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Welcome to our FAQs page!

Here you will find answers to a lot of questions our customers ask us.

If you feel that you cannot find the answer to a particular question, please feel free to Contact Us as we are always happy to help.


Am I responsible for my trees?


Yes - you are if the trees are on your land. It is your responsibility to maintain your trees so they do not cause harm or injury to persons or property. If it is proved that you are negligent, you could be fined.


What Is a TPO?


Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) are the legal mechanism to protect and preserve trees for public enjoyment, environmental and aesthetic purposes; bushes, shrubs and hedges are not covered. Trees are also protected by legislation covering Conservation Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.


Information regarding any protected trees on your land can be obtained from the Land Charges Register, held by your Local Authority Planning Department.


Permission to carry out work on a TPO tree needs to be applied for, in advance, to the Local Authority Planning Department. This includes routine pruning, even of a fruit tree. Assessment by a tree surgeon may aid the application. It is important to realise that it is the land owner who is responsible for the upkeep and care of the tree, and for any health and safety risks it may pose. Exceptions can be made to the need for permission in case of emergency, but it is better to inform the Council first. Fines can be up to £20,000 for unauthorised interference with a protected tree.

If you wish to protect a tree in your area, write to the Planning Authority stating your reasons, and include a map to aid identification. An immediate, temporary, TPO could come into place. The Authority would then inform neighbours and interested parties. Any objections must be received within 28 days. After six months, the temporary TPO could be confirmed and made permanent, or allowed to lapse. Note that TPO’s do not protect trees from felling where a new development has been granted planning permission by the Planning Authority.

If you have a TPO on your tree, Kendal Tree Surgery can liaise directly with your local authority regarding the work needed and we can complete all the necessary application forms on your behalf.


What is a Conservation Area?


A conservation area is an ‘area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’ A conservation area may be the historic centre of a town or village, an older unspoilt residential area, or an important country house in large landscaped grounds. The designation of a conservation area introduces special controls, including the requirement of consent from the Council to demolish any building or part of a building or to carry out works on unprotected trees. These restrictions aim to ensure that the special architectural and historic interest of an area is retained for the benefit of local residents, businesses, visitors and future generations. If your property falls within a conservation area and you have a tree that requires work, you will need to check with your local authority before you carry out any work. Permission to carry out work on a tree in a Conservation Area must be requested in advance. If the Council refuses, or if local residents object, an additional TPO could be placed on that tree. If a tree needs to be felled, the Local Authority may insist that a replacement is planted.


I have overhanging branches in my garden. What can I do?


You are allowed by law to cut back branches or hedges that overhang your garden from a neighbouring property (provided the tree is not the subject of a Tree Preservation Order). You must offer the cut wood or any fruit to the neighbour who owns the tree. Disputes can usually be resolved by good communication and common sense.


Can I get a price over the phone?


Not usually. Every tree has its own individual characteristics, and every job has different logistics and complications.


What time of year is right to prune my trees?


Pruning can be done year round, although there are things to consider when deciding when to prune your trees. Your certified arborist can discuss your options depending on the tree species and the preferred results.

Formative pruning

Corrective pruning is best carried out while the tree is still young. This may involve shortening or removing any competing leaders, and removing damaged, dead or diseased wood. Lower laterals on feathered trees may also need removing in stages over the first few years.


What is pollarding?


In this extreme form of pruning, the entire head or crown is removed which can make most attractive small trees. Pollarding is a method of pruning that keeps trees and shrubs smaller than they would naturally grow. It is normally started once a tree or shrub reaches a certain height, and annual pollarding will restrict the plant to that height.


Pollarding is a pruning technique used for many reasons, including:

•Preventing trees and shrubs outgrowing their allotted space

•Pollarding can reduce the shade cast by a tree

•May be necessary on street trees to prevent electric wires and streetlights being obstructed


What is crown lifting (or Crown Raising)?


Lifting the crown by removing lower branches will allow access for mowing, mulching and enjoying the shade cast by the tree or for pedestrians/vehicle to pass under a tree. Crown lifting is an effective method of increasing light transmission to areas closer to the tree.


What is a Crown Reduction?


The reduction in height and/or spread of the crown (the foliage bearing portions) of a tree. Crown reduction may be used to activate mechanical stress on individual branches or the whole tree, make the tree more suited to its immediate environment or to reduce the effects of shading and light loss, etc. The final result should retain the main framework of the crown, and so a significant proportion of the leaf bearing structure, and leave a similar, although smaller outline, and if necessary add symmetry to the tree.


What is crown thinning?


Crown thinning is the selective removal of stems and smaller branches to increase light penetration and air movement throughout the crown of a tree

Crown thinning does not alter the overall size or shape of the tree. Material should be removed systematically throughout the tree, should not exceed the stated percentage and not more than 30% overall. Common reasons for crown thinning are to allow more light to pass through the tree, reduce wind resistance.

. The intent is to improve a tree's structure and form while making life uncomfortable for tree pests.


Can you take my tree down safely?


Felling Trees -When trees need to be removed, our expert staff are second to none. Trees can be straight felled where they cut down in the conventional manner we can section fell trees where the space is limited or to minimise danger.


What is sectional dismantling?


Sectional dismantling is the process of taking down medium to large sized trees a piece at a time. This involves using ropes and spikes to climb the tree, then if needed, the use of ropes to lower the branches to the ground. This technique is ideal for trees that are dead, dangerous, storm damaged, overhanging buildings & property or sites which have difficult access and/or confined space.


What is stump grinding?


When removing a tree or large shrub to ground level, a small proportion of the trunk or stem remains in the ground.

This is known as the ‘Stump’. There are many reasons why a stump should be removed; When a new building is to be constructed, When a new fence is to be erected, When it is not appealing to leave an old stump in the lawn.

Tree stumps can be left in the ground after felling but this can lead to problems with suckering where new shoots arise from the trunk and roots. Completely dead stumps won’t form suckers, but they can play host to root diseases such as honey fungus aren’t worth leaving in and taking the risk.


The most efficient way of completing removing a stump is by using the Stump Grinder.

The stump grinding machine we use has a width of 35 inches, which is compatible with most garden gates.

We cannot guarantee that this will go through all gates however we will try our best.


The Stump grinder has a large cutter wheel with a number of teeth; this is placed onto the stump and lowered progressively until the stump is ground out.

This machine is capable of grinding various sizes of stump and can grind to a depth of 10-12 inches below ground level. This may leave some of the root system in place, however without the tree in place these will eventually rot away.

There will be a pile of chippings and soil left behind in the hole, to rot away.

If a stump was diseased and threatens the health of other plants then we would advise chippings and soil be removed and replaced.


My neighbour’s trees are blocking my light, what can I do about it?


There is no automatic right to light or a view in law. The right to light may be earned under the Prescriptions Act 1832 by which a person must have enjoyed light to a window in the dwelling for 20 years before the obstruction appeared.

If your neighbour’s tree is causing problems, the first step is to talk to them. They may not even be aware of your concerns. Give them the chance to put things right and look for a solution everyone will be reasonably happy with. If, for example, you are worried about shading, it may be that the tree can be thinned rather than felled. Kendal Tree Surgery are happy to mediate with your neighbour on your behalf to achieve a mutually agreeable solution will almost certainly be preferable to a lengthy, costly and bitter legal battle.


What constitutes a Dangerous Tree?


Common law does not require tree owners to prune or maintain their trees – even if they are dangerous. It just places the liability on them should someone suffer damage if they fail to do so. As a dangerous tree could cause a lot of damage, prevention is better than allocating blame. Kendal Tree Surgery can advise you on the best course of action for your dangerous tree, whether that be a complete fell or maybe a reduction to protect you, the public or property. Some points to look out for;

Are there large dead branches in the tree?

Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?

Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?

Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?

Have any branches fallen from the tree?

Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?

Has the trunk developed a strong lean?


Who owns the tree on my boundary?


Trees are the property of the owner of the land on which they grow. When it’s obvious where the tree is growing ownership can be assessed easily. However, if a tree is growing adjacent to or spanning boundaries ownership detection can be problematic. To find out who owns the tree you need to establish where the boundary line runs and on which side the tree first grew or was planted. Neither of these are easy to find out especially if the tree is mature. Your property deeds will sometimes say if a tree is on your land but otherwise you may have to come to an amicable agreement with your neighbour. Ultimately, if you are willing to take the matter far enough, a Court would decide for you.  Another thing to remember is that all trees are owned by somebody. There is no such thing as “no man’s land” – all land and therefore all trees are owned by somebody.


Do you take all tree waste away with you and what happens to it?


We remove all tree waste created from your job. It is either chipped or logged into the rear of our vehicle as trees are cut. If you would prefer you can choose to keep your wood chippings and logs, and we will be happy to cut them to size. Speak to us before we start your work. All our waste is taken to an authorised green waste recycling centre and local farms and nurseries for recycling.


Do I need to be home when you carry out the work?


No, we are happy to carry out the work without the homeowner being present. We just need access to your garden.


Will you need to access my neighbour’s garden?


In 90% of cases we don’t need to access neighbours gardens. However, there are some cases where we do need to; if a tree is on or very close to a boundary. However, we would always get permission first.


Are you insured?


Yes we have £5 million public liability insurance. We are happy to show you our policy before we start work. We have been operating in this business for over 30 years and to date, we have never needed to make a claim on our insurance so you have peace of mind that your property is in safe hands.


Tree icon Kendal Tree Surgery Ltd Van A man standing beside a chopped tree Kendal tree surgery van in front of a tree