FAQs – Dave Ford Tree Care

As professional tree surgeons, we adhere to many strict regulations and carry out all of our work to British Standard BS3998, with annual assessments from the Arboricultural Association Approved Contractors Scheme. We are customer-focused at all times and our arborists offer professional advice as well as quotes for work. In addition, our Environment Policy ensures that we are as kind and supportive to the local environment as possible.

Below are some of the questions we are most frequently asked. If you don’t see an answer to your query, please email us here or call 01306 888441.


What are protected trees?

Trees and hedgerows can sometimes be protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or because they stand in a Conservation Area. It is illegal to carry out work on these trees and hedges without first seeking permission from your local planning authority.

Once you have hired us to carry out any tree work, our experienced team will check to see if an application is required and take care of all the necessary paperwork free of charge. The process should take around eight weeks (sometimes longer) for a TPO and around six weeks for all Conservation Area work to be assessed and processed by the local council. Once we have the necessary permissions in place we will arrange an agreeable date with you for the work to commence. You can read more on the government website here.

Can I get my neighbour to cut back or reduce the height of their trees or hedges?

Neighbours’ trees can be difficult, but in most situations, the answer is no. Under common law, you have a right to prune back the parts of a tree or hedge that are growing outside of your neighbour’s boundary and into your property, but this is subject to any legal restrictions such as Tree Preservation Orders or Conservation Areas. Legally you cannot compel your neighbours to carry out this work themselves or to pay for this to be carried out. You have no legal right to a view that has been obscured by your neighbour’s trees.

If your neighbour’s hedge or tree is dangerous and a hazard to your property, then consult an arboricultural expert such as Dave Ford Tree Care for advice, as there is an action that can usually be taken. However, as with all disputes, it is always better to work out an amicable solution with your neighbour by talking about the problem and asking them to see first-hand the problems you are experiencing from your property.

Evergreen Hedges

If your neighbours have an evergreen hedge close to your property it is possible to make a formal complaint to your local planning authority (LPA) under the High Hedges legislation which forms part of the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003. The LPA will assess your complaint using the guidance laid out in the Hedge Height and Light Loss report and can determine an Action Height to which the hedge must be reduced.

How is wildlife effected by tree surgery?

To protect the natural habitats of native wildlife our work is governed by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Trees and hedges can often be a habitat for animals and nesting wild birds and these are all protected in the Act whilst they are actively nesting or roosting. The Act also makes it an offence to destroy any wild bird eggs.

As part of our initial assessment, we check and record the instances of nesting or roosting birds and can advise on a safe and legal time of year to carry out your tree works.

Do we remove the wood and brush that we cut down?

That all depends on you! We will quote for exactly what you want. If you would like to keep the woodchip from the job to use as mulch in your garden to enrich the soil and suppress weeds or keep the logs to create a habitat pile or to season and use as winter fuel then we can build this into your quote. Utilising the ‘waste’ from your tree works in your own property is the ultimate in recycling and by far the greenest option.

If you would like all waste removed (as is more typical) we ensure that no part of the tree is wasted and that local community projects benefit wherever possible, with the remainder going to wood biomass to produce low carbon electricity.

Should ivy be removed from trees?

For many years it was a commonly held belief that ivy on a tree should be removed to allow more light, water and nutrients to the tree and stop it from becoming completely smothered. However, more recent research into the relationship between ivy and its host has shown that ivy is not an instant threat to a tree and it is not necessary to remove it in most instances. In terms of the environment, ivy has been shown to be a very attractive habitat for insects and invertebrates which in turn can be of great benefit to birds and wildlife as a source of food.  Even bats, which are protected by law, use the ivy to roost amongst.

Our expert assessor can advise you on the best course of action for your tree.

Can we remove tree stumps?


If you have an old tree stump that needs removing or you are about to have a tree felled, we can grind out the stumps to a 30cm/12 inch depth. The stump grindings are then used to fill the hole created. This area will then be suitable for planting new trees, which we can advise on, supply and plant for you. Every new tree planted contributes to a greener future.

Should I inform my neighbours?


As a good neighbour, it is polite to let them know that we will be working next to their property and that there may be noise from chainsaws, chippers or stump grinders, especially now that more people work from home.

A brief guide to legislation for trees from the Arboricultural Association

You can read more about the legal status of trees and tree work on the Arboricultural Association website here including:

  • Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
  • Conservation Areas
  • Trees and the planning system
  • Felling Licences
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • Restrictive Covenants