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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I receive a quotation over the phone?
A: Whilst it is true to say that most trees grow in similar ways, very few trees live in the same environment. It is practically impossible to cost a tree work job over the phone. For us to accurately advise you of the cost and extent of any required work, it is important that one of our qualified surveyors carries out a site inspection. This is a free no obligation exercise. We have many things to take into consideration such as access for machinery and equipment required to do the work, assessment of the trees in question and ease of disposal of wood and arisings.

Q: What if my tree has a Tree Preservation Order on it or I live in a Conservation Area?
A: A tree preservation order (referred to as a ‘TPO’) is an order made by a local planning authority (‘LPA’) in respect of trees or woodlands and can be on any tree. Trees in conservation areas may be the subject of a TPO and subject to the normal TPO controls. But the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 also makes special provision for trees in conservation areas which are not the subject of a TPO. Anyone proposing to cut down or carry out work on a tree in a conservation area is required to give the LPA six weeks’ prior notice (a ‘section 211 notice’). The purpose of this requirement is to give the LPA an opportunity to consider whether a TPO should be made in respect of the tree.

Conservation areas are areas of special architectural or historical interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. They are designated by LPAs and are often, though not always, centred around listed buildings. Other buildings and landscape features, including trees, may also contribute to the special character of a conservation area. Trees that are exempt from TPOs are those that are dead, dying, diseased or dangerous and fruit trees grown for the commercial production of fruit. A 5-day notice may still apply (checking with planning is essential). TPOs prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, even pruning, wilful damage or wilful destruction of trees without consent. Currently the maximum penalty for carrying out works to TPO trees without consent is £20,000. Trees in conservation areas may also be protected even if they are not covered by a tree preservation order. You must give the council six weeks’ notice of any works that you intend to carry out on such trees. As a company policy we carry out checks with your local Council and if necessary submit an application to the Local Planning Authority if required. We carry out this service free of charge. This process can take up to 8 weeks so it is advisable to bear this in mind when planning any tree work.

Q: Can I use the wood chip from my trees?
A: Many of our customers now keep the chippings for future use on the garden as mulch – ideal for keeping weeds out and moisture in. This depends on the type of chip and its intended use. A number of trees when chipped are unsuitable for garden use. However, our arborist can advise you of the suitability of your woodchips.

Q: Why should I hire a qualified arborist?
A: As with any work you may require on your property you want confidence that the contractor is qualified to do what has been asked, safely and to the highest standard. A qualified arborist will have received training and been assessed on his competence. Chaffin Tree Surgery is part of the Trading Standards ‘Buy with confidence’ scheme. Which has codes of conduct to the highest standard, giving our customers confidence that an independent body has externally audited the company. It is also important to consider that you could be liable for any accidents occurring from an under insured operator. This could be an accident involving your own or your neighbours property or passers by on the street.

Q: How can I tell if my tree is hazardous?
A. It is a property owner’s responsibility to provide for the safety of trees on his or her property. Common defects associated with tree ailments should be identified. Assessment of the defects is essential and should be done by qualified arborists. Once a tree is recognised as being dangerous, we can supply a written report recommending the necessary work and care for the tree. Insurance companies are increasingly refusing to pay out for damage caused by trees that have not had a recent survey. Policies should be checked to ascertain the exact requirements

Some common defects associated with trees are:

  • Cavities or decayed wood along the trunk or in major branches
  • Mushrooms present at the base of the tree
  • Cracks or splits in the trunk or at the union where branches attach
  • Adjacent or nearby trees fallen over or dead
  • Trunk developing a strong lean
  • Roots broken off, injured or damaged
  • Electrical line adjacent to tree
  • Recent construction in the area

Q: Do mature trees need special care?
A: A healthy tree increases in aesthetic value with age. Regular maintenance, designed to promote plant health and vigour, ensures their value will continue to grow. Preventing a problem costs less than curing one once it has developed. Regular tree inspections can prevent or reduce the severity of future disease, insect and environmental problems. Our qualified arborist will examine leaves or buds, leaf size, appearance, twig growth, and note the condition of the trunk and crown. Crown dieback (gradual death of the upper part of the tree) and trunk decay are often symptoms of problems that began earlier. They can be remedied with skilful tree surgery.

Q: When is the best time of year to have work done to my trees and hedges?
A: It is recommended that trees are worked on after leaf fall and before bud burst. This however is not true for all species so we would prefer to look at each tree individually and give you a written report. Some examples of trees requiring work at other times are Cherry, Plum and related trees (Prunus species) These should be pruned soon after flowering to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Maple and Birch should not be pruned in the spring to avoid ‘bleeding’ (exuding sap), which although not considered damaging can be unsightly. Magnolia and Walnut should only be pruned in high summer. Most common species of hedges can be cut any time of the year but again we would confirm this after inspection.

Q: How long will I have to wait to have the work done after I have accepted the quotation?
A: Whilst we will always try to get work booked in as soon as possible some times of the year there are other factors which can cause delays. The winter months (October to February) are our busiest time and also we can have delays caused by poor weather conditions. At this time of year there could be a wait of up to 3 to 4 weeks from your quotation date. Please bear this in mind if you are thinking of having work done. If you are waiting for permission from the Council it could mean you have to wait up to 8 weeks (see section on TPO and Conservation).