Tree concerns – what to do

If you have found problems with a tree, whether it's a hazardous broken branch or a Most Unwanted pest, there may be steps you can take.

Tree with Ash declineIf your tree shows signs of poor health, the first thing to do is to keep a closer eye on it and monitor what is happening. Many pests and diseases are unlikely to be fatal and, over time, trees can often recover.

There are also a number of everyday things that we can do to care for trees and help them to survive. The Tree Council has some useful advice.

Even if your tree has a serious condition, it could take many years to die and will continue to be an important habitat for wildlife, so experts do not recommend felling mature trees unless they become unsafe.

Reporting pests and diseases

If you believe you have spotted one of the pests and diseases in the survey, double-check what you have seen using our guides, and try to get a clear photograph of the symptoms.

Inform the landowner if appropriate, and please submit your survey results as soon as possible.

If you have spotted one of our six Most Unwanted, you must alert Forestry Commission officials through:

  • TreeAlert app:
  • telephone: 08459 335577 (England and Wales), 0131 314 6156 (Scotland) or 0300 200 7847 (Northern Ireland)

For more information, visit the Forest Research website.

Unsafe trees

If you believe the tree may be dangerous or at risk of falling, your first step should be to contact your local authority, which is responsible for many trees in public spaces.

It can also advise whether those on private property are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or other planning conditions.

If the tree is on your property, you should hire a professional to carry out any necessary work. The Arboricultural Association produces a list of approved contractors.