Whilst many of our customers will be familiar with the contents of this page, the following FAQs are intended to assist private landowners who are unfamiliar with tree care in determining whether the services of a qualified arborist may be required.

What can I do if my tree has a Tree Preservation Order on it or is in a Conservation Area?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an order made by a local planning authority (LPA) in respect of trees or woodlands, and can be on any tree. Trees in conservation areas may also be the subject of a TPO and subject to the normal TPO controls. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 also makes provision for trees in conservation areas which are not the subject of a TPO. Anyone proposing to cut down or carry out work on a tree in a conservation area is required to give the LPA six weeks’ prior notice (a ‘section 211 notice’). The purpose of this requirement is to give the LPA an opportunity to consider whether a TPO should be made in respect of the tree.

Trees that are exempt from TPOs are those that are dead, dying, diseased or dangerous and fruit trees grown for the commercial production of fruit. TPOs prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, pruning, willful damage or willful destruction of trees without consent. Currently the maximum penalty for carrying out works to TPO trees without consent is £20,000. Trees in conservation areas may also be protected even if they are not covered by a tree preservation order. As a company policy we carry out checks with your local Council and if necessary submit an application to the Local Planning Authority if required. We carry out this service free of charge. This process can take up to 8 weeks so it is advisable to bear this in mind when planning any tree work.

Can I use the wood chip from my trees?

Many of our customers now keep their wood chippings for future use as mulch – ideal for keeping weeds out and moisture in. Whether this is appropriate depends on the type of chip and its intended use. A number of trees are unsuitable for this purpose. However, our arborist can advise you of the suitability of your woodchips.

Why should I hire a qualified arborist?

As with any work on your property, you want confidence that the contractor is qualified to do what has been asked, safely and to the highest standards. A qualified arborist will have received training and been assessed on his competence. Chaffin Works is part of the Trading Standards ‘Buy with confidence’ scheme, giving our customers confidence that an independent body has externally audited the company.

How can I tell if my tree is hazardous?

It is a property owner’s responsibility to provide for the safety of trees on his or her property. Common defects associated with tree ailments should be identified. Assessment of the defects is essential and should be done by qualified arborists. Once a tree is recognised as being dangerous we can supply a written report recommending the necessary work. Insurance companies are increasingly refusing to pay out for damage caused by trees that have not had a recent survey. Policies should be checked to ascertain the exact requirements.
Some common defects associated with trees are:

  • Cavities or decayed wood along the trunk or in major branches
  • Mushrooms present at the base of the tree
  • Cracks or splits in the trunk or at the union where branches attach
  • Adjacent or nearby trees fallen over or dead
  • Trunk developing a strong lean
  • Roots broken off, injured or damaged
  • Electrical line adjacent to tree
  • Recent construction in the area

Do mature trees need special care?

A healthy tree increases in aesthetic value with age. Regular maintenance, designed to promote plant health and vigour, ensures that value will continue to grow. Preventing a problem costs less than curing one once it has developed. Regular tree inspections can prevent or reduce the severity of future disease, insect and environmental problems. Our qualified arborists will examine buds, leaf size, appearance, twig growth, and note the condition of the trunk and crown. Crown dieback (gradual death of the upper part of the tree) and trunk decay are often symptoms of problems that began earlier. They can be remedied by skilful tree surgery.

When is the best time of year to have work carried out on my trees and hedges?

It is recommended that trees are worked on after leaf fall and before bud burst. This, however, is not true for all species, so we would prefer to look at each tree individually and give you a written report. Some examples of trees requiring work at other times are Cherry, Plum and related trees (Prunus species). These should be pruned soon after flowering to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Maple and Birch should not be pruned in the spring to avoid ‘bleeding’ (exuding sap), which although not considered damaging can be unsightly. Magnolia and Walnut should only be pruned in high summer. Most common species of hedges can be cut any time of the year but again we would confirm this after inspection.