As we come into the Autumn months, there’s still foliage on the trees but shortly the deciduous varieties will defoliate and it’s a good time to take stock of your trees with some simple observations. Like us, trees show their health in their structure and condition; this basic checklist might help you to know whether it’s worth a call to an arborist for professional advice.

Starting at the top of the crown…stand back, look up!

  • How does the tree look overall? Full, upright, healthy and vigorous, or something else?
  • Is the crown full all the way around the tree? Are there any dead or dying sections (browning leaves or no foliage at all)?
  • Is the foliage normal size, shape and colour? Is there any discolouration/yellowing, curling or evidence of infestation on the top or undersides of the leaves (leaves are being eaten, eggs laid, large or small uniform patches, mould or insect masses in the crown itself)?
  • Are there snapped, cracked, split, torn, broken or hung-up branches in the crown?
  • Are there wounds (bark scars) or holes in the tree branches?
  • Are there any fungal bodies (toadstools or bracket-shaped fungus) growing in the crown or up the trunk?
  • Is there any liquid leaking or oozing from the tree?

Look at the trunk and the base in a bit more detail…step forward!

  • Are there any wounds or holes on the trunk, peeling or missing bark, fine “sawdust” at the base?Are there any splits or cracks in the trunk or in the joints where the branches meet the trunk?Are there any wounds or holes in the base of the tree or around the roots?Is the base of the tree free from any debris piles up against it and/or around the roots?
  • Is the base of the tree free from any debris piles up against it and/or around the roots?
  • Can the tree get water or is the surface immediately beneath it hard and water-resistant? Is the tree waterlogged?
  • Is there any sign of heave in the ground at the base of the tree (particularly after stormy weather and strong winds)? Is the tree firm in the ground when you apply strong pressure to it?
  • Are there any fungal bodies (toadstools) growing around the base of the tree? Animal burrows which might impact its’ stability?

Whether it’s a large site with many trees or a single one, a professional tree inspection can help to ensure your trees are kept in good health, reduce risks to people or property around them, and it’s an essential requirement of the Local Planning Authority if you’re seeking permission to work on trees which are protected under a Tree Preservation Order.

For advices about your trees, call Andrew on 01256 817369, 07771 883061 or email him at