Spring and autumn are the worst possible times to undertake tree works. During spring, the ‘sap is rising’ to kick off the photosynthesis process. Autumn is the time when trees are drawing nutrients back into their core from the dying leaves.

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When you undertake tree works during spring, you expose the tree to pest attacks and various diseases. Similarly, undertaking tree works in the autumn deprives the tree from the nutrients it needs to thrive throughout the winter, increasing the risk of disease.

Outside spring and autumn there are very few restrictions on pruning the trees. Here are the restrictions you ought to take into account when undertaking tree works:

Plum, Cherry and all trees belonging to the Prunus species should only be pruned immediately after flowering. This reduces the risk of bacterial infections.

Walnut, Beech, Maple and Birch should be pruned during leaf fall or immediately after. Magnolia should be pruned in high summer to prevent exuding sap which some find unsightly.

Carefully observe periods of physiological stress and avoid pruning trees during these periods. Such examples include but aren’t limited to extreme weather conditions and construction-related damage.

Cutting down a tree is a big decision, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whenever safety is at stake, cutting down a tree is the right decision. Nonetheless, you must observe tree protection and preservation laws before undertaking this kind of work. Our guide will allow you to gain a better understanding of best practices and viable alternatives to cutting down a tree.

Important:

If cutting down a tree will affect bird nesting, this action is illegal.

When in doubt about the legality of felling a tree, always reach out to your local authorities for guidance and advice. Here are some of the government departments you may want to seek advice from:

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

What about felling a tree on your property?

If you own your property, you can cut down trees without asking anyone for permission, unless your garden belongs to a Conservation Area or the tree is subject to a Preservation Order.

If you rent your property, you must get your landlord’s permission prior to undertaking any tree felling.

Should your tree work cause any damage to a neighbour or their property, you’re directly liable for this.

Should a tree on your property grow branches overhanging your neighbour’s property, your neighbour has the right to cut these branches. Nonetheless, the cut branches still remain your property.

When To Get A Felling License

If you want to fell a tree that’s not on your private property, you may need to get a felling license. Should the tree or trees in question amount to 5 cubic metres of timber in volume, you must obtain a license in order to be able to undertake this work in a fully legal manner.

Your government department will probably impose a restocking condition prior to issuing the felling licence. Usually, such conditions tackle replanting young trees and maintaining them for a certain period of time. Thinning woodland also calls for a licence, but such licences aren’t usually bound by restocking conditions.