Trees are beautiful and vital habitat, and we want to protect and support them wherever we can. We always welcome and respond to reports from members of the public regarding concerns over tree health.
Some things we look out for:
- Vigour – is the tree covered evenly in leaves from Spring to Autumn
- Crown – is it balance, does it contain dead wood
- Trunk – Is there dead, missing or abnormal bark or signs of decay
- Roots/collar – Signs of decay, response growth, plate lifting/soil weakness
Things that can look scary but aren’t necessarily indications of poor health
- Leaning – trees can be leaning and perfectly healthy. A tree will compensate with root growth to balance itself. This is why trees can grow successfully on steep hillsides.
- Dropped branches – while there is risk associated will hung/falling branches it isn’t necessarily a sign of poor health, trees drop branches as part of the nature growth pattern. We monitor and remove dead wood based on risk assessment.
If you have any concerns, do let us know. A What3Words location is ideal, but if you can’t do that, take several photos and be sure to capture any useful landmarks in shot to help us locate the issue.
We have regular monitoring in place and use tree tags on trees that need regular professional inspection. As well as routine inspections, we carry out additional inspections after significant weather events.
Ranger inspection routine
|Areas of risk
|1 – 4 weeks
|Dolerw coppice W3W///depending.touched.bungalows
|6 – 8 weeks
|As and when
|1 – 4 weeks
|As risk assessed
Land management does occasionally involve strategic thinning of trees to promote biodiversity at ground level or improve access. We take professional advice before taking action and in the case of tree health may opt to reduce the crown for safety while maintaining as much of a tree as possible for wildlife habitat. Fallen trees are also great habitat and removing them comes at financial cost, so where a tree is safely on the ground and not posing any risk, we may choose to leave it in place.
Trees and the law – Rights and responsibilities
Boundary trees growing on a boundary?
If the base of a tree sits on the boundary line between two properties it is jointly owned by both of them (they are classed as tenants in common). If one owner fells the whole tree without permission from the other owner, that would make them liable (as this amounts to trespass). Consent should also be sought from the other owner before work is undertaken on the tree.
Can I cut off overhanging branches?Yes, provided it is done without trespassing onto the other person’s property. It is also permissible to climb into the tree to undertake the work, again so long as it does not require going into the neighbour’s garden/land. Note that trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or in a Conservation Area will require prior consent from the local authority.
Do I have to get permission from my neighbour or give them notice to cut off the overhanging branches?No. Your actions are classed as ‘abating a nuisance’ which does not require permission. Only in situations where you need access to their land to undertake the work would permission be required. Similarly prior consent from the local authority is required for trees with a TPO
What do I do with the pruning’s?Once branches are cut off they should be offered back to the tree owner. If the owner doesn’t want them then you will be responsible for disposing of the pruning’s; you can’t simply throw them over the boundary into your neighbour’s garden!
Can I cut back further than the boundary to prevent regrowth causing a problem?No.
Am I liable if I cause damage to a neighbour’s tree as a result?Yes. In law you would be considered negligent. Sometimes branch removal can lead to tree failure due to disease, a change in the balance of the tree, or different wind loading that causes the tree to blow over. For these reasons it is important to employ a competent tree surgeon or arboriculturist who could minimise risk and would take on the liability for the work (check they have public liability insurance prior to engagement of services).
Can I cut off roots growing into my property?Yes. You have the same rights (and liabilities) as for cutting off branches.
What responsibilities do I have with wildlife and trees?The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 applies, deeming that it is an offence to damage or destroy bat roosts and the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. Avoid tree work at certain times of year and check old trees for cracks and holes before doing tree work, or draw them to the attention of the tree surgeon before work.And prior consent from the local authority is required if the tree has a TPO or is within a Conservation Area.
What if the tree falls over after I cut the roots?As well as rights, you have the same liabilities as for cutting off branches. So for example, if by reason of cutting through your neighbour’s tree roots, the tree is weakened and falls over, you would be liable for any damage it causes. Thus it is important to exercise reasonable care before cutting any tree roots and seek professional advice for anything but the most minor work.
Reference https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/types/trees/the-law June 2023
Invasive non natives
We have over 3,000 non-native species in Britain. Many are harmless, causing no disruption to the environment or native wildlife, but occasionally a species will establish and thrive in a way which can pose a threat to native biodiversity or cause land management or public welfare issues.
These species are referred to as invasive non-natives.
In line with Welsh government policy our strategy for dealing with invasive species is This emphasises:
- Prevention, we take considered advice on any planting
- detection and rapid response, we monitor the green spaces and welcome support from members of the pubic in reporting species of concern. We then work with experienced partners to tackle issues
- long-term management and control. We have an active biodiversity plan and monitoring in place that takes into consideration invasive species management
Industry standard invasive plant control methods are divided into four categories:
- and cultural techniques.
Mechanical is the preferred method. This can involve, mowing, cutting back to prevent seed dispersal or pulling/digging plants out. We avoid spraying wherever possible and would use qualified and insured professionals in this case.