Tree Surgery FAQs

Yes, we are fully insured with up to £10 Million public and employer liability cover.

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If your trees or hedges need some care and attention, using a professional is the only way to be certain of getting the best results, with no stress. But you might be wondering what the difference is between tree surgeons and arborists, and which one you should use for your garden.

The terms tree surgeon and arborist (or arboriculturalist) are often used interchangeably, but they are subtly different professions. A very simple way of describing the difference is that tree surgeons know where to cut a tree, whereas arborists know why. Arborists study trees at a biological level and know how to keep them safe and healthy. Good, qualified tree surgeons will still have extensive knowledge of how to treat trees but tend to focus more on the specific work required.

The level of qualification is an important difference between arborists and tree surgeons. Tree surgery is complex and dangerous work, and as such all-tree surgeons should be qualified, as all of our tree surgeons are. However, for someone to be called an arborist means that they must have qualifications in arboriculture and could even be educated up to master’s degree level. Watch out for those who misuse these job titles – always check the level of qualification your tree surgeon or arborist holds to be sure that you’re receiving a truly professional service.

STS are accredited and vetted by the Arb Association and SMAS. Our sites and office are audited annually ensuring that our compliance is always assured.

Our staff are qualified to city and guilds AND LANTRA standards. Our Arborists have Level 4 in Arboriculture.

All staff are fully competent and compliant in Health and Safety alongside Forestry First Aiders

All our arborists are skilled tree specialists who can offer a professional tree service to keep trees manageable and healthy or removed completely. Work to the British Standard BS3998: 2010 ‘Tree Work – Recommendations’.  

STS cover all aspects of tree works which includes:

Tree Maintenance – Crown Reduction, Crown Lifting, Tree Stump Management, Deadwood Removal, Pruning, Felling and Removal.   

Arboriculture Consultancy                                                       

Hedge and Shrub Maintenance

Tree Pests and Diseases                                                                         

Tree Planting

Invasive Weed management and vegetation removal      

Advice and Guidance

Yes, our experienced arborists are happy to provide free advice. In some cases, we can offer a guideline estimate over the phone; however, we will need to survey the tree/s on site to provide you with a full quote for the work.

We always undertake Tree Preservation Order (TPO), and Conservation Area (CA) checks free of charge. This is a crucial step as it protects you against unauthorised work.

This process takes approximately three working days.

Should TPO or CA restrictions exist, we will inform you and apply for tree works on your behalf.

If tree work is not completed properly, it can lead too:

  • INJURY to people
  • DAMAGE to property
  • SERIOUS HARM to not only your trees that have taken many years to grow but · also, the environment.

The Arb Approved Contractor programme is the only comprehensive accreditation scheme for the Tree Surgery Industry.

Things to look out for in an unsafe tree.

  • Splits or cracks in the trunk or branches.
  • Branches that are broken, hanging or that have dropped.
  • Sections of bark damaged or stripped to show the wood beneath (remember that some trees such as Plane or Eucalyptus naturally shed their bark). · Soil movement around the base of the tree in strong winds.


If you think that a tree is dangerous, please contact us.

Ash dieback is fungal disease affecting the common ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) and other Fraxinus species. It is caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus which is native to eastern Asia. The disease was first identified in England in 2012, although research has shown that it is likely to have been present since at least 2005.

It is important to consider the effects of ash dieback if you own or manage ash trees, even if you are dealing with low levels of infection. Felling diseased ash requires a felling licence from the Forestry Commission unless the trees are dead or pose a real and immediate danger. Restrictions such as tree preservation orders must also be respected. Your local authority will be able to provide guidance. Some ash trees may have genetic tolerance to ash dieback, meaning they may survive and reproduce to create the next generation of ash trees. Therefore, it is important to retain ash trees where they stand out as being healthier than those around them and it is safe to do so. Retaining a proportion of dead, dying or felled trees will provide deadwood habitat and be beneficial for biodiversity.

If a tree growing on someone else’s land causes injury to someone or damage to property, then the owner may be liable. If you think your neighbour’s tree might be dangerous then you should contact an arboriculture consultant for further advice. It is always best to settle a dispute about trees amicably and it is recommended that you try to resolve the matter by talking to your neighbours first. If the tree is identified as an immediate danger, and your neighbour has refused to address the problem, then the Council may intervene if formally requested to do so. 

Many of the animals and their habitats which we encounter are protected by law. Guidelines set out in the Wildlife and countryside Act 1981 and Countryside rights of way Act 2000 (CROW) give necessary protection to bats, badgers and nesting birds to name but a few.

It is important that before we undertake any work, we conduct an animal presence survey to enable us to comply with these codes. This enables us to inform our customers of any protected species and how their presence could restrict our work. 

It is always possible to remove or prune or reduce trees of any size in limited spaces and we have many years of experience in working in these areas so have all the relevant skills and equipment to tackle projects in confined spaces without damage or undue inconvenience. 

A Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) is the legal mechanism to protect and preserve trees for public enjoyment, environmental and aesthetic purposes. Woodlands and non-commercial orchards are covered, but bushes, shrubs and hedges are not. 

As dedicated arboriculture specialists in the preservation and maintenance of trees, we recognise that our work can both improve and impact upon the environment.  We are committed to:

  •       Seeking to continually improve our environmental performance.
  •       Complying with environmental and legal requirements appropriate to our work.
  •       Preventing pollution from our activities where practicable. 


We achieve this by:

  • Surveying our work sites for possible environmental impacts including nesting birds, bats, and other species
  • Consulting with regulatory authorities where applicable
  • Ensuring our staff are thoroughly trained in best practices.
  • Using debris removed from sites to produce fuel for renewable energy sources.
  • Providing biofuel for our vehicles at our depots. 

Sussex Tree Specialists cover the Southeast of England including Sussex and Surrey and surrounding areas including Horsham, Southwater, Crawley, Cranleigh, Billingshurst, Storrington, Rudgwick, Henfield, Dorking, Reigate, and Banstead. 

We are proud approved contractors of the ARB Association. SMAS and TRUSTMARK accredited.

We have specialised equipment to tackle all aspects of tree care. 

All our arborists are skilled tree specialists who can offer a professional tree service to keep trees manageable and healthy or removed completely. 

Tree work operations (arboriculture) require a high degree of technical competence, supported by training and experience. For these reasons tree work should only be undertaken by well-trained, competent arborists experience at the type of work being undertaken, e.g., tree pruning/tree removal.

If tree work is not done properly it could lead to:

  • INJURY to people*
  • DAMAGE to property*
  • SERIOUS HARM to your trees that have taken many years to grow… All through ill-advised and badly executed tree work.
  • Potentially you may be liable if a third party is affected. 


A tree survey is a type of report that is carried out on private or public land. The aim of the survey is to provide useful information on the trees, so that informed decisions can be made.

There is lots of different information that goes into a tree survey. As professional arborists, we work to British Standard BS 5837. This is a useful guide that helps determine which trees should be retained, and which should be removed.

A tree survey documents information such as tree species; physical measurements; tree age; overall health of the tree; life expectancy and any management recommendations.

Most people conduct tree surveys because they have the intention to clear or build on the land, somewhere near the locations of the trees. In such circumstances, a tree survey becomes extremely important.

In some areas of the UK, the law dictates that a tree survey should be carried out, perhaps because there is a certain species of tree that must be protected. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is in place to prevent protected trees from being cut down either intentionally or by accident.

Tree surveys are also used to help develop building or landscaping plans. Say for example you want to build on the land near a tree. The information from the tree survey will inform the designs, which will be even more accurate.

Landscapers can use the information to decide which trees to keep and plan around, and which can be removed.


If you still have any further questions and would like to find out more about Sussex Tree Specialists and how we can help you, please get in touch with us using the contact details below.