Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby PoshP » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:40 am

Hi
Hopefully someone can give me some advise on this

I have several large willow trees adjacent to my property sitting on Council owned land. These trees are approx 16-17 meters high and tower above my roof by some 7-8 meters

The problem I have, apart from completely shading my garden (being on the south west side) is that they are dropping their leaves and blocking my gutters and down pipes. I have paid twice this year already to get the gutters cleared

I contacted the council and they agreed to come and look, which they did. Their reply was that because the trees were not a "Health & Safety" issue they would not (could not) pay to rectify the problem, however, I could cut all overhanging branches

There are not many overhanging branches and the problem is not the overhang, it's the height. When the wind blows they lean right over the garden and it is now too frightening to go in my garden on a windy day because they look like they are going to break. I know they won't but this does not stop the fear

I asked two arborists to quote for this work. One said that these trees need to be coppiced because they are over mature and cutting back to the boundary would not sort the problem of leaf fall. If you reduce this tree back to the boundary line, it is not going to stop the leaf from blocking the gutter. They also said "if you reduce the Willow by 25% you will have a very weak regrowth and possible dangerous structure and this is why we feel it needs coppicing, to then let it re-shoot"

The other said that I should put guards on my gutters to stop the problem !! ( I have since found out that this company are the main contractors for my local councils Parks & Open Spaces and, almost certainly, have a conflict of interest)

I obtained a quote from the first arborists to have this work done and presented it to the Council with the view to paying for this work myself

The Council have said that they cannot allow me to do this because it is not fair on other people who cannot afford to have work done on trees that belong to the Council.

My question is where do I stand? Do I have to pay several times a year to get my gutters cleared or can these trees be considered a "nuisance" and therefore the Council has to do something about it or at least let me sort the problem.

ps... these trees were planted 20 years ago, after I purchased the property and they were planted at 8 feet intervals. There are now several trees because the seeds have fallen, taken hold and are now towering above my property along with the original trees. If the area had been properly managed then these would/should have been removed before they were allowed to grow and now tower above my property

Any help or advice as to how I should tackle this problem would be grately appreciated

Thank you

PoshP
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby TO » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:51 am

Hi

You can cut back to the boundary everything that encroaches. That's it.

TO
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby PoshP » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:55 am

TO wrote:Hi

You can cut back to the boundary everything that encroaches. That's it.

TO


By "Encroaches" does this mean I can cut the tops that lean over ?
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby Conveyancer » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:12 pm

The problem you have is that leaf fall is regarded as natural and that clearing up leaves whether from gutters or elsewhere is considered part of routine maintenance.
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby TO » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:10 pm

Hi

If its your side of the boundary you can cut it off. But make sure the trees aren't protected first.

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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby xdave » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:59 am

PoshP wrote:I obtained a quote from the first arborists to have [the trees coppiced] and presented it to the Council with the view to paying for this work myself

The Council have said that they cannot allow me to do this because it is not fair on other people who cannot afford to have work done on trees that belong to the Council.

Sadly, as mentioned, legally you can only cut overhanging branches.

However I would keep pursuing the coppicing route. Find out your local councillor and meet with them, preferable on site, asking them to justify why the council is not prepared to let you carry out the work because the answer they have given you is nonsense. Push very hard the very real effect the fear of them falling in high winds causes you and that you cannot enjoy your own property due to that fear. I have a number of willows a few hundred feet from my property (also on council land) and whilst they cause me no problem I can appreciate the fear you describe because they must be fifty feet high and bend over around 45 degrees in strong winds which is getting very close to the limit of their flexibility.

Also push that coppicing the trees at their height they are now will improve the health and longer term amenity enjoyment of the trees for all.

The very last thing any local authority considers is fairness for other people - at any level below the semi-democratic council members themselves they are only interested in two things: controlling money (budgets) and officer power. With that in mind maybe a revised offer to pay for the council's own arborists or contractors to carry out the work with you paying into the appropriate council budget might return a more positive result? Failing that you may find a donation to a community cause may get you the permission you need. In other circles it is called bribery but with local authorities they are called community payments.
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby Geometer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:30 pm

PoshP wrote:Hi
I asked two arborists to quote for this work. One said that these trees need to be coppiced because they are over mature and cutting back to the boundary would not sort the problem of leaf fall. If you reduce this tree back to the boundary line, it is not going to stop the leaf from blocking the gutter. They also said "if you reduce the Willow by 25% you will have a very weak regrowth and possible dangerous structure and this is why we feel it needs coppicing, to then let it re-shoot"

xdave wrote:
Also push that coppicing the trees at their height they are now will improve the health and longer term amenity enjoyment of the trees for all.

There seems to be some confusion of terms here.

"Coppicing" is a woodland management technique that involves cutting trees down to ground level. They then regenerate from the stump, forming multi-stemmed growths that are more like large shrubs than trees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing

I suggest the technique being discussed here is actually "pollarding", a pruning system commonly used in urban tree management in which the upper branches of a tree are removed, promoting a dense head of foliage and branches. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby Treeman » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:17 am

xdave wrote:
PoshP wrote:I obtained a quote from the first arborists to have [the trees coppiced] and presented it to the Council with the view to paying for this work myself

The Council have said that they cannot allow me to do this because it is not fair on other people who cannot afford to have work done on trees that belong to the Council.

Sadly, as mentioned, legally you can only cut overhanging branches.

However I would keep pursuing the coppicing route. Find out your local councillor and meet with them, preferable on site, asking them to justify why the council is not prepared to let you carry out the work because the answer they have given you is nonsense. Push very hard the very real effect the fear of them falling in high winds causes you and that you cannot enjoy your own property due to that fear. I have a number of willows a few hundred feet from my property (also on council land) and whilst they cause me no problem I can appreciate the fear you describe because they must be fifty feet high and bend over around 45 degrees in strong winds which is getting very close to the limit of their flexibility.

Also push that coppicing the trees at their height they are now will improve the health and longer term amenity enjoyment of the trees for all.
The very last thing any local authority considers is fairness for other people - at any level below the semi-democratic council members themselves they are only interested in two things: controlling money (budgets) and officer power. With that in mind maybe a revised offer to pay for the council's own arborists or contractors to carry out the work with you paying into the appropriate council budget might return a more positive result? Failing that you may find a donation to a community cause may get you the permission you need. In other circles it is called bribery but with local authorities they are called community payments.



Hmmmmm

Firstly as others have pointed out you have the terminology wrong, you also don't seem to understand tree health matters.

Hacking bits of trees is bad for trees, it is harmful and damages the morphology creating hazards.

Historically coppice and pollard techniques were cyclical occurrences harvesting round timber of a particular size, they tolerate the treatment but it will not promote health. If you take that argument to the LA you will get "laughed out of court"

As far as paying for the pruning goes, its going to be a cyclical operation, if it gets left the trees will become hazardous. If I were the tree owner (in the interest of not burdening the rate payers with un needed costs) I would want a legally binding agreement for the other party to pay for the works on a cyclical management plan regardless of where they move to in the future.
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby despair » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:31 pm

Willows very rapidly grow back if they are pruned
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby xdave » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:30 pm

You are of course correct - I read the OP as pollarding and did not make the distinction as I assumed that was what had been meant. If the trees are that large and not being grown for their timber or shoots then I can't see the LA coppicing them.

However what I meant by improving the long term enjoyment of the trees was that my LA (Mid Devon DC) will fell willows once they reach about 20 metres - not coppiced but felled and the stumps are either pulled out by JCB or ground down. They then plant new immature willows on the same site. They have systematically done this at various parks and other public sites around my town for all the years I have been living here citing safety rather than cost as the reason. If they pollarded them then, based on willows that I have owned in the past, they would regrow sufficiently to provide amenity value within one season. I'm assuming that the OPs LA believe the trees to be of value else I can't see why they would refuse PoshP's offer to have the work carried out at his/her cost, hence a local councillor who could see the benefit as well as the nuisance they are causing might have enough power to sway their decision. It would be cheaper to try that than jumping right in to buying a new slide for the local playground.
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Re: Overhanging trees blocking my gutters

Postby PoshP » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:15 pm

Thanks for the replies and help

I have now had further correspondence from them and they say "no work needs doing" - unbelievable. These trees have not been maintained in 20 years and they don't think any work needs to be done !

They have offered me an independent safety inspection or an option to escalate this. Does anyone know what an independent safety inspection involves?

I think i will also contact my local councilor and see what he has to say
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