Direct Line magazine

Tree's a crowd?

Updated on: 16 March 2020

a chainsaw cuts down a tree

What to do with unwanted trees in your garden

After months of searching, you’ve finally found the perfect home; it has the right number of bedrooms, a large driveway and quick connections to the nearest city. It all seems too good to be true... and maybe it is.

Have you checked the trees in the back garden?

Although trees have many benefits, they also have their downfalls. Shade can lead to patchy lawns and dark rooms, fallen leaves can block drains, and dead branches or heavy fruit can smash conservatories or greenhouses. You even have to consider the tree’s roots which can damage foundations or drains, especially if the house is built on very heavy clay soils or peat. And, because many of these trees are legally protected, you can’t just cut them down without permission.

What can you do?

First of all, get a full structural survey before purchasing the property. Then you’ll know what potential problems the trees in your garden might unearth.

If you go ahead and purchase the property, bear in mind that felling any trees will have to be put on hold if the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Each individual case will be decided on its own merit by the council, who’ll expect a justifiable reason for felling the tree before giving their consent.

The tree being large or too close to the house are not good enough reasons, it must be dead, diseased or dangerous. Similarly, although tree roots can crack driveways, this may not be a good enough reason for severing the roots or felling the tree.

Is your house in a conservation area? Trees within this area are also protected, and the authority must receive six weeks notice before pruning so that the tree officer can decide whether a TPO should be placed. Cutting a tree with a TPO can lead to a £30,000 fine, or twice the value of the tree’s timber, whichever is greater.

Tree isn’t always a crowd!

Having trees in your garden isn’t always a bad thing, in fact many people seek out properties with mature trees because they can improve the resale of your house. When trees are properly managed, they are beneficial to the environment and encourage wildlife, especially in urban areas.

If you have any more tree related questions, contact your local council who get in touch with their tree officer.

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