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Have you checked your trees: Are they strong enough to survive the winter?

Tree Fallen

Have you checked the health of trees in your garden recently?

As we enter further into the depths of winter, the wind gets stronger, the rain gets heavier and snowfall is not out of the question. These weather conditions can put serious strain on any ageing trees which shadow your property.

At this time of year, there is a notable increase in the number of calls to Derbyshire Building Control Partnership’s (DBCP) 0330 880 2000 number to Report A Dangerous Structure.

Following a report, a member of our building inspectors is dispatched to assess the safety of a property following a tree fall and will subsequently oversee the removal of the tree in conjunction with one of our approved tree surgeons.

When a tree or branch falls on a property it can be catastrophic. As well as putting lives at risk, the extent of the damage caused by a fallen tree can render the property uninhabitable.

You can mitigate the risks. Trees surrounding your home should be checked periodically. Here’s our checklist of what to look out for:


  • Broken and damaged branches – are there any fallen ones lodged in the tree?
  • Dead branches – these will have an absence of leaves so keep an eye out in the summer
  • Cracks where the branches meet the trunk


  • Cracks and cavities
  • Fungal growth – these indicate weak spots; strong, living trunks should be free from fungal growth
  • Trunk stems which separate in a ‘V’ formation – these are much weaker that ‘U’ shaped separations


  • Fungi on anchoring roots which are exposed to the surface – this indicates decay
  • Cracked soil surrounding the base of the tree – this could indicate the start of leaning
  • Cavities or hollows at the base of the tree where it meets the anchoring roots

However, you should never assume that the tree is uncompromised simply because it ‘looks’ healthy at a glance. There could be a different story lurking underground.

Tree roots, however, are harder to inspect. Trees feature two different types of roots – anchoring roots (these support the tree) and absorbing roots (these absorb the nutrients and water from the soil and prove very little support). Because the roots which absorb nutrients and water are separate to the anchoring roots which keep the tree secure, anchoring roots can fail without affecting the appearance of the tree. Where the tree roots are concerned, it is recommended that you consult a recognised tree surgeon to inspect your tree health.

If you are unsure of the condition of your trees, contact an arborologist. They are specialists in this field and will be able to give professional advice.

And if the worst does happen either to your property or someone else’s, get in touch as soon as possible with DBCP who can ensure the safety of your property and its occupants. You can call us on 0330 880 2000 or make the report online here

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