Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby italiaphile » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:23 pm

I wonder if I could seek your collective advice on the correct way to prune overhanging branches and problems associated therewith. I have several trees on my boundary which are mine along with the hedge (conifer at c. 8ft). (My husband planted both trees & hedge many years ago). The trees are now a reasonable size., i.e 25 ft + (I should perhaps mention I have a very large garden surrounded by farm land and have other large trees planted c. 25 years ago - mostly British native deciduous trees; we are not talking a small surburban garden here). I noticed last year that a couple of the trees on the boundary did not seem to have a great deal of leaf cover. A few years ago my new neighbour asked if they could remove some overhanging branches from a couple of the boundary trees. I saw no reason to refuse this request. They also asked if the hedge could be lowered to c. 4ft (this request I refused as the hedge was at 8ft when they bought the property and I have a very large greenhouse next to the hedge). A couple of years after their request to prune one of the tree (a double-trunker) it lost one of the main trunks during an early autumn gale. It actually fell on to my property (& miraculously didn't smash my greenhouse roof). We removed the split portion and used a chainsaw to neaten the ragged split on the trunk.

Recently the neighbour informed me that a branch had fallen from one of trees and that it had done some damage in their garden. I went to inspect this and asked the whereabouts of the offending branch (I had assumed they would have left it in situ. It had been cut up and they intended to use the wood on their fire. I was shown the damage and agreed that replacements should be purchased for which I would reimburse them. I have no problem with paying for any damage.

However, on looking at the tree and also another on the boundary there were several branches that had been pruned but have been left as stumps and have not been cut back to the trunk. I believe (but cannot prove) that these branches were pruned during the summer months and nor has a sealant been used on the cuts. As I gave permission, do I have right to expect that the pruning should have been done to best arboriculture practice (at the correct time of year etc. & by a qualified tree surgeon)? Is it possible that incorrect pruning has resulted in the trees becoming diseased and thus more liable to lose branches & possibly also the split trunk?

Would it be considered unreasonable for me to request that they ask my permission every time they wish for an overhanging branch to be removed and that I then insist that a properly qualified tree surgeon does the necessary work at their expense?

I would also be most grateful if anyone could tell me if there is an "official" register for tree surgeons (in the same way that the Gas Register allows one to seek a registered gas plumber).
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby mugwump » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:43 pm

As I gave permission, do I have right to expect that the pruning should have been done to best arboriculture practice (at the correct time of year etc. & by a qualified tree surgeon)?
Not really


Would it be considered unreasonable for me to request that they ask my permission every time they wish for an overhanging branch to be removed and that I then insist that a properly qualified tree surgeon does the necessary work at their expense?
Yes it would. If you want a tree surgeon to do it then it is only fair that you pay for it.
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby italiaphile » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:35 pm

Thanks mugwump for responding.

I think my question was probably that if a deciduous tree is pruned improperly (i.e in the height of the summer) then it runs the risk of damage to the tree and therefore any work should have been done at an appropriate time? I am not talking about twigs, but lopping branches.

Yes, I can quite see that if I wish a tree surgeon to do any work I should pay, however I wonder if I can insist that they inform me if they want to do any more lopping of branches etc. I do have a family member who is young, fit (& sensible!) who does manage some of the other trees in my garden (i.e. a professionally-maintained Stihl chainsaw and all of the necessary personal & other safety equipment) and who is more than capable of dealing with overhanging branches. Having observed other efforts in their garden these particular neighbours seem to like the "hedgehog" style of pruning.... and although they have said that any necessary work can be done from their garden I feel that I would not like to do this at the wrong time of year, so my further question is whether we can insist that I always arrange to do any future pruning and that it be done at a suitable time of year?
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby mr sheen » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:19 pm

If branches overhang into someone else's land they have the right to remove them. It would be nice if they did this with respect for the tree but if you allow your trees to encroach onto someone else's land they can hack away to the boundary in any way they like.

If you want them pruned in a specific way such as by a tree surgeon, then you have to ask their permission to go onto their land and pay for the work.
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby arsie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:45 pm

Any 'arisings' are technically your property and they cannot keep any branches for firewood etc without your permission.
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby ukmicky » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:06 pm

It was also a nice gesture paying for the damage but legally you could have refused.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby italiaphile » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:51 pm

Thank you to everyone who has taken time to comment on my post, much appreciated.

to Mr. Sheen,
I think my major concern is that if my neighbours do "hack with gay abandon" they may do irreversible damage to the trees and thus kill the trees. Dead trees are expensive in both time & money to deal with, I would feel morally obliged to both sort out the removal & pay the costs. So prevention of such a scenario is something I would like to achieve, hence knowing if I can in any way insist that I undertake work on the trees at the correct time of year; rather than the neighbours doing it whenever it suits them. During our recent discussions they had no problem with my doing work from their garden, but I did not mention to them about only myself undertaking to have such work done.

To Arsie,
Thanks, I did know that the "arisings" are my property and as I do regularly have log fires at home the wood would have been useful! However, I did not want to make an issue of it as it is really only a minor thing as opposed to upsetting neighbours......

TO Ukmicky
I was unaware that I was not legally obliged to pay for the damage (I suppose they could have claimed on their insurance or perhaps I could have claimed on mine), however as I mentioned above I would feel a moral obligation to do so. As the damage was relatively minor, cost versus good neighbour relations is usually going to come down on the side of a good relationship. Further to Mr. Sheen's response, If I have no legal obligation to pay for damage, does this mean that if they then "hack" & kill the tree(s) and it then falls and damages their property I would not be responsible?

In my original post I did ask if there was any way in which I could find a qualified tree surgeon. I am quite sure that if I asked around locally, I would have quite a few recommended to me, but I need to be very sure that anyone I pay to do this sort of work has professional indemnity insurance, and is experienced and properly qualified. I do know several people locally who do this type of work, but if I start asking questions about insurance & qualifications it will definitely cause offence! (I have lived in this very small rural community for forty years & I know that "word" gets around faster than light.) Or to put it another way is there a professional association that tree surgeon can be members of?
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby arsie » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:00 pm

I think the Arboricultural Association is the best as they regularly re-assess.
We have a few tree professionals on here who may express a helpful opinion or two.
This is what Which? says: http://local.which.co.uk/advice/choosing-a-tree-surgeon-choose-best-surgery
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby italiaphile » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:09 pm

Arsie,

Thank you, most helpful. I've bookmarked link for future reference.
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Re: Overhanging branches - appropriate care

Postby TO » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:50 am

Hi
arsie wrote:the Arboricultural Association is the best as they regularly re-assess.

http://www.trees.org.uk/find-a-professi ... e-Surgeons

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