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About this tree? Diagram inc!

(29 Posts)
holdingonbyathread Wed 10-Apr-19 18:48:49

We live on the edge of a new housing estate (3 sections on the picture are 3 different houses on the estate) and within the top right house garden(who is not on the estate and is an older house on a different road), is a ginormous tree that was most likely alone in a field at one stage.

I love the tree as it's really well established and has birds and squirrels and gives a lovely outlook. But - it's massive and getting bigger. We live in a 3 story house and it's easily 3 times the height of our house and very wide. It looks like bits have been hacked off it from time to time at a lower level which has made it grow awkwardly. It certainly hasn't had any proper maintenance done on it in a long time and is growing much quicker than I expected when we bought the house 18 months ago.

We're not sure what to do. We don't know who has responsibility for it (not 100% that it's in someone's garden, it might be between boundary lines); if it is in the older house, they clearly don't want to do anything (probably out of anger at a new estate being built on their open field outlook which is understandable!) and it doesn't obstruct their light etc. We could cut off the over hanging branches into our garden but that wouldn't really sort the problem that this tree is getting bigger and bigger and can't just be left indefinitely!

How do you even find out who owns a tree??! Or wether there is a TPO on it? Or if it were to come down in a storm (we get fierce winds as we're very high up) and do damage - then what??!

AdaColeman Wed 10-Apr-19 18:57:56

If looking at a satellite view of the area doesn't help you work out who owns the tree, perhaps your estate builder will know?
The local council will have a list of protected trees.
Thinning out the crown of the tree might help make it look less dominant, you could all agree to split the cost between the various properties?

longearedbat Wed 10-Apr-19 19:01:18

What sort of tree is it? (Just curious).

EvaHarknessRose Wed 10-Apr-19 19:20:48

Our neighbours finally had theirs reduced by about a third (it is healthy I believe for this to be done to large trees every few years) and it made such a difference. We offered to contribute to the cost years ago, but they didn’t then want to reduce it that much, so grateful they have now.

I would put feelers out to neighbours about sharing the cost, trouble is people rarely have the money and have different views. Whoever does own the tree might be liable for any damge it does (roots or branches) if not well maintained.

holdingonbyathread Wed 10-Apr-19 19:29:41

Hadn't thought of a satellite view - will look on google earth to start with!

Developer is off site now and they were a bit vague about it. I think they said it was owned by the old house and I got the vibe that the owner didn't want to engage with them about tidying it up (which I understood as they wanted to sell houses!) but now I'm just worried it's going to get really out of control.

No idea what type of tree it is - sorry! I'm rubbish at this stuff!

SurferRona Wed 10-Apr-19 19:31:12

I'd reckon protecting and building around that tree was a condition for planning permission. Go to your borough or unitary council, put in address of older house and see what plans say. There should be a biodiversity and tree officer report too, if they were available. If it was part of planning, it might well have a TPO so proceed with care OP!

holdingonbyathread Wed 10-Apr-19 19:32:08

Also - I bet it would be really expensive to thin the crown as it's SO ridiculously tall now. I'd bet everyone thinks someone else should sort it.

Took a photo of the top third of the tree - any ideas what it is?

holdingonbyathread Wed 10-Apr-19 19:33:46

I've thought it must have a TPO and wouldn't do anything (there's little we can do anyway) but surely a TPO doesn't mean trees can be left indefinitely to become unsafe?? Or do they have stipulations within them on maintenance?

I know nothing about this stuff!

PotsOfJoy Wed 10-Apr-19 19:46:13

It is the responsibility of whoever land it grows from, and that can be more than one person. It looks from your diagram that the stem is wholly in the old house. In this case, they would owe you a legal duty of care but this does not compel them to carry out any works. It just means that they might be liable if foreseeable harm or damage occurred as a result of their negligence.

Subject to TPO's (Google your council's name and protected trees and something should come up), you have common law rights to prune any overhangs as far as the boundary, but at your expense. You will need to offer the cuttings back to the owner but they don't have to accept them.

I wouldn't bother crownthinning. It's a pointless exercise which only benefits the tree surgeon. It's incredibly rare that it's done properly i.e pruning the outer parts of the crown only. It often ends up leaving the tree with no suitable points to reduce to in the future. Some species don't lend themselves to it at all e.g. beech whereas others will fully recover the crown volume within 2 years and you'll be back to stage 1 and calling the tree surgeon again to repeat the job. Contrary to popular belief, trees don't need 'maintaining', they get along just fine without having inconvient parts amputated.

Reduction to the whole or part of the crown might reduce shading for a small part of the day. But, its dependent on the particular tree/species as to how much you'll knacker it. It'll grow back though, and bushier, so you might end up getting the tree surgeon in again in a short time.

Has the tree really grown that much since you moved in? It's been one growing season. Unless it's eucalyptus I doubt it's grown by more than 20cm in any direction.

Geminijes Wed 10-Apr-19 19:52:06

You bought your house on a new housing estate so obviously the tree was already there and now you're complaining about it?
Maybe you should have thought about the tree and it's size before purchasing your house.

wigglypiggly Wed 10-Apr-19 19:57:44

Phone the council to ask about he TPO look at your deeds, the land registry should have records who owns the land the tree is on. If its unsafe it could be cut back but youd need advice as its bird nesting season.

YodelAreCompletelyShit Wed 10-Apr-19 20:03:45

Have a google of Scots Pine, OP. Could that be it?

wigglypiggly Wed 10-Apr-19 20:05:36

A tree that size and age would need a specialist to thin it, you have to think about would it affect any foundations.

LIZS Wed 10-Apr-19 20:09:59

The council tree warden can advise on whether it has a tpo and the size it should be. If the development is new the planning documents should have considered trees within and near the proposed houses.

Bluntness100 Wed 10-Apr-19 20:11:02

Op, you can find tpo data for free on line, you just google your local council and it will have a section of their site which you can put in your postcode and it will show you which trees have tpos on.

Do you not know the people at the old house? Can't you knock on their door and ask them?

Bluntness100 Wed 10-Apr-19 20:12:48

Here's your image lightened, it might help. It is huge.

BentNeckLady Wed 10-Apr-19 20:14:33

It’s a beautiful tree. If you don’t like trees you shouldn’t have bought a house with a massive one next to it?

Bluntness100 Wed 10-Apr-19 20:16:09

She didn't say she didn't like trees, she said she's worried about safety as it's growing so fast confused

ThatLibraryMiss Wed 10-Apr-19 20:16:33

That's not a Scots Pine; it's got leaves not needles. Good news is that it's not a Leylandii either, which is the only tree I can think of that grows at a tremendous rate. OP, any chance of a photo of a leaf?

BlessedFox Wed 10-Apr-19 20:20:02

You bought your house on a new housing estate so obviously the tree was already there and now you're complaining about it?
Maybe you should have thought about the tree and it's size before purchasing your house.

And the most helpful post of the thread goes to....

Geminijes 👏🏼

PotsOfJoy Wed 10-Apr-19 20:21:18

Looks like a Monterrey cypress from the pic. That's a pretty imposing tree, not one I'd like to live near. You'd be hard pushed to get a decent reduction out of that and thinning it would end up with the remaining bits being more likely to snap out in strong wind.

Check ownership. If it's yours, get an arb consultant to look at it and make recommendations > find a professional > arb consultant, or

Good luck!

BlessedFox Wed 10-Apr-19 20:21:33

With the fabulous post by BentNeckLady coming in at a close second!

It’s a beautiful tree. If you don’t like trees you shouldn’t have bought a house with a massive one next to it?

BlessedFox Wed 10-Apr-19 20:25:01

Sorry OP. I got a bit carried away with the most pointless comments on the thread awards ceremony blush

It should be recorded on the land registry who own the land.

VforVienetta Wed 10-Apr-19 20:27:31

If it helps OP, we have a pair of huge oaks opposite our house, and have recently received a letter informing us of upcoming works as they have a TPO.
I think they're thinning the crown, and managing some over hanging branches as they're very close to the houses on that side of the road.
So yes, even with a TPO proper tree surgery works can be carried out.

holdingonbyathread Wed 10-Apr-19 20:29:53

Thanks all - lots to look into and will make a start.

Never said I didn't like it. It's an amazing tree and wouldn't want to see it taken away. It frames our view spectacularly. Just wondering long term what will happen if it just gets left! Maybe it hasn't grown that much it just seems like it's overhanging a lot more into our garden than it did last summer but maybe it's in my imagination!

I can't get a close up of the leaves really as it's too tall. I might be able to zoom in in daylight!

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