Are There Times In A Year When Tree Works Should Not Be Performed?

Tree works, ideally shouldn’t be performed during springtime. This is when the sap rises so that the leaves can flush (come out) in order for photosynthesis to start. Tree works should also not be undertaken in autumn, since the trees draw nutrients from all the leaves as they start turning brown. If you need tree felling services please see HRG Tree Surgeons.

If tree work is performed during the springtime, the trees can become susceptible to disease attacks and pests. When work is performed during autumn, the trees might not have the chance to absorb the nutrients it needs so that it can produce new leaves in the spring. This places the tree under stress while increasing the chances of disease.

Outside of spring and autumn, the majority of trees will handle pruning in the winter and spring, but there are some exceptions:

Plum, Cherry, and related species of trees (Prunus species) should only be pruned after they have started flowering to lower the risks relating to bacterial infection.

Walnut, Beech, Birch, and Maple, should only be pruned after the leaves start to fall or in leaf. Magnolia should only be pruned during the height of summer to prevent “bleeding” (where the trees exude sap), which is not regarded as damaging to the tree but is seen as unsightly.

When possible, you should avoid pruning when recovery might be impaired. An example of this is during periods of “physiological stress” after construction-related damage or prior tree work, or during weather extremes including heavy frost or drought.

The decision to cut down a tree is not something you should take lightly, even though in some cases it may be your only option. This is usually the case when safety is a concern. Regardless of whether you need to protect or feel from felling, preservation, and protection laws are often complex. In this guide, we will cover the best practices and suggest alternatives before you decide to cut down a tree.

Keep In Mind:

It is illegal to cut or fell any trees that may impact breeding birds.

When You Want To Fell A Tree

If you have doubts about legalities when it comes to tree work, ask for advice from a local council or contact the applicable government department:

Scottish Forestry
Forestry Commission (England)
Northern Ireland Forest Service
Natural Resources Wales

Felling A Tree In Your Garden

If you are the owner of your home, you are not required to ask for permission to cut a tree down that is solely in your garden provided it is not:

Subject to a Tree Preservation Order
Within a Conservation Area

If you are renting a home, you first have to ask your landlord for permission.

Damage or an injury caused to your neighbour or their home or property caused by felling or tree works will be your liability. An example of this may include a tree that falls unexpectedly onto their shed.

If the trunk of a tree is inside your garden, your neighbours are allowed to cut any overhanging branches, yet even the branches will still be classified as your property.

Felling Licences

If you want to fell a tree that is not in your private garden, then you might require a “felling licence”. If the trees, or tree equal or exceed 5-cubic metres of timber (by volume), it is usually illegal to fell the tree without a licence.

The government department in your area will first tell you about the conditions before they will issue a licence. This usually covers maintaining the tree for a specific time and replanting this area. Licences that cover thinning woodland won’t have restocking conditions.