are 3 option for general, maintenance work:

    First - Cheapest Possible: Bang out the trim, flat out, with the flail cutter head, regardless of the debris; the mess is thrown further, the risk of collateral damage goes up and the finish is rougher. Your spend with us is the minimum, the site takes a lot more sorting out after we’ve gone.

    Second - Slow & Super Fussy: a quiet running trim up that absolutely minimises the mess and spread of trimmings, maybe utilising the slower going saw head or flail disc to this end. This can take up to twice as long, cost twice as much but is often the preference as you factor in the bigger picture.

    Third – The Intelligent Average: Nice and tidy around the house, drive and yard areas, quick out the back. Mindful of mess minimisation but still an eye hard on the clock. This third option is the fairly sensible middle ground and balance of the variables we generally run to as default. It is based on the years of feedback we've received and sees most people happy. But, as the old saying goes, "the person who pays, says", so please let us know your thoughts.

  • What about cleaning up the trimmings?

    Yes! We have a clean-up crew. Our loader tractor is equipped with a forestry grapple to quickly push up burn piles and shift debris as needed. Alternatively, our forestry mulchers are an awesome solution to get the whole job sorted without the annoying burn pile mess to deal with later and the problems of smoking out neighbours etc. The trimmings are reduced down to a tidy mown like finish to rot back into the ground alongside the shelter belt where they fell from the trimmer. Grass quickly grows back through the mulch for things to carry on as usual. In some cases, the debris just has to leave the property or be chipped, in which case we load our tip truck to get the mess cleared, or we feed it through the chipper at which point it can be dumped at a location on your property or taken away.

  • I have power lines and a busy road with shelter belts/hedges underneath and alongside, is this a problem?

    These are very common situations and no problem for us to sort out. We have extensive experience trimming around power lines and have procedures to handle any and all of the problems associated with it. Putting up signs for road works is a part of everyday work for us. We have in-house equipment for 99% of situations to avoid downtime and other problems, and keep costs to a minimum.

  • In the past we’ve had hedges half trimmed by other operators who couldn’t reach the top of the shelter belt, will you be able to reach it all?

    Yes. Our machines are very versatile in what they can achieve. We have big reach machines that can get your whole job done. We can reach to get the tops of the tallest topped shelter belts 99% of the time. We can reach for metres over the top of implements or even sheds parked alongside your trees, or tuck right in to trim down a tight lane way.

  • We have small hedges up to 4m high and think a smaller machine suits our property, is that possible?

    Yes, we have a custom-built trimmer especially for smaller shelter belts. It's based on a 4x4, 85hp Case tractor. It has heaps of horsepower and torque, a small footprint to quickly manoeuvre around paddocks and gateways, and being 4x4 it's also great for trimming under-pivot shelter at whatever time of year suits you.

  • You have big machinery with dangerous blades, how do I know my property won’t get damaged and the job will be done safely?

    We run a professional company with checks and notification procedures in place to ensure our gear is in excellent working order, and you, your property and your neighbours will be safe and aware of the requirements of having us there. Staff training, backed by our robust and documented systems, ensures we have an excellent history of satisfied customers. We are extremely fussy with our staff selection and employ only the best talent to operate our machines. And when we have new operators, they are buddied, briefed and closely supported to get things done correctly.