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Problems with your own trees

Here are some examples of the problems that can arise with trees in your garden and what can be done about them.

Your neighbour’s insurance company tells you to cut down your tree because it is causing subsidence to the neighbour’s property.

The insurance company cannot require you to remove the tree, it can only make a request and you have no obligation to comply. However, if you take no action and it is subsequently demonstrated to the courts that the tree was involved in damage to the building, you (or your insurance company) may be liable for the costs of repair to the building. Nevertheless, before agreeing to take action, you should expect the property owner (or his or her insurer) to provide reasonable evidence that your tree is the principal cause of the damage and that, in the absence of the tree, the building would be able to withstand normal seasonal drying of the soil. Such evidence should usually include copies of any reports (by structural engineers, arboriculturists and root identification experts) prepared in connection with the subsidence claim. You, or your insurance company, may then wish to appoint your own experts to corroborate or challenge these findings. Also, you may wish to have written assurance that if you carry out the requested work, the building in question and perhaps even your own property, will not suffer from heave as the soil becomes wet again and swells. Even if there is evidence that the tree is involved, there may be no need to remove it. Another option is to prune the tree to reduce its water use and therefore its influence on the surrounding soil.

There is a tree making a sticky mess on your car or garden. Can you have it removed?

The problem is caused by aphid infestation and is known as honeydew. This is a particular problem with tree species such as lime and sycamore. Unfortunately this is a problem that cannot be solved by pruning or spraying with insecticides. Medway Council will prune trees where the work complies with best practice but will not fell or disfigure trees to deal with this issue.  

Birds roosting in the trees outside your house are creating a mess on your car or drive. Can you have the tree removed?

This inconvenience is not sufficient justification to remove or disfigure the tree. Unfortunately pruning the tree is not the solution either, as the birds will simply roost on the remaining branches.  

If you would like to report the condition of a tree to the council, please use this online form. There is also an online form to request the clearance of a stump, tree litter or objects from a tree.