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A guide to arboricultural services and why you need them


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Last updated Wednesday 29th September 2021

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There are a lot of difficult terms to get your head around as a homeowner and ‘arboricultural’ is a pretty good example of this. Yes, the housing industry doesn’t always make things easy and, for those of us who don’t speak latin, this phrase can look pretty alienating.

Put simply: arboricultural refers to the management of trees and shrubs, with the phrase ‘arbor’ coming from the Latin word for ‘tree’.

Not sure how trees factor into homeownership or the building of extensions? Don’t worry, we’ve put together this quick little guide to run you through the basics.

What are arboricultural services?

Arboricultural services are primarily concerned with the management of shrubs and trees on your property. In order to keep your plants healthy and your home safe, agriculturalists (also known as ‘tree surveyors’) are brought in to assess the health and spread of these woody features.

There are a couple of reasons as to why you would bring in arboricultural services, such as…

  • If you want to build an extension or other development close to any trees, you’ll need to provide your local authority with a Tree Survey and Arboricultural Impact Assessment during the planning process

  • As a homeowner, you are expected to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of any trees present on your site. Depending on the trees present, this may involve needing regular tree risk assessments

  • If you’re worried a nearby tree might be causing damage to your home (or could cause damage in the future), you can bring in a surveyor to ensure this harm is limited and doesn’t impact the property’s value

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What is an arboricultural report?

When an arboricultural surveyor visits your property, they’ll kickstart the process by examining each tree and assessing its various features. The report will then list the following information on the trees assessed…

  • How many trees present
  • Botanical names
  • Height
  • Canopy spread
  • Age class
  • Tree significance
  • Rough life expectancy
  • Diameter
  • Overall health and condition

If you plan on developing the land near any trees, your surveyor will create a constraints plan in order for you to understand how your project may be affected and will be noted by your local authority.

How often are tree surveys required?

Even if you don’t plan to carry out an extension, as a homeowner you are required to keep any trees on your property in good shape to prevent any accidents from occuring. How often you’ll need to carry a tree survey out will depend on the existing condition of the tree or trees involved. Depending on the size, age, and pre-existing conditions, you may find a tree survey is required every 1-2 years. However, healthy specimens will need much less attention.

If you’ve never commissioned an arboricultural survey before, it’s recommended you reach out to a professional surveyor, who’ll be able to advise on the rate their services will be required.

Remember, you have a duty of care to maintain all trees on your property, ensuring they don’t pose a health risk to the public or nearby structures.

How much does an arboricultural report cost?

On average, a standard arboricultural service will cost between £200 - £350, based on the market in 2021.

However, costs will vary depending on the size of your land, the number of buildings on site, and how many trees need inspecting.

Want to get quotes for arboricultural surveyors near you? Click here to explore your options.

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