Tree preservation orders and tree surgery in Didsbury.

This is a post about tree surgery which we have undertaken in Didsbury on the same Purple Beech tree in 2012 and 2020. The tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order. However, when the, now former, resident first asked me to prune it in 2012, they were under the impression that they had permission to fell the tree. It is a prominent mature Purple Beech tree, which is visible from the main road and has no significant defects or health problems. I would not have been happy to fell it and I doubted that permission would be granted.

It transpired that the resident had applied to the Council for permission but they were relying on the 'six week from application' clause. This supposedly means that you can go ahead with the work if you don't hear back in that time.

However, Manchester Council wrote the clause at a time when the tree department had a lot more time, money and staff to process the paperwork. We checked in with Manchester Council ourselves before commencing any work. Sure enough, it turned out that the applicant hadn't heard back because the team was way behind with the applications. However, they intended to reject permission to fell the tree. This, they explained, was mainly due to the high amenity value of the tree (the value that it has for the people who see it). It was also because it was in good health and causing no structural problems to the house. The lesson here is that, even if you haven't heard back about about an application within the six week period, it’s always best to double check. Unauthorised tree felling can incur huge fines.

Crown Reduction Pruning as a compromise

Following a constructive conversation between Manchester Council's tree officer and the client, we negotiated formal permission to reduce the tree. This was to contain the growth. Otherwise, it would have ended up being too large for its spot. We also needed to prevent the squirrels leaping from the tree onto the customers roof as they were causing damage.

As you can see in the images we captured before pruning, the tree was becoming large and unruly. The after images show how we pruned the tree to allow healthy future growth. We also maintained balance and good shape.

Tree Surgery in Didsbury. Purple Beech Tree pruning, before and after (2012)
Purple Beech tree pruning, Didsbury, before and after (2012)

This year’s tree pruning (2020)

We were very pleased to be recommended to prune the Purple Beech tree again in 2020. The tree had only just started to become too big and had recovered well from the previous prune. This is a great example of why we utilise natural target pruning to limit the impact on the tree. If you over-prune the tree, it tends to either die back or sprout vigorously.

The images below show the the outcome of our pruning. You can view more examples of our work in the Gallery.

Tree Surgery in Didsbury. Purple Beech Tree pruning, before and after (2012).
Purple Beech tree in Didsbury, before and after (2020)