About A1 Gardening
A1 Gardening

Below are the most often asked questions from our customers about tree matters. Have a look, the answer to your question may well be there.


Here are some of the questions many customers ask us about trees. Have a look, the answer to yours may well be there.

What is a tree preservation order?

A tree preservation order is issued by the local planning authority and makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without prior permission from the planning authority. They are used to protect trees that contribute to the appearance of an area and issued if a tree is under threat of being cut down or damaged.

They protect trees that make an impact on their local surroundings; important when they are in immediate danger.

Any tree, regardless of species, can be protected by a tree preservation order. It can cover anything from a single tree to woodlands. Hedgerows trees can be protected, but NOT hedges, bushes or shrubs.

My neighbour’s tree(s) encroach over my boundary, what can I do?

Your common law rights allow you to remove any of your neighbours’ branches that cross your boundary, even without their permission. For the sake of good relations, it would be a good idea to tell them in advance though.

Don’t cross the boundary or dispose of the branches or other material from the tree into your neighbours’ garden, ask first if they want it returned to them. If they don’t, it will be your responsibility to get rid of it.

If the tree is protected by a preservation order or is located within a conservation area, you’ll need to get permission before working on its living parts.

My tree is protected and has been damaged by strong winds. What should I do?

Do whatever is needed to make the tree safe. It must be the minimum required and any additional work will require an application of consent. You must inform the Planning Authority as soon as possible if you have carried out work to a damaged protected tree or if a protected tree has been blown over into your garden. You may be required to replace a protected tree that has been blown down or felled.

If possible take a photograph of the storm damage or contact us to make a written report, as it will be your responsibility to prove that the work carried out was essential to make the tree safe

Who becomes responsible for looking after the trees once protected?

The owner remains responsible for the trees but you must seek permission before carrying out work unless they are dead, dying, or dangerous. Contact us for appropriate help or advice on how the trees should be managed or on how best to carry out any work.

What happens if I carry out work on a protected tree without permission?

If you destroy or damage a tree you could be fined up to £20,000 if convicted in the magistrates court. For other offences you could be fined up to £2,500 and you will normally have to plant a replacement.

Do I always need permission to work on a protected tree?

Yes except where:

You cut down trees under one of the Forestry Commission’s grant schemes or where the commission has granted a felling licence. You can cut down or cut back a tree in the following circumstances:

  • If the tree is dead, dying or dangerous.
  • In line with an obligation under an Act of Parliament.
  • At the request of certain organisations specified in the order.
  • If it is directly in the way of a development that is about to start for which detailed planning permission has been granted.
  • In a commercial orchard, or pruning fruit trees in accordance with good horticultural practice.
  • To prevent or control a legal nuisance (you may find it helpful to check first with a solicitor)