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Advice on felling a tree

(12 Posts)
dipsymummy Fri 30-Sep-11 16:25:30

We have a huge oak tree in our very small garden which we want to fell/cut down. We had tree surgeons come and have a look and all ok. But after doing more research, it looks like there could be issues with heave(opposite of subsidence).
Its here that Im really not sure what to do. I need to get someone in to analys the soil etc as clay soil is BAD for what we want to do.
can anyone advise me on how to go about this ie who do I call in and if theres a procedure for this?

I have posted this in a different section too as not really sure where the best place for this ...

Pendeen Fri 30-Sep-11 16:43:06

First please reconsider. A mature oak tree is one the wonders of Britian's natural scenery and I beg you to think about the wider aspects of destroying such a specimen.

It is possible highly likely that there will be a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) protecting it from felling or surgery without specific permission.

Guidance here:


Is the tree diseased or unstable? There may be a good case for removal if that is the case - in any event contact your local council as the fines for unlawful removal can be very painful.

If you need advice on the question of heave - try here


Again, please seriously consider. smile

dipsymummy Fri 30-Sep-11 16:55:33

there is no preservation order on the tree.

It is heartbreaking for me to even consider felling this tree but its growth is out of control and we just cannot afford the cost of crowning it every two years. there are so many houses close by and neighbours are forever throwing accusations when something goes wrong with the drains and their patios. and we are surrounded by houses !frankly the tree is too big for our little garden and too expensive for us to maintain, and Im starting to think that I need to sort this before I am held responsible for any damage that the roots do to any properties.

dipsymummy Fri 30-Sep-11 16:57:15

and thankyou for the linkssmile

minipie Fri 30-Sep-11 16:59:58

I would have thought that a tree surgeon could advise you on how to get rid of the tree in a way that won't cause heave. From the little I know, I gather that removing it in stages is the best way, to give the ground a chance to get used to the reduction in water demand from the tree, iyswim.

teta Fri 30-Sep-11 18:26:26

I thought if they are pruned properly this only needs doing every 10 years or so?.We have a 110 year one in our garden very close to our next door neighbours.I've been told that if we remove the tree the neighbours house will fall down!.We are doing ours for the first time in 10 years and have been quoted 380 pounds for pruning by 20 %.We do live in a conservation area but i would honestly never want to remove it totally.surely the cost of doing this would be immense?

dipsymummy Fri 30-Sep-11 19:28:34

The tree surgeons Who are arboculturists said they are 90% sure it's ok but can't put it in writing. An arbocultural consultant on average has quoted around 450 pounds to do a survey,but felt that I ws overpaying for it and could get it done by a surveyor. Someone else said I needed soil samples- so in all feeling very confused.

Our tree was crowned three years ago,and three before that by tree surgeons,but the growth is crazy! This time we went through the arbocultural approved list and they said it's 2-3 intervals.
To have it crowned by 30% is costing us £720 which is the cheapest of four quotes,the most expensive being £2200! To have it felled is costing£1200 which is a lot,but less then two crownings!
Our other issue is the neighbors who have been so miserable about it all that I am now believing them.

teta Fri 30-Sep-11 20:11:51

It sounds a bit of a dilemma for you .I really don't know much about heave.I have however seen a Sarah Beeny programme on it.The house featured had enormous cracks all over the walls and was on a clay soil.If there is any element of doubt and no guarantee i would err on the side of caution and just have it crowned as often as is needed.I do know what living next to horrible neighbours is like though.Try explaining to them what might happen to their house if the tree is removed.

fallenninja Fri 30-Sep-11 21:30:25

Hi dipsy,

I was an arborist many moons ago before turning into a boring old accountant.

If you have been advisied that felling your tree will result in heave, then you could have potentially a massive problem on your hands, which would depend on the size of the oak, the root structure and the surrounding drainage structure. Removing the tree could actually result in more drainage problems than not.

You can do a basic soil test yourself. Grab a handful of soil from your garden. It needs to be moist but not soaking wet (squeezed dishcloth type wet). Give it a firm squeeze then open your hand, if it is clay soil it will hold its shape (i.e squeezed fist shape) then give it a poke and if its still holds its shape, then clay it is.

If you can get some pics up, i can take a brief stab and give you a clue on its condition. Do you know roughly how old it is? Crowing every 2-3 years is very frequent, and tbh frequent crowning can lead to a growth increase anyway.

thepassenger Fri 30-Sep-11 22:12:17

It seems wrong to me that this ancient oak tree should be cut down because you didn't properly factor in the costs of maintaining it when you chose to move there?
Some people I knew cut down a very old, huge tree. It was subject of a TPO in this case and was apparently in decline but it has caused some very strong feelings either way. Your neighbours may be giving you hassle and you may all fancy life without it but there may be some other neighbours who feel very strongly that such a tree should stay, so you might have to be prepared for a battle.

dipsymummy Fri 30-Sep-11 22:38:04

teta and fallenninja-the heave wasnt mentioned by any of the tree surgeons when they came around. It was someone at work that said I should look into heave and hence my dilemma.
fallenninja-does the soil have to be moist from the garden or can I add water to it for the soil test?
Thank you for your kind offer-I'll take some photos and send them onto you. According to my neighbour (three doors down and the one that complains the most!)ann acorn was planted by the owner 35 years ago. we've been here 14 years and the tree has grown like mad!
An accountant with arorist experience-what more could a client want? wink

fallenninja Fri 30-Sep-11 23:01:14

You can add the water to it for the test, just make sure youve let any additional water run off before squeezing into a ball.

You can also test your drainage (a good indicator of whether removing the tree would be a problem) by digging a hole in the garden and seeing how long it takes the water to drain. Hole needs to be 6 inches by 1 foot (approx). Fill with water, time how long it takes to drain. Fill hole with water again, and time again. Any longer than 4 hours youve got a drainage problem. Removing your tree could make this worse.

Although in all fairness this will also depend on the height of your tree and the root spreadage.

A mature oak can absorb up to 50 gallons of water per day. Roots will generally spread to about 1/3 of the distance past the the drip line on the tree (where the branches end and this is where they can absorb the most moisture), and will only be approx 6 inches below the soil. If you have heavily cut back your branches when its been crowned, and they are substantially behind the orignal drip line, the tree will shoot new growth like nobodys business to try and grown back to having its drip line in sink with its established root system.

Has your tree been crown reduced or pruned? I ask because its vastly different. Pruning will do as i said above (and is unhelpfully called crowning sometimes). This actively encourages new growth. A reduction (if done correctly) reduces overall spread and height of the tree. When done correctly (cutting at crotch with lateral branch) discourages new growth by diverting growth into the lateral branch. grin)

yes accountancy and arboricultual work ... i find there is a constant cross over between the 2 smile

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