How we maintain our trees and hedges

Information about the Arboricultural Service, tree pruning, high hedges and more.

How to request for work to be carried out on council-owned trees

A single red leaf fallen from a tree

We receive many requests to prune or fell council-owned trees.

We won't normally prune or fell a healthy and well-formed tree for the following reasons:

  • tree size or height, unless considered necessary for safety reasons
  • loss of light or too much shade to adjacent properties
  • blocking views
  • shedding of twigs, leaves, seeds, fruit, nuts, cones or flowers
  • interference with satellite or television aerial signals
  • fall of honeydew, which is sometimes incorrectly referred to as sap
  • fall of bird droppings onto buildings, vehicles or footways
  • branches causing interference with overhead telephone wires, to have this looked at contact the service supplier
  • alleged root damage to property
  • reduced security to property by virtue of concealment

About tree roots

It's very unusual for tree roots to physically break underground drains and pipework. However, tree roots will grow where conditions are favourable.

An old pipe which is cracked and/or has poor joints leaking water into the surrounding soil will attract tree roots which are growing nearby. These may then exploit the weakness and enter the pipe, causing a blockage or further damage to the pipework. Often when repairs are required the nearest tree is blamed.

The removal of trees in these instances is rarely required as replacement or repair of faulty drains and pipes with modern materials will usually eliminate the leak and prevent the problem from recurring.

About high hedges

High hedges

If you're having problems with a neighbour's hedge, the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 gives powers to deal with complaints about high hedges to district councils and unitary authorities.

This means that provided they have attempted and exhausted all means to resolve the hedge dispute, potential complainants will be able to take their case to the local authority.

At this point, the council will only adjudicate whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of the property.

In doing so, the local authority must take account of all relevant factors and must seek a balanced assessment of the concerns of both parties and the interests of the wider community.

The following leaflets are available from the Communities and Local Government website:

If you've read the leaflet and would like to submit a complaint about a high hedge, download a high hedges complaint form and the high hedges complaint form guidance notes.

You can also phone the Arboriculture Service on 01273 29 29 29 and ask for the form and guidance notes to be sent to you.

Arboricultural Information Notes

The Arboricultural Information Notes give general information on a number of tree-related issues, from maintenance to an appreciation of associated wildlife. They are not specialist papers.

We hope the information will encourage you to research further into subjects that prove of interest by using books, the internet and practical visits to parks, woodland and the wider countryside.

This series of information notes will be added to periodically. Any suggestions for subjects you would like included would be welcomed for consideration.

Subjects covered to date are:

  1. Tree Planting (PDF 98KB)
  2. Trees in Small Gardens (PDF 115KB)
  3. Bats and Trees (PDF 135KB)
  4. Tree Work - Choosing Your Arborist (PDF 111KB)
  5. Tree Roots and Structures (PDF 90KB)
  6. Mulching your Borders with Woodchips (PDF 94KB)
  7. Tree Pruning (PDF 95KB)
  8. Horse Chestnut Scale (Pulvinaria regalis) (PDF 87KB)
  9. Fireblight of ornamental trees and shrubs (PDF 100KB)
  10. Winter Moth (PDF 137KB)
  11. Peach Leaf Curl (PDF 89KB)
  12. Cold Damage (PDF 89KB)
  13. Damage by Grey Squirrels (PDF 162KB)
  14. Tar Spot Fungus (PDF 202KB)