Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a tree surgeon charge to cut down a tree?

The average cost of removing a small and simple variety tree like a multi-stem birch tree is between £300 to £500. For a larger birch tree, it’s between £500 to £800. A large oak tree that is harder to access, requires a large team and takes several days, could be between £2500 and £400. These costs include the labour for removing the resulting debris. Ultimately, the price you pay depends on the size of the tree, the type of tree, its location in your garden and how accessible it is. A very large oak tree that is in a confined space, up against a property boundary, will take longer, require a larger team and possibly specialist equipment (e.g. an aerial platform). Consequently, removing the tree will be more expensive. Cutting down a tree is high risk work that calls for precision and ensuring nobody is hurt and no property is damaged.

When is the best time to remove a tree?

The Arboricultural Association echoes the RSPB in that tree work should be carried out outside of the bird nesting season which officially runs from February until August. In reality, this timeline can begin earlier and end much later depending on the weather and the species of bird. As responsible tree service professionals, we follow these guidelines and aim to minimise our impact on nesting birds by observing the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and European Habitats Directive 1992/Nesting Birds Directive. We generally assume birds might be nesting during their season and will carry out a survey to confirm otherwise before carrying out any tree work.

Do I need permission to cut down a tree in my garden?

In the majority of cases, the answer is no. However, whether you intend to remove a single branch or fell an entire tree, you will need planning permission from your local Council, if the tree in question has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) imposed on it. A local planning authority usually creates this written order to protect trees that deliver a desirable or useful value to the public. Therefore, you will be breaking the law if you do not first seek permission before wilfully destroying, pruning, chopping down or uprooting a protected tree. Typically, trees within conservation areas or a tree in your garden that is visible and consequently contributing to public enjoyment could potentially be under a TPO. Your local council’s tree officer will be able to provide you with further clarification if needed.

Does my home insurance cover tree damage?

Most home insurance policies typically provide cover against damage to property and its contents from falling branches or tree damage as a result of adverse weather conditions, eg. storm, lightning. However, you will not be covered for damage caused by being negligent in ensuring the tree within your property boundary was safe and healthy. Any damage caused during tree maintenance by a tree surgeon will also not be covered. Ensure the tree service company you employ holds the necessary insurance to cover the work you have instructed them to undertake.

Can I cut down my neighbour’s tree?

It can be an extremely frustrating experience, for instance, if a neighbouring tree is blotting out the light from your garden and your neighbour is being uncooperative in helping to resolve the issue by pruning their tree. Legally, you are allowed to cut back overhanging branches as long as you return the cut branches to your neighbour. Yes, really you must. However, be certain that the tree you intend to trim does not have a Tree Preservation Order imposed on it, or you could be breaking the law. Further, you open yourself up to liability should your neighbours consider your actions as a contributing factor to the damage of their tree. You can go down the legal route but it can be prohibitively expensive and possibly result in ongoing friction with your neighbour. If it is not too much of an irritant, it might be best to learn to live with it or try and come to an amicable solution with your neighbour.

What is the difference between an arborist and a tree surgeon?

Tree surgeon and arborist are usually used interchangeably. Typically a tree surgeon is responsible for the general maintenance and care of trees. Typical tasks include pruning trees, grinding tree stumps and removing trees. Some jobs are often complex and dangerous requiring a great deal of training, skill, precision and professionalism.
Arborists are well-versed in advanced tree care and able to diagnose the biological issues affecting a tree. They are qualified in being able to take into consideration the surroundings, including soil type, to advise on which plants and trees will thrive in certain conditions. They are also able to quickly diagnose any diseases affecting a tree and provide impartial solutions.

How do I find a good tree surgeon?

At the very least, make sure the tree surgeons you plan on hiring have the necessary qualifications to carry out the job you want them to do. At a minimum, they should hold the basic NPTC qualifications and First Aid at Work. If the job involves aerial work or the use of chainsaws, then they should also hold these additional certifications:
CS30 – Maintenance of the chainsaw, on site preparation and basic cross cutting
CS38 Climb a tree and perform aerial rescue
CS39 – Use of a chainsaw from a rope and harness

They should also complete works to the British Standards 3998 and 5837 for Tree Work. Check that they have the adequate public liability and professional indemnity insurances to compensate you should anything go wrong. Tree work can be a risky endeavour.

Contact our professional tree surgeons for the most reliable tree solution. We provide free complimentary site advice and can also deliver a no-obligation quote within 24 hours.