Are your trees storm-ready?

A tree is owned by (and therefore the responsibility of) the person on whose land it stands. If a tree lies near a border or boundary, the ownership is on the land where the tree was planted. Anyone with a tree in their garden has a responsibility to keep them as safe as possible and that it doesn’t damage people or property.

Trees have the ability to biologically adapt themselves to their environment and will strengthen themselves to the prevailing winds and weather conditions. It is during severe or abnormal weather conditions that trees can be damaged or killed.

Tree owners are responsible for the upkeep of the trees on their land and making sure they are reasonably safe from doing harm or damage to the surrounding properties. There are a number of measures tree owners can take to minimise any liability any damage could cause.

  • A visual inspection will help to identify trees showing signs of decay or structural weakness.
  • If trees in your garden are dead dead, showing signs of decay or structural weakness, it is necessary to take the necessary action to make your trees as safe as is reasonably possible. A qualified tree surveyor will be able to do a tree report and advice on taking appropriate action to making your trees safe, therefore minimising your liability. He may suggest you employ a qualified tree surgeon or arborist. However, if specialist advice is sought, it should be followed as failure to act upon their advice may be interpreted as negligence should any subsequent damage be found.
  • Insurance – Your insurance may cover damage caused by trees so it might be a good idea to check your insurance. If tree damage is not covered, then it may be possible to take out this cover.
  • If a tree hazard has been identified, by a neighbour or other person, then it is the tree owner’s responsibility to remedy the problem.

So even if a tree owner takes all the necessary precautions to keep trees safe, damage to people, animals or property may still occur, particularly during severe weather, such as heavy snow or winds. A tree owner is not expected to have the knowledge of a qualified arboriculturist, but is expected to appoint a competent person to act on their behalf.

A tree owner can be found negligent if he/she fails to undertake necessary action, or undertakes any action resulting in harm to people, animals or property. Negligence may include:

  • Failing to have trees inspected on a regular basis.
  • Omitting to remedy a problem that has been identified.
  • Undertaking incompetent pruning.
  • Destabilising a tree by root severance.

One would not be found negligent in the event of an ‘Act of God’: This includes:

  • Failure of a tree after being subject to a ‘reasonably careful inspection’ and appropriate action had been taken
  • Failure of a tree as a result of a disease or weakness that would not have been visible on a proper examination
  • Failure of a tree as a result of exceptionally severe weather.

In summary, therefore, the answer is not straightforward. A tree owner may be liable if their tree causes damage, but liability must be determined by the courts. Generally, liability in such cases is determined by a test of negligence and that a landowner should be maintaining his/her property that would prevent injury to people or property.

Recent Posts

Categories

Latest Listings

Sponsored Links

About

Looking for a tree surgeon (arborist) in your local area? Need a tree survey?

Are you looking for general information or knowledge about trees and tree services? Treesurgery.com is the perfect website for providing tree surgery information for you.

Contact Us

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close