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Trees may become hazardous for a number of reasons. The danger presented by a potential hazard can only be established by a qualified arboriculturist.

Disease and Ash Dieback

It is often found that a pest or disease that can affect one species, is also able to affect related species. Therefore, in order to stop the spread of a disease or pest, which would seriously deplete the tree stock of the Borough, it may be necessary to carry out sanitation felling of susceptible trees to contain an outbreak.

Ash Dieback

Ash dieback is a virulent fungus that European ash species have no natural defence against. It can affect ash trees of all ages. Younger trees succumb to the disease quicker but in general, all affected trees will have these symptoms:

  • Leaves develop dark patches in the summer
  • They then wilt and discolour to black. Leaves might shed early
  • Dieback of the shoots and leaves is visible in the summer
  • Lesions develop where branches meet the trunk. These are often diamond-shaped and dark brown
  • Inner bark looks brownish-grey under the lesions
  • New growth from previously dormant buds further down the trunk. This is known as epicormic growth and is a common response to stress in trees.


Tree vandalism can occur in two main forms:

  • Opportunistic: snapping side branches, breaking off crowns, uprooting and pulling whole trees out of the ground
  • Premeditated: Ring barking (knives & chisels), drilling, sawing off branches/crowns of young trees and poisoning roots.

Tree vandalism is a social problem, not a tree problem. Despite the fact that it is illegal to damage a public/protected tree, this often fails to perturb the opportunistic or "would be" vandal.

Crack in main trunk

Cracks in tree trunks can be an indicator of an unstable tree. Most cracks are caused by improper closure of wounds or by the splitting of weak branch unions. They can be found in branches, stems or roots, and vary in type and severity.

Fungal bracket

There are many types of bracket fungi but they all cause similar symptoms.

  • appearance of fungal bodies on the trunk base or main branches
  • internal rot in the tree that causes structural weakening.

Overhanging trees on pavements and roads

We will carry out any pruning work to Council owned trees as necessary to:

  • Prevent damage or obstruction to street lights, road signs and power and telephone cables or poles in their designated use
  • Allow the reasonable and safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians on public footpaths and highways, open spaces and other public land
  • We will ensure that private owners are aware of their responsibilities regarding the correct maintenance of their trees with regard to these issues when sufficient notice of possible obstructions has been given.