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An earlier post on this blog asked the question: Is my tree dying? Particularly at this time of year, our team are often asked another fundamental question: Can my tree be saved?

Thankfully, in our part of the country, from Gravesend to Maidstone, Beckenham to Dorking – in fact right across Kent and Surrey, we have not suffered the catastrophic storm Desmond and its after-affects as the poor folk of Cumbria and the north-west have. Sad to say, though, that we might not be as fortunate right throughout the winter and spring to come.

When a much-loved tree is damaged by either wind or water, it is often an instant reaction to think that it cannot be saved. Occasionally, the damage is too great; but often our expert tree surgery team can carry out careful repair work. It might not be the tree it was, but there is a chance that it can continue to grace your garden for many years to come.

Therefore, if a storm does hit, contact us as quickly as you can, and we’ll soon be assessing what action can be taken. Even better, take the time to examine the trees in your garden now and see if any might be prone to such damage. Call us, it is often possible to carry out preventative tree maintenance that will help those precious old trees better deal with whatever the weather might decide to throw at them!

It’s not surprising that we become so attached to our trees. Perhaps we planted them when they were young saplings and have watched them grow over time to become mature specimens. Or maybe the trees were already there before you moved in. Whatever the case, any suggestion that the tree you’ve come to know and cherish is dying is both worrying and sad.

Warning Signs

Signs to look out for include your tree producing fewer leaves than normal or none at all, the bark becoming brittle and falling off, limbs feeling dry and easily broken, or the trunks starting to feel spongy in places. Any of the above could mean your tree is dying. Why this happens isn’t always easy to pinpoint and can be caused by known tree diseases, fungus that affects certain types of trees, or simply old age.

Your Tree’s Lifespan

Some smaller ornamental trees live between 15 and 20 years, while larger species such as maple have a lifespan of around 100 years. Pines and oaks can live up to 300 years, and ancient firs can live considerably longer. There’s nothing that can be done for a tree that is dying of old age, but a sick tree can be treated. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis of what’s wrong with your tree by calling out a professional arborist to take a look. Only then can you make an informed decision about what to do next.

If a tree’s not too big and it really does need to come down, you can tackle it yourself if you have the right tools, the time, and the practical nous to do the job safely. DIY stump removal’s a whole different ball game, however, unless the stump is old and rotten, in which case it’s a job you’ll easily manage.

In terms of DIY techniques, leaving the stump to rot may well be the best option, but it can take years for the roots to break down. If the stump’s fresh, the first thing to do is cut through the major roots with an axe. Depending on the girth of the stump, you can then try and loosen it using brute strength, or by attaching a chain and pulling it with the help of a vehicle. You could drill holes in the stump and pour in potassium nitrate and wait four to six weeks for it to rot the wood. You could also try soaking the stump in petrol and let it burn and smoulder.

Any one of these methods can work, but all carry a certain amount of risk, not least of which is the physical harm you could do to yourself. Some jobs are always best left to the professionals and in our view, tree stump removal is one of them!

There’s an old saying that if you want something doing right you should do it yourself. That might apply in some cases, but when it comes to delicate operations and heavy machinery, getting the professionals in to give you a hand could pay dividends.

Hedge cutting is an arduous task for all of us who have a hedge in the back garden, and the equipment we use to keep it in check can be pretty dangerous if not used correctly. Likewise, if you need to cut heavy, rotten or snapped branches off a tree, you’re probably better off asking for help.

If you’re not as young as you used to be, even something as simple as painting the garden shed or clearing out guttering has the potential for a nasty fall, so employ the services of a handyman for any high up jobs that you can’t complete easily.

And when it comes to lifting and carrying, the same applies. Lifting heavy paving slabs or bags of compost could do permanent damage to some peoples’ backs, making a gardener a sound investment that could save your mobility.

For most of us there’s at least one task in the garden we find arduous or downright difficult, so save the stress and call in the professionals.

After a spell of good weather in early autumn, it’s fair to say that the cold, wet, and windy weather is finally upon us. As storms and gales work their way across the United Kingdom this week, and with plenty more wet weather to come over the next few months, you need to make sure that you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

For many people, this means checking the structural soundness of their property, which is a good idea, but lots of people forget about their gardens or outside spaces. When it rains, you need to make sure that your garden is clean and tidy, and here’s a few reasons why.

When it rains, the water needs to be able to run away properly, otherwise you could get mould and damp inside your home, and pools of water in the garden. During the winter, falling leaves are the major reason behind blocked drains and guttering, so make sure you clean yours whenever you can. Or you could employ a tree surgeon to clip back your trees and hedges, helping you avoid blocked drains and gutters altogether. This also means not having to constantly check whether any leaves are blocking your drains or guttering, saving you lots of time in the future.

Putting your trust in a contractor in any field comes with its associated risks, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re hiring somebody with the right credentials for the job at hand. If you’re looking to hire a tree surgeon, here is our comprehensive checklist of things to look for.


Becoming a qualified arborist is no easy feat – trust us, we should know! A tree surgeon should study the trade and receive the appropriate certificates from the National Proficiency Test Council for Tree Climbing, Aerial Rescue, and Chainsaw Operations. A person with these qualifications is fit for the job.


Always check for liability insurance before hiring anyone to carry out tree surgery on your property, as this will cover any unexpected mishaps on site. A good arborist with the right qualifications should complete the job problem-free, but it’s always good to be covered.


It is important that all tree surgeons have an awareness of safety and abide by the regulations in place. When hiring somebody, check that their machinery has been recently checked and that they are carrying out safety checks of the site before starting any work.

If you’re looking for an arborist in your area who is fully qualified, insured, and always follows regulations, then contact us today. We’re experts in our field, and always get the job done to a fantastic standard!

Hedges are common features in many gardens and can either serve as a dividing line between gardens or be purely ornamental. Hedges provide shade, privacy and can be an important wildlife habitat, but an untrimmed and uncared-for hedge can soon get out of control and ruin the look of any garden.

1. Know your hedge!

Different hedges have different hedge trimming needs, so some quick research might help you on your way. Don’t trim old hedges too fiercely, or too much in one go, as the shock alone can kill them off. Fast growing hedges, such as conifers, can grow very quickly so need trimming three times a year for example, whereas a slower-growing evergreen hedge would be fine with one annual trim.

2. Seasonal variation

Most hedges need trimming in spring or summer, ideally, but some can be trimmed all year round. Remembering to water them during exceptionally dry or hot periods is also a good idea.

3. Don’t be afraid to call in the experts!

Tackling a difficult job without professional expertise or the right equipment can lead to expensive mistakes or even injury, so be careful and don’t take on more than you can handle. If you’re tackling a monster hedge, don’t have the right tools or knowledge for the job or simply want so sit back and relax while you let a professional hedge cutter take care of things – expert advice from LeafMatters is only a phone call away!

If your home is subject to the controlled fury of a spring clean each year, you’ll know that it not only helps to tidy all areas, but also looks to provide more space, change the decor, rearrange furnishings and the like.

Whether you live in Sidcup or Purley, and right down through Kent to places such as Gravesend or Maidstone, our professional tree surgeons here at Leaf Matters can do much of the same for your garden with our tree stump removal service.

This is a great time to say goodbye to that withered stump that has brooded for too long. Apart from the damage that roots can cause across your property, removing the whole thing brings added space ready for new planting in the spring (someone else can do the indoors cleaning next year).

By the way, as well as removing the offending article, we are also adept at stump grinding. This might sound like a dance for a Halloween party, but it actually produces another benefit. The mulch that your stump provides after the grinding process is complete, could add a nice layer of winter protection for your more precious of plants.

So, let there be space! To clear that offending stump now, give us a call on 01732 451 351.

Trees that have been allowed to grow too tall can soon impact on light levels in your garden and home. Particularly during winter, when light levels are reduced and the sun is lower in the sky, evergreen trees can stop much-needed light from entering your home, creating a gloomy interior. Lack of natural sunlight flooding into your home can also make your interior rooms colder, and you may have to put on the heating more frequently, impacting on your energy bills. If you are trying to sell your home, lofty trees that block light getting into your home may even put potential buyers off.

It’s not just the inside of your home that can be negatively affected by the lack of light caused by tall trees. Your garden will be cast in shade, meaning that it may suffer more from damp and poor drainage. You may be limited by the types of plants or flowers that will thrive in your garden, and there may be fewer spots to enjoy sunbathing on a warm day.

Getting a tree surgeon to reduce the height of any billowing trees you have can allow light to shine back into your home and garden again.

Now that autumn is here in all its copper-coloured glory, it’s the ideal time to give your trees a health check before the winter. You may have noticed some discolouration on leaves or have a wayward branch that requires pruning before the November winds arrive. After the leaves have fallen is also a time when many cracks and splits in tree trunks may become apparent. Cracks and splits can, of course, allow fungus to enter the tree, so if you notice any, it’s best to get them checked out by a professional.

Leaf Matters’ tree surgeons in Sevenoaks have a wealth of experience and can be on hand to give you expert diagnosis and then treatment if you’ve noticed any of these problems on your tree. If your tree requires removal, due to disease or because it is encroaching on your property, Leaf Matters can also advise you of a perfect replacement. Autumn is also a great time of year to plant a young sapling.

An overgrown or overly large tree can present extra problems in the autumn, as storms and snow can make them unstable. Leaf Matters can professionally and efficiently prune or carry out more major tree surgery for you to avoid any risk of falling branches damaging your property. Serving Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas, Leaf Matters’ work is always carried out to the very highest safety standards and we are proud of our expertise.

For all of your autumn tree surgery needs, give Leaf Matters a call!

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