Trees & shrubs

Trees & shrubs

Here you will find information about tree maintenance, tree preservation orders and planning around trees and hedges.

Trees & shrubs

This pages provides information about reporting a tree safety or shrub maintenance problem.

Reporting a tree problem
The council is responsible for the safety and management of trees on its land and on road verges. The safety of trees on private land is the responsibility of the landowner, and for trees in hedgerows, it is the owner of the hedge.

If you see a tree that is a potential safety problem, let us know immediately. We will inspect the tree and if it is owned by the council, take necessary steps to neutralise the problem. If the tree is on private land, then we will notify the landowner.

You can also report issues that aren’t related to safety. These will be assessed and works deemed necessary will be prioritised accordingly.

To see how we deal with issues, look at our tree works priority guide. The guide also indicates the target timescales for the completion of works.

Click below to report a problem to us:

Report a problem with a tree

Tree and woodland strategy
This strategy enables us to have a consistent approach to tree management.

It sets out:
  • how the council meets its legal obligations in respect of trees it is responsible for
  • the level of service the council will provide to individuals and bodies such as parish and town councils
  • the use of best tree studying practice
It covers:
  • highway tree maintenance
  • woodlands
  • school tree policy
  • trees on private land
  • planning services
You can view the council's strategy for the management of trees and woodlands by clicking here.

Tree planting
We plant new trees every autumn and winter to:
  • replace trees that have died or have had to be removed for safety reasons
  • improve the landscape in streets, parks, open spaces and estates
Protected trees (tree preservation order)
Unless you’re sure that a tree or hedgerow is not protected, then you should not start work on it.

Check if a tree is protected
Trees are protected if they’re within a conservation area or have a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). If a tree or hedgerow is protected by a TPO, it’s illegal to carry out work without council permission.
 
To check if a tree is protected please email : planning@northumberland.gov.uk

If a tree is not protected and you think it should be, please speak to the development management team:
Apply to do works to a protected tree/ hedgerow
If you would like to carry out work on a protected tree/hedgerow e.g. pruning or removal, then you must ask for permission from the council.

More information on how to do this, including an application form and guidance notes are available on our apply for planning permission page.

We also recommend you read the National Planning Practice guidance here.
Tree advice leaflets
Reporting a shrub problem
A summer and winter programme of shrub maintenance is undertaken on a three-yearly basis.

Shrub beds are pruned as required, edged up and cleaned out and a preventative weed treatment is applied.

Pruning is the removal of selected living or dead parts of a plant to maintain appearance, health, and to regulate growth. It is used to increase flowering, rejuvenate, shape and improve structural strength of shrubs.

Major shrub pruning is not carried out between 1 March and 31 July as recommended by Defra.

The time of year dictates when a particular types of shrub are pruned - flowering periods and bird nesting are always taken into consideration. We will assess and prioritise all reports and determine what course of action is necessary, if any.

Delays may occur if the overgrown shrub is not on council-owned land but is identified as needing attention. In these cases we may need to contact Land Registry to establish ownership.

Any shrubs encroaching over footpaths or causing safety concerns are dealt with on an individual basis.

Report a shrub maintenance problem