Trimming Hedges on a Budget

A reader emails with a suggestion for low cost hedge trimming:

Ok Cam, so I realise there are plenty of these things going on but heres one for you to get into.

The wonderful Auckland City Council offers a FREE hedge trimming service, not only will they trim your hedge, they will also clean the debris and take it all to the tip at no charge to you!!

All you have to do is complain to the council about any hedge, tree or shrub that overhangs your property on to the foot path or any general area and this is what happens. Firstly a council employee will get into one of the fleet of brand new cars they have and come and visit the site, once determining that indeed your hedge etc does hang over the path and in any way make it difficult to people to walk past, they will send you a letter stating that you need to clear the site, that is you do not they may contract someone to do it and they may charge you for it.

No prize for guessing what happens next, a month later they come out again and have a look, determine that they hedge or whatever is still not cut and proceed to send out a council worker, in his/her own truck with a full load of Stihl gear (only the best for ACC) they put up dangerous cones and signs, and proceed to cut the hedge etc. They then clear the debris, blowervac the site and take all the rubbish to the tip (paying the charge for disposal).

Cost to the owner of the site = Zero because the council never sends a bill!!

The other day they did my neighbours hedge, the council guy told me he does the house once a year and has for a number of years. Took two hours and then he went to the tip to dump the debris, my guess on the cost to get someone to do it, $700 – $1,000.

So my Xmas gift to Auckland is free hedge/tree/general care for any area on your property that faces the street, all you need to do is make sure it grows enough to be deemed overgrown by the council, they will take care of it.