Protecting Veteran Trees

Find out as much as you can about your tree. Management decisions will be affected by the age, condition, size and structure of the tree. Associated habitats and species, historical management, surrounding land use, potential threats and designations such as Tree Preservation Orders must also be considered.

Formulate a management plan based on a survey and professional advice from veteran tree experts.

Treat veteran trees as a constraint on new development. Locate new buildings, car parks and footpaths well away from them.

Protect the roots. They will extend beyond the tree canopy to a distance of up to 15 times the diameter of the tree at breast height. Excavation, compaction and cultivation within this area may cause serious root damage that is fatal to the tree.

Manage public access to reduce the need to fell branches. This may include restricting public access to the tree, relocating footpaths, posting health and safety warning notices.

Forget ‘tree hygiene’. Deadwood, fungi, decay and sap run are fundamental to the veteran tree habitat. Never remove dead branches or trees unless absolutely necessary for health and safety reasons. If timber must be removed, leave it lying as near to the tree as possible.

Manage the surrounding land to reduce damage to root systems. Do not tarmac around the tree and relocate footpaths to reduce soil compaction. Reduce nearby use of agricultural and horticultural chemicals.

Further information