When it comes to tree condition surveys – safe is better than sorry.

Legally speaking, in the UK, Anyone who owns or manages land containing trees has a legal duty to ensure that they are in a safe condition so that foreseeable damage does not occur due to tree failure. This is clearly stated in the Occupiers Liability Act 1954/1980).

In practice, this means that all trees should be inspected regularly by a suitably qualified person. If nobody in your organisation has undertaken basic tree-risk assessment training then you should seek the advice of an arboricultural consultant. Their findings, and any risk features identified, should be investigated by a suitably qualified arboricultural professional. You can find out more about choosing a well qualified arboricultural consultant on our Qualifications and Credentials page.

So what happened at this housing estate?


Sika crown tree consultants tree decay detection dog recovering

Our expert tree team received a call from the head of the management company requesting the inspection of six large beech trees. When our tree surveyor arrived on site to carry out the arboricultural safety inspection they identified that all of the trees were suffering from beech bark disease; some only showed early signs of infection while others were heavily infected.

Crown Tree Consultancy’s tree condition survey reports contain a detailed, site-specific review of tree disease management options that can be considered. In this instance, during the tree survey, the consultant noticed that cars parked adjacent to the trees on the soft verge may be contributing to compaction, and recommended Terraventing as an option for improving the tree’s natural defence capacity against the fungus.

An appropriate response.


Mature trees are an appreciating asset on a housing estate, providing significant benefits for people and wildlife – so their removal is always a last resort. As arboricultural consultants, we remain entirely independent from tree surgery operations and have no incentive to recommend unnecessary work or remove trees prematurely. You can see from the report snippet below that our assessments are detailed and informative; focusing on compliance, cost-effective management and most importantly – safety.

However, at this site, three out of the six trees we were initially sent to inspect were recommended for removal. These trees were selectively felled by the management companies contractor and they kindly sent us photos along with the comment:


“With reference to your excellent report of 1st June on our beech trees, I attach a number of photos showing what was found when selective felling took place this week. The accuracy of the report has been superbly verified, so thanks once again.”

There were approximately 35 other trees at the site which were not scheduled for a tree condition survey that day, but which our tree assessor quickly noted showed some indications of previous infection with felted beech scale, some significant decay at the base and at old pruning wounds.

You can see the extent of the decay in the images sent in below.

tree okay on outside but rotten on inside
tree okay on outside but rotten on inside
tree okay on outside but rotten on inside
tree okay on outside but rotten on inside

There was also kretschmaria deusta present. As such – these trees were recommended for a full inspection at a later date. You can see from the report snippet below that our assessments are detailed and informative; focusing on compliance, cost-effective management and most importantly – safety.


Arboricultural Report snippet tree condition survey

The report goes on to describe in detail a variety of methods which may be used to improve the condition of the soil in the root protection area. This case highlights the beneficial outcomes of having an experienced arboricultural consultant on board during the formation of an ongoing management plan for trees. A less experienced assessment could have gone two ways; an overzealous arborist could have recommended the removal of all of the trees, leaving the residents with none of the many benefits provided by the canopy cover – while a hasty or unqualified walkover inspection, may not have realised the possible extent of the internal decay.

We were able to provide a safe solution for the customer, retaining benefits but detailing how to reduce the risk posed by the trees to an acceptable level. We were pleased to be invited back to inspect the rest of the trees at the site shortly after. If you manage a property with trees on it and want to ensure the trees do not pose an unacceptable risk to users of the site, contact our team for a free quotation today. If you’d like to keep up to date with what our consultants are up to, why not sign up for our quarterly newsletter? We keep it strictly tree – just pop your email in the box below and hit enter to subscribe.

If you have any queries about trees with possible decay, please do not hesitate to contact us using the form or telephone 08000 141 330.

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