Ill Winmalee pensioner's bid to remove high-maintenance tree

Jan Morgan has survived stomach cancer, undergone two hip operations and now has a back fracture.

She also has a massive pin oak tree which drops copious amounts of leaves in her Winmalee yard, that's gotten too much for her to clean up.

All too much: Jan Morgan by her massive pin oak tree which she wants to remove because due to ill health, she can't manage the clean up the copious amounts of leaves it drops.

All too much: Jan Morgan by her massive pin oak tree which she wants to remove because due to ill health, she can't manage the clean up the copious amounts of leaves it drops.

The tree was planted by Mrs Morgan's late husband Peter, 20 years ago. An initial application to Blue Mountains Council to remove the tree was rejected, followed by an appeal citing ill health, which was also rejected by the council.

Mrs Morgan's appeal was rejected by council for several reasons, which include: the tree is healthy, is in a prominent location, and is well clear of the house and power lines, according to a letter from council explaining why her appeal was unsuccessful.

Mrs Morgan says she's picking up leaves for five months of the year, and it's all gotten too much.

"The amount of leaves that come off it could fill the big bin in a week and three bags ready to go," she said.

"If I leave them there I hate to think how many leaves I would have on the ground."

She's tried using a leaf blower with a bag to suck up the leaves, but the pipe blocks due to the size of the leaves.

"I'm picking them up all the time and I just can't handle it any more and I just want to get rid of it," the 73-year-old said.

The pensioner says she can't afford to pay someone to regularly remove the leaves, and would happily replace the tree with another species requiring less maintenance.

Mrs Morgan has lived in Winmalee for 40 years, and doesn't want to be forced to leave because of the ongoing issues with the tree.

"I love it down here and I want to stay here ... and my house is flat inside," Mrs Morgan said.

A council spokeswoman said: "We understand why she made such a request, but the link to her health in the application is around her ability to clean up. It is not a direct link to the tree, such as a severe allergy."

As the tree is deciduous, leaf drop occurs primarily in the autumn and winter months, and the tree is located in an area where leaf and other tree debris may accumulate without becoming a hazard, or unsightly, the spokeswoman said.

"The applicant may be able to access a community service, to assist with yard cleaning. Council officers will contact her to discuss what is available."

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