A Guide to Tree Works

Basic Tree Work Terms

To help you complete the application form, the following diagrams illustrate basic tree work terminology.

Crown Thinning

Mainly undertaken to allow more light through the crown without altering the size and shape of the tree. The removal of dead and diseased wood (cleaning) followed by crossing and rubbing branches should be carried out prior to thinning to the required density.

Tree Works Thinning

Proposals should be in terms of percentage of thinning eg. 10%

Crown Lifting

This may be carried out to increase the clearance between ground level and the lower branches to:

  • Allow access below the tree
  • To improve light

Tree Works Lifting

Proposals should be in terms of height above ground level in metres.

Crown Reduction and Shaping

This drastic form of pruning, which is only allowed in special circumstances and for certain species of tree, may become necessary for the following reasons :

  • To reduce weight on the potentially dangerous branches.
  • To balance a mis-shapen tree.
  • To prevent trees obstructing or damaging buildings and property.

Tree Works Reduction

Proposals must give the proposed extent of the reduction in metres.

Removal Of Overhanging Branches

In cases where branches overhang gardens, buildings/structures or neighbouring property, the complete removal of all branches that overhang is usually not acceptable.  

Tree Works Overhanging

Proposals should state the required clearance in metres

Trees Within Neighbouring Properties

In common law a property owner can cut back branches to the boundary of his property. This is permitted as long as:

Access is not gained onto the neighbouring land or within a tree within that land. w

Permission is granted from the Local Planning Authority if the tree is within a Conservation Area or protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

Any work done to a tree is not detrimental to its health or stability.

If work is planned to neighbouring trees you are strongly recommended to inform the owner(s) of the tree. The council cannot be held responsible if work is carried out to trees without the owner’s consent.

Reasons For Undertaking Works

When submitting an application, reasons for the proposed works must be included in the application form. If you are able to support your application with additional information please do so. If you are making an application for removal of a tree because it is causing structural damage to a building the council may require a surveyor’s report and/or an arboricultural consultant’s report.


If you propose to replant a tree as part of your application please provide details of the species, position and initial size of tree you wish to plant.

Tree Surgeons

Many tree surgeons will give advice prior to an application being submitted.

It is advisable to confirm the contractor’s public liability insurance cover prior to any commencement of work.

Obtaining separate quotations is also recommended, especially on larger works, as prices for the same job can vary.

Making An Application To Work On A Tree Subject To A Tree Preservation Order Or Within A Conservation Area

In order to gain consent to prune or fell any tree which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order, or within a Conservation Area, you should complete the appropriate form.

The information contained in this leaflet will help you complete the form correctly. Once the completed form has been received, the application will be registered and an acknowledgement letter sent to you or your agent. This will specify the date by which the decision will be made. Details will be sent to the local parish council and other interested parties for comments.

The council’s arboricultural officer will then make a site visit to inspect the tree(s) in question. It will not be necessary for you to be at home when the officer calls, but if you wish to discuss the matter, or if the officer is unable to access the site, this should be noted on the form and a mutually convenient date and time will be arranged.

Amenity and arboricultural considerations will be taken into account, along with reasons you have given for the work and any representations which may have been received. Following the site visit a decision will be made and a decision notice will be issued.