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Family Forum: Neighbour’s itchy tree an irritation

What to do about a neighbour’s trees?

QUESTION:

My neighbour has an itchy bomb tree, pretty much on the boundary between their house and ours. It drops really sharp and itchy needles all over our backyard, outdoor decking and couch. We can’t sit outside without being covered in needles. What can we do? We have had a chat and they do not want to remove the tree, even after we explained our issue.

ANSWER:

Dealing with large tree branches overhanging your property is best handled by agreement as the legal position can be complex. The panel suggests that you enlist a friend, or the neighbourhood mediation service, or speak to your local member of parliament, to help you communicate fruitfully with your neighbour.

The South Australian independent non-government provider of mediation and dispute resolution services is Mediation SA (Phone 08 8350 0376 or country callers 1300 850 650). Services are provided free of charge, with a focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community.

When it comes to removing branches, you may be able to get help from the State Emergency Service or the Country Fire Service, who deal with similar tasks in times of crisis. A local Lions group or other community service organisation could also be approached for support.

It seems there is some fear left over from your Port Lincoln experience.  We would encourage you to consider seeing a counsellor or psychologist. Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative.

You must be referred by your GP, your psychiatrist or paediatrician. Your GP will need to complete a detailed mental health assessment and prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan before referring you to a psychologist. You should book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this.

There are several new, fast, effective treatments for trauma such as Neuro Linguistic Programming, the Emotional Freedom Technique, and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. Stress management techniques have also proven helpful in reducing fear generated by past events. With professional help, your fears should fade over time.

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Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

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