Your trees

Looking After Your Trees

As with all trees, eventually your trees will need some maintenance. Before you commission any work on a tree that you own or is on your property please ensure that the tree is not a protected tree through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), use the following page to check. If your tree is a protected tree you will need to apply to carry out any work, an application form is here.

The next step would be to engage good tree surgeon (arborist) this can be a difficult task and getting it wrong can be disastrous.

Tree work is a dangerous and highly skilled operation. Picking the wrong arborist could lead to injury to people, damage to property, irrevocable damage to your trees that have taken many years to grow, and could cost you more money to put right.

Tree work operations (arboriculture) require a high degree of technical competence, supported by training and experience. For these reasons tree work should only be undertaken by well trained, competent arborists who hold adequate insurance.

Anyone can call himself or herself a tree surgeon, and place an advert, this does not guarantee quality of work or that it will be carried out safely.
Competent arborists will not mind you asking questions and will be happy to provide you with the necessary certificates, training information and safety equipment.

The Council is not able to recommend tree surgeons, but here is a list of questions you should ask a suitable arborist.

Are you insured?

The insurance should cover employers liability and public liability.

What qualifications do you and your staff hold?

You should ask to see copies of certificates. Anyone who will be using a chainsaw must have an NPTC certificate. NPTC is a national organisation that assesses competence of people using chainsaws and other arboricultural equipment. Competent arborists will be able to show you either an A4 sized certificate or a plastic id card.

Recommended: Certificates for other skills and machines. Arboricultural knowledge e.g. National Certificates and Diplomas.

Will you provide a written quotation?

If no, reject this contractor.

Choosing the quote that suits you

When you receive your quotations check they include the following before deciding which one to accept:

  • The name, address and land-line telephone number of the company
  • Reference to BS 3998
  • Clear and full details of the work to be undertaken
  • What will happen to the debris
  • Whether VAT is included
  • Who will be responsible for obtaining permission for the work if the trees are protected
  • What steps will be taken to protect you and your property

Are you a member of a professional organisation?

Membership does not guarantee work standards but does show a degree of commitment.

Can you provide me with the phone number of a referee who can show me some of your work?

If yes, contact the referee to get a reference.

Competent arborists

In the UK there are two voluntary schemes certifying the competence of arborists through examination and regular reassessment or continuing professional development.

The Arboricultural Association maintains an annual Directory of quality assured arboricultural contracting companies.  Contractors (and consultants) in the Directory are regularly assessed for their health and safety procedures, office and business practices as well as their quality of tree work.  They will display the AA collective mark logo.

Individual arborists may be certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. The ISA assesses the individual for their knowledge and ability.  Certified arborists will display the ISA Certified Arborist logo.

Both bodies have websites and you can check the credentials of the arborists on them.

Other arborists may be equally competent but have chosen not to take part in these schemes.