Trees are nature’s sponges

Trees and shrubs are thirsty organisms and they have much more of an impact on our surroundings than we might realise.

Once mature, a deciduous tree can transpire large volumes of water. Trees can maintain an open structure in the soil, making it more permeable and less susceptible to water run-off. Trees on flood plains help to provide a buffer for storm water and reduce flooding downstream. In fact, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry met in February to look at how the strategic planting of trees could be used as a defence against flooding. There is also a petition currently before parliament to prioritise the planting of trees as a preventative measure against flooding. The government will respond by June of this year.

The absorption factor can also be a hazard, however. By abstracting moisture from shrinkable soils, trees can contribute to the subsidence of low-rise buildings. And if a tree is removed for whatever reason, shrinkable soils such as clay might rehydrate and, over the course of a few years, make the ground swell and cause ‘heave’, potentially resulting in damage to buildings. For this reason it’s best to identify the characteristics of the local soils before planting trees and large shrubs close to buildings and select the plants accordingly or design the building’s foundations to withstand future soil shrinkage. If you have trees that are causing you concern, get them checked out by a qualified tree specialist.

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tree surveys
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) releases ebulletin following death of child from falling tree

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Following a court case where a council was heavily fined following the death of a schoolgirl who had been hit by a falling tree, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued an ebulletin entitled ’Safety of trees on school premises and playing fields’ in January 2023. Rather than setting out what it believes the legal […]

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Poynton Pool
The Historic Landscape of Poynton Park Under Threat

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This mid 18th century landscape will be changed forever if Cheshire East Council’s proposal for dam wall improvements goes ahead. Built in the mid 1700s, the dam wall embankment between Poynton Pool and the A523 London Road has, to our knowledge, never overflowed or been breached, but on the basis of a recent inspection the […]

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cheshire woodland row of trees
Top Tips: Looking after trees

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Trees on your land are your responsibility. Take a look around once in a while to check that the trees remain healthy and aren’t causing any obvious risks to neighbours or the public. If you have any doubts, call in a specialist. In spring and summer, water any newly-planted trees regularly, especially at times of […]

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Cheshire Woodlands use of Quantified Tree Risk Assessment has proved invaluable. It has helped us to retain trees that were condemned by another advisor. They have used measurable data to provide us with a valid tree risk assessment.

Caroline Wild, Taylor Wimpey

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