Art & Architecture + [villa]

Tree Felling 101 for the Lavish Property Owner
The luxury villa

It doesn't matter how big your house is (even if it's the size of this one), how much it costs or even how much you are worth — the same rules for tree felling apply to everyone.

We're not just talking about the mechanics of lining up a cut and making sure it doesn't drop into your 24ft luxury swimming pool either, there is more to removing a tree than meets the eye.

The above will not make pleasant reading for a lot of property owners, who will have been looking for an excuse to fell a cumbersome tree on their land for years. Yes, they can add privacy, but they can also prevent development whether this is in relation to your garden or the house itself.

Therefore, if you are looking to rid your land of a troublesome tree, read on. The following checklist has been put together for any UK homeowner out there, but it's very likely that the same rules apply for most countries.

Rule #1 — Are you even allowed to fell the tree?

First and foremost, it’s all about legalities. You might own the most exclusive plot in town, but that doesn’t mean to say that you can do whatever you please with the tree. The UK has thousands of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and this means that permission has to be sought before you do anything that will drastically change the tree. The fact that this even includes pruning will tell you that most of the time, the thought of felling one is absolutely out of the question.

This is an occasion where bending the rules is pretty much unthinkable as well. It’s an offence to fell, or even do any work for that matter, on a tree protected by a TPO. Therefore, it doesn’t matter where you live, it’s generally not worth the aggravation and you’ll have to live with the tree for the foreseeable future (i.e., forever).

Rule #2 — Is it going to cause half your house to fall down?

In felling a tree, you also want to ensure that you don't fell your house. This might sound a bit over the top, but it really isn't. Additionally, we're not talking about the risks of the tree crushing your great big roof lights (although that's an obvious concern, as well).

Instead, we’re referring to the perils of subsidence. It’s an insurer’s worst nightmare and a lot of the time it’s related purely to the actions of the homeowner. Remove a tree anywhere near your home and you’ve just allowed an enormous amount of water, which the tree was previously using, to re-enter the soil and subsequently swell it. This can cause a whole host of problems and in the worst situations, it’s not been uncommon for houses to have to be rebuilt.

Rule #3 — Who will manage the whole process?

Once upon a time the only option would have been to take advantage of a professional tree felling service, as it simply wasn’t possible to source the specialist equipment on a domestic level. However, there are now numerous companies offering arborist clothing and machinery and this means that the DIY approach is entirely doable.

Whether you fancy getting your hands dirty is up to you. It will work out significantly cheaper to take this approach, although you’ll also have to factor in all of the calculations that are necessary when felling trees. On this note we should also remind readers that if you do get a calculation wrong, there’s every chance that one side of your house could be completely flattened. Therefore, make sure you read the appropriate literature before whipping out your chainsaw.

Rule #4 — What happens next?

No, this final rule isn’t like the famous part of ‘A Question of Sport’, but rather what is going to happen to the felled tree now? The answer to the above issue might have already covered it, as some companies will dispose of the tree for you.

However, if they don’t, you have a giant piece of lumbar in your back garden. Unless you need wood for your stove, it’s a nuisance to say the least. Moving it in one go is probably out of the question, while even sawing it up into tiny pieces will be too much for some. Unfortunately, it’s something else that has to be covered and this is exactly why, no matter what type of house you reside in, tree felling is never a simple topic and there is a boatload of planning required before even considering it.