Waikanae is noted for its trees which is one of the reasons people like it, but there are always going to be optimum sizes for a situation. As we have stated before, arboriculture is a specialised field for which you want knowledgeable and caring professionals.
For the Do-It-Yourselfers, however, this interview on Radio NZ Nine to Noon provides some pointers and principles, including the touchy topic of tree and boundary etiquette.
We can attest to her wisdom from our own experiences with awful workmen of the Parkwood property business. “First of all communicate.” The law may say that you can remove an overhanging branch of a tree on your neighbour’s property at the boundary, but that may not be a desirable thing to do from either party’s viewpoint, literally.
You can get the situation where severe imbalance results, and if it’s a tall tree, that could increase the potential for strong winds toppling it over. Usually, it is the density of foliage rather than its height which is the problem, and crown thinning is the sensible solution to that.
Xanthe White omits a key issue: the law says all of a tree on your neighbour’s property including the limbs and any fruit belong to your neighbour; so find out if they want a large branch back — with valuable hardwood such as Puriri which is used in Maori carving, they likely will. (Parkwood’s employees simply confiscated a big Puriri branch of ours they had chopped off which we estimate was worth at least $500.)
Note that Xanthe White is not correct in saying that councils are not allowed to put bylaws in place to protect trees — they are and the KCDC does, so check with them. (Wellington City doesn’t now except for those which are heritage listed.)