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Trees on council land

We are responsible for the management and care of trees growing on council-owned land, and trees on some public open spaces within New Forest.

Our responsibilities include:

  • carrying out routine inspections on all our trees
  • authorising all care and maintenance on trees owned by us
  • undertaking proactive management activities.

On this page:

Trees that are not our responsibility

We are not responsible for trees that are:

If you have a query about a tree on private land, or have a concern about a tree with a Tree Preservation Order, contact our planning department by email to or call 023 8028 5345 (option one).

Visit the Hampshire County Council website to report a tree or hedge problem on the highways.

Acceptable works to our trees

Minor branch maintenance

You can do very minor trimming of branches that are hanging over paths, driveways and fences. This only applies to trees within your garden. If you cannot cut it with secateurs, you cannot trim the branch.

Disposing of your waste and tree debris

You can clear up any debris that falls from trees that we own. These include small sticks, branches, berries and leaves.

You must dispose of the waste correctly or you could be fined for fly-tipping.

You can dispose of them by taking them to the tip, using our , or compost them within your garden.

Keeping trees in your area safe

You can help our trees within your area by identifying and reporting any damage. This may be caused either directly by vandalism or indirectly, such as by vehicles parked under them causing root compaction.

You can report any concerns to the police by calling 101 or by email to

Unacceptable works to our trees

Tenants, or other parties instructed by tenants, cannot do any works on trees within council land. This includes council gardens, council estates and open space land, even if the tree has been planted by yourself.

Unacceptable tree works include:

  • felling
  • topping to retain tree growth to a certain size
  • crown lifting (removal of lower branches)
  • any reduction of branch lengths or branch removal
  • pollarding or coppicing of trees
  • root damage through excavation, cutting or compaction
  • causing damage to the bark
  • tying or attaching items such as tree houses, rope swings and washing lines
  • causing fire damage, such as from bonfires or barbeques close to trees
  • placing any metal items in trees, such as nails and barbed wire
  • compaction of the soil around the base of a tree, caused from parking or storing items at the base
  • placing compost or soil at the base of trees.

Private landowners

The law makes it an offence to fell or prune trees without permission from the landowner.

If you are a private landowner and wish to fell or prune trees, follow our advice below.

  • Always contact the relevant local planning authority (either us or New Forest National Park) to ensure the tree is not protected by a Tree Preservation Order, planning constraints or growing within a conservation area.
  • Employ a suitably trained professional tree surgeon, who can provide proof of being covered by public liability insurance.
  • Be very cautious before you employ unsolicited house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons.
  • Reputable tree surgeons will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof. Always ask to see both.
  • Reputable tree surgeons can be found in the Yellow Pages or through a relevant professional body such as the Arboricultural Association.

Planting your own tree

If your garden is big enough, you could plant your own tree. You need to inform us if you do this, as we will need to include it in our future management surveys. Refer to the list above for the works you can and cannot do to your tree once planted.

A tree can be an attractive feature within your garden, as well as a home for birds and wildlife. Other benefits include:

  • providing shade during the summer months
  • reducing waterlogging
  • providing wind protection.

Newly planted trees need frequent watering. Trees less than two years old need 25 gallons per week to survive. Keep this in mind when you plant a tree.

Ex-council housing properties

Properties that were once council housing are covered by a covenant, which states the owner of the property must not undertake any tree works without the prior consent of the council.

This covenant forms a binding part of the sale agreement dating back to the time the property was sold. It binds not only the person who purchased the land, but any subsequent owners.

The covenant is a form of tree protection which is intended to protect and promote trees on ex-council land. The tree may also have an additional Tree Preservation Order in place if the tree is of notable stature, interest or believed to be under threat of removal.

Failure to gain consent prior to undertaking work could result in legal proceedings.

If you have an enquiry, contact Customer Services by calling 023 8028 5000 or email

Tree Strategy 2020-25

Our trees are managed in line with our Tree Strategy (2020-2025). You can download the documents below.

Tree Strategy 2020-25 (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)

Tree Risk Management Strategy (PDF) [1MB] (opens new window)

Ash Dieback Action Plan (PDF) [1MB] (opens new window)

Tree Planting Specification and Procedure (PDF) [352KB] (opens new window)

Contact details

If you have an enquiry or would like to make a report, you can contact customer services on 023 8028 5000 or email

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