There are many reasons for carrying out tree surveys and choosing the right one to suit your requirements can be a little confusing.
Whether you require a tree survey for building and planning permission, structural condition, risk assessment or ecology and wildlife, we can help.
Our arboricultural consultants have over 15 years’ experience in the industry and have unrivalled knowledge of tree biology.
This enables us to carry out high quality and detailed surveys in accordance with BS5837 regulations and local planning authority standards.
What is A Tree Survey?
Are you looking for information on tree surveys? Read our helpful guide which explains the basics of tree surveying to give you a better understanding.
A tree survey is a survey which is carried out on public or private land. It is used for providing information for trees so home and landowners can make informed decisions.
The information provided is used to determine what should be done with the trees on the property and contains lots of information.
It will help to decide which trees should be retained or removed and is very useful when it comes to decision making.
You can make use of the report in many ways by using the data revealed by the survey.
Tree Surveys Will Disclose Information Like:
- Species of the trees
- Diameter and height measurements
- Identify the health of trees
- Decay and disease detection
- Age and life expectancy
You will also find more information such as the value of trees to the property and management recommendations, but it can depend on the reason for the survey.
A tree survey will be mandatory for most regions in the UK to prevent protected trees from being taken down and to preserve wildlife habitats.
In general, they are conducted for the purposes of building and construction, and can be extremely important in these circumstances.
When is a Tree Survey Necessary?
In most cases a tree survey will be necessary if you are building or extending your property close to trees and wildlife habitats.
Here are some instances where a tree survey will be required:
Landowners Duty of Care
There are many reasons for having a tree survey done on your property but is actually the landowner’s duty of care to have their trees surveyed every 18 months.
Under the occupier’s liability acts 1957, it is the landowner’s duty of care to ensure the trees on the land are healthy and do not pose a risk to employees or the public.
In the Witley Parish Council v Cavanagh case study, a landowner is being sued because a tree on his property was not inspected frequently enough and fell, causing serious injury to a bus driver.
He had the trees inspected every three years but this accident could have been avoided if they were checked in two-year intervals.
This is a perfect example of why it makes sense to have a survey carried out every 18 months.
Taking Responsibly for Your Duty of Care
We are not only offering to do this for you, but also take full responsibility for duty of care on your property.
By us taking responsibility for your duty of care, you won’t have to worry about a thing and our company will take care of everything.
Extending Existing Properties, Construction of Ancillary Buildings or Change of Access
If you have trees on or in close proximity to your land, which stand within 12 meters of any extension, new building, service line, or access point, a survey will be required.
Similar to extending your property, any new building which stands within 12 meters of your site’s perimeter will require a tree survey.
This should include any tree with a diameter of more than 75mm and 1.5m tall.
When You May Not Require A Survey
Below are some instances where you may not require a tree survey.
Alterations to Existing Properties
If you are only altering the exterior of your property and not extending the building, adding new service lines or changing access routes, it is unlikely a tree survey will be required.
Tree Survey Process
A tree survey can be carried out in many ways and often in multiple stages from the initial consultation to carrying out the work.
GraftinGardeners surveyors employ a simple, yet highly effective surveying process. Below are our tree survey methods, used to carry out most surveys from start to finish.
- One of our tree consultants will perform a visual tree assessment (VTA), to establish the condition of the tree in its environment.
- We will approach the tree and visually inspect it all round to identify potentials hazards and targets.
- The root plate is the checked for compaction and movement.
- We will check the base of the tree for any signs of damage and also fungal pathogens.
- All stems will then be checked from the base of the tree.
- Branch unions, branches and the crown will be checked.
- Leaf’s and buds will be checked for vitality and signs of stress.
- A report will be made on the physiological and structural condition of each area.
- From that we generate recommendations and time scale for works.
- Finally, we generate a frequency of resurvey, giving you a future date for inspection.
Tree Surveying Services
GraftinGardeners provides a full range of tree surveying services for residential and commercial purposes throughout the UK.
No matter what kind of tree survey methods you require, our highly experienced surveyors provide an extensive range of surveying services tailored to your specific requirements.
Call us today for a free quote on: 0208 123 7653.
Or use the contact form below by clicking here.
There are many tree surveying services and it can get little confusing. We explain each service below in full detail to give you a better understanding.
Development, Construction, Building & Planning (BS5837 Reports)
Our surveyors provide high quality reports in accordance with BS5837 regulations to satisfy local planning authority standards.
Are you buying a new property or planning on doing construction or landscaping works to your property?
No matter what type of construction is being undertaken, the local authority will require a comprehensive tree report for any site where trees are present.
This must be carried out in accordance with BS5837:2012 Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction to satisfy local planning authority standards.
A standard report will include tree constraints plan drawings which are necessary for the majority of planning applications, but you may need an impact assessment, tree protection plan and method statement.
Below things that may be included in the survey:
- Surveying the entire site and providing detailed plans of each tree, its position, crown spread and root protection areas.
- Marking of the building area and tree protection measures.
- Assessment of landscape and shading.
- Life expectancy of all retained trees.
- Assessing retained trees for potential interaction on any building foundations and structures.
- Impact assessment for retained trees.
- Notice of application to carry out work on protected trees.
- Tree planting design, landscaping design and appraisal.
- Specifications for tree works and tendering.
- Contract supervision and site monitoring.
Ecology Surveys & Protected Species
We provide ecology surveys including habitat assessment, ecological study and protected species guidance throughout the UK.
Ecology surveys are generally required if there is a need to detail habitats and species within an area that is going to be changed in some way.
They are more commonly associated with construction and large developments and are used to identify any problems that can cause development from moving onward.
Other reasons you might require an ecology consultant is to better understand the biodiversity of an area, looking for opportunities to enhance the wildlife and species in planning, as well as nature conservation within areas.
Best Time for Ecological Surveys
The best time to perform an ecological survey will depend on many factors such as species, breeding seasons.
It is against the law to disturb or interfere with protected species or their habitats.
Early identification of ecological considerations enables detailed surveys to be scheduled at appropriate times to avoid delays.
Our surveyors know the best times for each species we deal with, and will ensure you get your result fast in order to avoid your project from being pushed back.
Ecology Survey Services
We provide a wide range of ecology services from residential clients to developers, architects, planning consultants, project managers, engineers and other professionals.
Our ecology consultants an provide the following services:
A habitat survey is a general process used to assess the vegetation classification and identify potential protected species and habitats, which is used in a site-specific report.
An extended survey will include data searches, biological records and protected species, which makeup the preliminary requirements of the planning process.
Depending on the findings in the initial report, a more detailed report for protected species might be necessary.
The results of the survey will support your planning application and will inform mitigation measures to help the council grant planning permission.
A detailed survey will enable clients and associated personal to be fully aware of the presence or absence or absence of protected species on or around a site.
The presence of protected species can lead to delays due to constraints imposed and will often lead to delays in development.
Getting advice from one of our specialists at an early stage will save you time and money.
Our protected species surveys include:
- Bats (all species): daytime / scoping inspections, bat activity surveys (emergence, transect, swarming);
- Birds: daytime inspections, nesting bird checks, breeding bird surveys, migratory and winter bird surveys, vantage point surveys (VP), barn owl surveys, building & tree inspections;
Invasive Plant Species
We also inspect your site for the presence or absence of invasive weeds such as:
- Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica).
- Himalayan Balsam (Impations glandulifera).
- Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).
These types of weeds are very hard to eradicate and it is actually against the law to plant them.
Tree Disorders, Pest & Disease Management
Our surveyors offer identification and control options for all kinds of tree disorders, pests and diseases.
GraftinGardeners can perform a full range of tests for various pests and diseases that can affect trees and shrubs and also provide professional advice and control options (if any).
Here are some examples of the pests, diseases and disorders we look for:
- Leaf miners.
- Fungal infection.
- Pesticide damage.
- Wood-boring insects.
- Nutrient deficiencies.
- Deer or squirrel damage.
- Moths, like the Oak Processionary Moth.
We will usually come and inspect the trees on-site and can take samples away for testing if we suspect some of these problems.
Tree Decay and Structural Condition Assessment
We can assess trees for structural damage and decay by utilizing specialist decay detection equipment.
We have a wide range technology for detecting tree decay and dysfunction which enables us to provide evidence on which to base important decisions on.
All the equipment we use has its advantages and disadvantages, and depending on what test need to be done, some tools will be more appropriate than others.
Our surveyors have years of experience working with these tools and will ensure the most appropriate equipment is used.
There are the tools we currently work with to analyse and research tree states:
- Sonic tomograph
- Electrical impedance tomograph
- Tree motion sensors
- Resistograph microdrill
A sonic tomograph allows us to get a picture of what’s going on inside the tree and any potential decay, by measuring the speed of sound through the trunk.
One particular tool we use is a Picus Sonic Tomograph and is used to check for damage and disease cause fractures, cavities, or rot within the tree.
The measurements of sound are used to create a computer-generated image on where and how bad the decay might be. This provides very useful information when deciding what remedial or other actions should be taken.
Electrical Impedance Tomograph
Another piece of equipment we use is an Electrical Impedance Tomograph. It works by sending electrical currents through the tree to detect and state of decay within the tree.
Because the timber is influenced by things such as water content, cell structure and chemical composure, these things will change based on the status of the wood.
The Electrical Impedance Tomograph is used to detect changes in the resistance across the tree. It will help analyse any type of damage and can be used to distinguish between cavities and diseased wood.
This can be used in along with a Sonic Tomograph to give you a very accurate and reliable analysis of what’s going on inside the tree.
Tree Motion Sensors
We are currently testing out new equipment such as Tree Motion Sensors which are used to record the movement and flex of a tree, especially in high winds.
They are attached to the stem of the tree and provide us with data such as root deflection and stem stability, which can be used to determine how likely the tree is to fail.
Because the units are compact, they can be left without supervision whilst the data is collected. Ideally these units are for long-term evaluation, by recording measurements of trees in built up and high activity areas.
We also use a Resistograph Microdrill to find out if any decay is present and how bad it is in trees and dead stems.
It works by drilling a hole into the stem and records the resistance from the drilling. The less resistance it has while going through usually indicates the tree is likely to have rot or decay.
Using our Resistograph enables us to drill to a depth of 40cm, and can either be used from a height or on the root plate.
It is highly useful for assessing rot root after air-spade investigations and will gives us measurable data to determine whether the tree is a risk of failure.
Risk Analysis, Hazard Risk Assessments for Health & Safety
We provide risk analysis and hazard risk assessments for health and safety purposes all over the United Kingdom.
Risk analysis is something we do as part of every survey and involves visually inspecting the tree to establish its condition based on its environment.
This inspection collects information about individual trees where defects are suspected and is used to provide advice for management and suggested works that need to be carried out.
Tree surveys can be used to limit liability in a number of ways:
- Creating a tree safety policy.
- Carrying out a hazard assessment.
- Detecting decay and dysfunction.
- Recommend remedial works.
The tree safety policy will describe management objectives and will therefore provide a suitable course of action between safety and conservation.
Tree Hazard Assessment & Visual Tree Assessment
A typical tree hazard assessment will report all of the following:
- Location of the trees.
- Numbering of trees.
- Determining species, size and age.
- Structure and condition.
- Date of next inspection.
- Property, people and frequency of use.
- The scale of hazard.
- The probability of failure.
Tree Preservation Orders
Tree preservation orders are placed on trees considered to have a high amenity value; this is judged by visibility and impact on the local environment.
The United Kingdom has legislation that protects woodlands and trees, and gives Local Planning Authorities (LPA’s) the power to put tree preservation orders (TPOs) on any tree within their jurisdiction.
It is similar to the way buildings are listed and serves to protect the most valued trees. A TPO preserves trees in areas where they contribute or impact their local surroundings.
All types of tree species can be protected by this order apart hedges and shrubs, and you can even ask your LPA to consider putting a TPO on trees that you want protecting.
The tree owner is responsible for tree maintenance and has a duty of care for any damage they may cause.
Trees with TPO’s cannot be pruned, felled or damaged in anyway without obtaining permission first and could be fined up to £20,000 for failing to comply.
We provide a range of tree preservation order services including:
- Assistance and applying for the TPO application.
- Assessing trees for TPO suitability.
- Specification for works for trees under a TPO.
- Removal of trees under a TPO.
Soil Amelioration & Decompaction
We provide soil amelioration and decompaction to combat root suffocation and decreased water permeability.
Treating Soil Compaction Near Trees
When people think about caring for trees, they usually look at the physical appearance such as the crown, limbs and branches and tend to forget that trees grow from the root up.
A Vast Amount Tree Problems Can Be Attributed to Their Soil
Just like humans need air to live, so do trees, even at the root level. For roots to grow properly there should be just as much air as there is water in the pores throughout the soil structure.
If the soil becomes to compact, the air and water in the pores are squeezed out and oxygen levels drop dramatically, and stumps root activity.
This can lead to visible signs of stress such as crown dieback, stunted leaves and potential attack from pests and diseases.
The Root of The Problem
When the soil structure changes it can lead to reduced nutrient and mycorrhizal fungi that helps the tree to find water and uptake nutrients.
It can take many years for soil decompaction to occur naturally and soil that is heavily compacted may never recover.
It is one of the main causes of soil related problems and can be easily overlooked.
Soil Decompaction Services
We provide soil decompaction with an Air Spade as it is one of the best ways to penetrate deep into the soil and break up heavily compacted soil.
Air-spading will cause temporary loss of myccorhizal fungi but we can simply add a mycorrhizal fungi spores to exposed tree roots after any Air Spade work is carried out.
Tree Care Consultancy & Advice
Our surveyors can provide expert tree care advice for residential homes to commercial projects around the UK.
We can advise you on any potential works that need carrying out such as:
- Pruning including crown reduction, thinning and cleaning.
- Cable bracing where trees have v unions.
- Removal of dead or diseased trees.
We can give you solid advice and provide you with a full report specifically for your requirements.
Tree Survey Coverage
GraftinGardeners undertakes tree surveying all over the United Kingdom for both residential and commercial clients.
It does not matter what part of the UK you are based in. We have a team of dedicated and motivated surveyors and can travel all over from South West to London, Wales and even Scotland.
There is no place we can’t get to and have a diverse network of specialist surveyors.
No matter what kind of tree survey you require, our highly experienced staff provide an extensive range of surveying services tailored to your specific requirements.
Call us today for a free quote on: 0208 123 7653, or use the contact form below.