Working wonders on protected trees

Working wonders on protected trees

You might have heard the term “protected tree”, but what does it mean? It’s a term from the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, which gives legal protection to a shrub, single tree, or group of trees. It doesn’t matter what species of tree or how old they are, they can be covered by a Tree Protection Order (TPO).

Put simply, a TPO means you’re not allowed to cut down, lop or top, uproot, damage or destroy a protected tree. The council must be told of any work you propose doing to the protected tree, and you must wait for their consent, even if the tree is on your land. Doing work on a protected tree can land you with a fine of up to £20,000.

If you live in a Conservation Area, any tree with a stem over 75 mm in diameter is protected, and any work you want to carry out on it, even if that’s just something minor like pruning, needs to be approved by the local council beforehand. They’ll want to know exactly where the tree is, and the details of the work you’d like to do to the tree.

Your local council will most likely have a form on their website which you can print off and fill in if you want to do work on a protected tree. It’s strongly advised that you use an experienced tree surgeon to carry out works on a protected tree, to protect the tree and yourself.

Leaf Matters, based in Sevenoaks and covering nearby London and the whole of Kent, is approved to BS3998, and we’ll be happy to help you with your protected tree.

Make your hedge a haven for wildlife

Hedgerows were once a common feature throughout Britain, but according to the RSPB, we’ve lost over 50% of them, which is why planting one in your garden is a great idea – especially if you want to provide a haven for wildlife. If you already have a hedge, you can add some other species to make it more attractive and appealing to birds, insects, and small mammals such as hedgehogs.

Species to consider planting include wild honeysuckle, clematis, and ivy, while hedge-bottom plants like hedge woundwort, dog’s violet, dead nettles, and garlic mustard will add to the diversity of food and shelter for wildlife. Garden hedges that thrive in the UK include our native trees, so the likes of beech, hawthorn, holly, hazel, and buckthorn are good choices.

Once established, the hedge will become popular with nesting birds as well as other wildlife. Generally speaking, hedges are low maintenance. Make sure you feed the hedge once a year with mulch and water the hedge in long hot spells. Hedge trimming or hedge cutting should be done once a year. You can manage this yourself with a good pair of shears or a hedge trimmer, but for the best result, we’d always recommend getting a professional hedge cutter in to do the job.

Are your trees fit for the birds?

Birds and trees go hand in hand, so to speak, and for many people it’s one of the main benefits of having trees in the first place. The trees provide the birds with a safe nesting site to raise their chicks and the birds fill our gardens with birdsong, as well as the opportunity to observe the natural world in our own backyards.

In the UK, a wide range of common garden birds nest in trees, large bushes or hedges, including blackbirds, robins, blue tits, goldfinches, thrushes, and sparrows, to name just some of the more common ones. If you have trees in your garden, you’re more than likely to have birds as well, possibly many different kinds of birds – if you’re lucky!

While birds can be left to fend for themselves in the main, trees do need looking after and if you want to ensure your trees will go on providing a safe home for your feathered friends, it’s worth having your trees surveyed by a professional arborist, especially if you think one of your trees is diseased. Now is the best time of year to carry out any necessary tree cutting before the nesting season – between March and August – gets underway.

Get ahead of the gardening game

Chances are not many of us are thinking about being outside for any length of time at the moment, but before the wet and windy winter gives way to the wild spring storms, it is worth taking a look at the condition of your garden. It may not seem like it at the moment, but pretty soon the evenings will be slightly lighter, the snowdrops will be out, and even some brave crocuses and daffodils might be poking their heads out too.

Take some time now to think about what might need doing in the garden so it is in tip top condition for you to use in the spring and right through the summer.

The recent storms may well have damaged any old trees you have, and if you are in any doubt, you should get a professional tree surgeon to come and make an inspection. Even if there isn’t any damage, you may want to consider having larger trees cut back to make the most of the sunshine and natural light in your outside space.

Now is also a good time to look at getting hedge trimming carried out, as well as any general maintenance and tidying up. Get ready now and look forward to a long happy summer!

Based in Sevenoaks we can provide tree surgery services across Kent and these areas

We accept tree surgery enquiries from all these areas

Leaf Matters Professional Tree Surgery Ltd are tree surgeons in Sevenoaks offering tree felling, tree clearing, hedge maintenance, pruning and reducing. We are available for tree planting and advice on tree ecology as well as emergency tree work. Based in Sevenoaks we are happy to offer our tree surgery services all around the Sevenoaks area.

City and Guilds Qualified