I was doing a pruning job the other day. NZ Christmas bushes that had got out of hand and were shading the lawn and obstructing the path. The owner wanted me to go to town on them but I suggested chopping them down and starting again as she wanted a low dense hedge. No go she just wanted them cut right back so fair enough. After the chainsaw has been going a while a council vehicle parks across the road and watches me for a bit then drives by a few times. Later on after the first green waste run a council ranger drives up and fronts me about working when I have been ordered to stop. The owner came out and agreed that no one had asked me to stop. the ranger calmed down and explained that I was pruning on council land. It seems that the property boundary was only a few metres from the front door and the NZ Christmas bushes were council trees even though the owner had planted them. All future pruning must be carried out by council staff. I would never touch a genuine 'street tree' but had no idea I could not touch something planted by the owner. Live and learn I guess.
We went round the corner and it looked like the oleander (also planted by the owner) neatly bisected the boundary. The ranger said if it was a shrub then I could prune it but if it is a tree I can't. I pointed out that the definitions of trees and shrubs were a bit rubbery and if I pruned a tall shrub to a single main stem it would look like a tree. In the end we decided not to touch it. Must remember to take a surveying team and consulting botanist on my next pruning quote.