When can you cut trees in the UK?

There is no law in the UK that prevents anyone from cutting down trees or pruning hedges at any time of the year. However, we recommend that you try to do any work on the trees during the winter months, when you can see inside the tree and the tree itself is dormant. When a tree must be cut down outside a private garden, you may need a logging license. If the tree, or trees, add up to 5 cubic meters of wood by volume, it is usually an offense to fall without one.

If a decision has been made to prune or remove a branch, a decision must be made as to when to perform the work. Pruning should usually occur after the leaves have “blushed” and hardened, from late spring to summer. However, there are some exceptions, since some species such as birch, walnut and maples, will “bleed” the sap and risk losing valuable sugars in the process if pruned in early spring, therefore, pruning of these trees should be carried out when this risk is low, that is, the nesting season of birds according to Natural England begins on March 1 and runs until July 31.However, this is a guide and it can be assumed that birds will nest before and after this period of time. This may be the case even if tree conservation orders are not enforced or if the property is not within a conservation area.

RHS tree experts no longer recommend pruning or painting wounds in most cases, as they seem to inhibit healing and can actually promote rot. These reasons could include improving the structure of the tree, removing dangerous or defective branches; reducing shade, reducing wind load, or to provide space between the tree and a structure, to name just a few. Depending on the nature of the tree, all trees have different seasons when it is the optimal time to prune them. For most other deciduous trees, pruning in winter is easier as the branches are more visible, but it is better to do this before Christmas, as subsequent pruning can cause bleeding.

However, there are some exceptions, since some species such as birch, walnut and maples, “bleed” the sap and risk losing valuable sugars in the process if pruned in early spring, therefore, pruning of these trees should be carried out when this risk is low: deliberately cut down, uprooted or destroyed a tree protected by a tree conservation order without a permit is a crime. Element Tree Care will be happy to provide you with free advice or help with any queries you may have regarding trees within a conservation area. Falling outdoor temperatures also help to play its role in stopping the growth of trees. They are created to protect trees that are considered to have significant service value within the local area.

Certain fungi and bacteria can enter the tree through these wounds and cause decay of the tree's woody structure. Subsequently, they will need to be reduced, which will allow the selected shoots to regrow and return an attractive shape to the tree. Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no branch should be removed without a reason.