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Felling trees – why and how

Posted on: June 6th, 2018

Dismantling and removing a tree tends to be a last resort but there are times when there is no choice but to fell a tree. Diseased, dying or dead trees will almost certainly end up with dead wood within its canopy and this can be seriously dangerous to people, wildlife and property. Wind can dislodge the dead wood, causing it to fall to the ground – damaging whatever might be underneath.

It is not always easy to see whether a tree is healthy or dying; therefore it is important to utilise the skills of a professional such as a tree surgeon if you are unsure. If serious decline is identified, a tree surgeon will investigate options thoroughly before making any final decision. After all, our job is to care for the environment and we will also look into alternative methods of care that may save the tree before committing to felling a tree.

A tree surgeon will carry out a full assessment in order to determine the safest course of action when dismantling and removing a tree. We will always consider the following:

• Are there dead or broken branches?
• Does it lean in a particular direction?
• Where will the tree naturally want to fall?
• Is that area clear?
• Could other trees or buildings be damaged?

Tree felling is dangerous and as such, full protective gear should always be used. This includes a hard hat, Kevlar leg coverings, steel toe boots, heavy duty gloves, goggles and a first aid kit.

Ideally, a tree will be felled during early stages of decline to safeguard the tree surgeon – dead trees are too unsafe to climb and will require additional equipment such as a cherry picker or MEWP (Mobile Elevating Working Platform). Therefore, felling a dead tree is more dangerous and expensive.

You are able to cut down any tree within your boundaries (although we do prefer to leave healthy trees alone) as long as it is not within a conservation area or subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Local Authorities place TPOs to protect trees on both private and open land that are deemed valuable or beneficial to their immediate environment. Therefore, permission is required before any pruning or felling can take place. Do not ignore a Tree Preservation Order or you could be fined up to £20,000.

Things you need to consider when planting trees

If you are planning on planting trees in your garden, please ensure you have the knowledge and experience to make the right decisions. For example, if you plant certain species of tree too close to a building, over time, you are likely to experience serious problems. As the tree grows it could impact on the building’s structural foundations, drainage, walls or your neighbour’s property.

Sometimes it is possible to implement a specialist pruning regime to limit the damage but in most cases, felling the tree is the only solution.

Therefore it is essential that you are given expert advice before making any decisions regarding tree planting.

Site development

When new buildings are being constructed, the site may need to be cleared, which means that certain trees on the site might be approved for felling and removal.

Local Authorities have strict guidelines in place in these situations, and we are happy to report that many developments are planned around existing trees so although we may have to prune them, they do not need to be felled. In addition, many site designs will include the replanting of new trees.

Need advice?

If you are concerned about a tree within your boundary and need advice, please call Prince Tree Surgery Today. We can carry out a thorough assessment of your problem tree, provide you with options, liaise with the council to see if it is subject to a TPO and if the tree does need to be removed, dismantle, fell and remove all debris in a safe, environmentally-friendly and ethical manner.

We hope you found our article on ‘Felling trees – why and how’ helpful. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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