Guildford Tree Surgeons – Answers To The Most Common Tree Surgery FAQs

Is an Arborist the same as a Tree surgeon?


When you decide to hire a professional to remove, prune or cut back trees or shrubs on your property or for a commercial site, the first questions you’ll probably ask is “What is a tree surgeon?” and “Is a tree surgeon the same as an arborist?”


Technically speaking, there is no difference between a tree surgeon and an arborist and the words are interchangeable, although others may beg to differ. In our opinion, the difference between a well qualified, experienced and knowledgable tree surgeon and an arborist is slight.


Guildford Tree Surgeons and many others involved in the tree industry see the difference as a mear mindset and attitude towards tree work and working practices. For example, as a “tree surgeon” you would only be required to hold qualifications related to tree work, but this does not make you an arborist. Unfortunately, there are now many rogue tree surgeons who may be qualified but are willing to carry out work to an inferior standard which may jeopardise the health of the tree.


At Guildford Tree Surgeons, we frown upon this behaviour, as it gives everyone in the industry a bad reputation, and we carry out work using British Standard guidelines. Many reputable tree surgeons have now started to term themselves, arborists, in an attempt to distance ourselves from such cowboys. It is our view that an arborist is a highly qualified tree surgeon with years of experience, a deep knowledge of tree physiology and an understanding of the environmental impact any tree work may have.


Others may argue that an arborist must have a Level 4 Award in Arboriculture. This arboricultural degree/diploma teaches plant pathology, tree assessments and appropriate management techniques to reduces risks and treat disease. Still, we feel the term “arboricultural consultant” better suits an individual holding this qualification.


With that in mind, we can safely say that all our tree surgeons are passionate arborists. Guildford Tree Surgeons have a love for trees, nature and the environment, and we are dedicated to preserving them. If you require a professional tree inspection or a tree report, we have a network of trusted arboricultural consultants who offer such services.


What Qualifications do you need to be a Tree surgeon UK?


As previously mentioned, it is of vital importance that your chosen tree surgeon is qualified and competent to carry out the task required. There are two recognised awarding bodies, NPTC ( and LANTRA ( Both organisations provide qualifications for a vast number of land-based activities, and you must make sure your tree surgeon holds the correct awards. The staff at Guildford Tree Surgeons have many NPTC, and LANTRA awards, too many to list individually, so are available upon request. Rest assured all our operatives hold the relevant qualifications for the tasks they carry out.


What insurance should a Tree surgeon have?


Tree surgery, by nature, is a hazardous and high-risk profession, and it is for that reason that you ensure your tree surgeon has adequate cover. As a minimum, the tree contractor should have public and also employee liability insurance. At Guildford Tree Surgeons, we have £5 million Public and Employee liability cover, which protects us, you and the public should anything ever happen.


How do I find a good Tree Surgeon?


In addition to checking your tree surgeon has the right qualifications and insurance cover, you should always take time to get some references from previous clients. In the past, this task could be tricky as you would have to ask the contractor for references, and they could provide you with biased or fraudulent referees. Luckily, times have changed, and you can view reviews of previous work at the click of a button. Guildford Tree Surgeons take real pride in our work and hold total customer satisfaction at the core of our business. You can view some of the great feedback we have received via Google Reviews, Which? Trusted Traders and Buy With Confidence, as well as on our social media accounts.


Why are you not listed on Checkatrade?


Despite building an excellent reputation on the platform, Guildford Tree Surgeons decided to remove ourselves from Checkatrade as we felt Which? Trusted Traders and Buy With Confidence better represented our company. In our opinion, the trading standards approved, Buy With Confidence and Which? Trusted Traders had a more stringent assessment process meaning only higher-quality businesses are accepted. Checkatrade had also come under some criticism for listing some unscrupulous tree surgery companies along with questionable reviews.


Do you provide free site visits and no-obligation written quotations?


Yes, we always suggest a free site visit so we can come to assess your project and discuss your requirements. Once you have decided on what you require, we can then provide you with a written quotation. Contact us today to arrange a site visit and a free quote.


Can you provide a quotation from photographs and a description?


Unfortunately, there are often so many variables to consider, so we would only be able to provide you with an estimate without a site visit.



I would just like some advice about my tree, is that something you can offer?


Yes, of course, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll do our best to help or put you in touch with someone who can. We have an extensive network of arboricultural and horticultural contacts.


How much do tree surgeons cost UK?


Monetary cost is ultimately one of the most important factors for customers when choosing a tree surgeon and the question of “how much do tree surgeons charge per hour?” gets asked time and time again. The answer to this question is very complicated, as each job must be priced individually due to the number of variables involved. For example here are just a few considerations we would need to make before calculating the cost of the job:

The size of the tree – more material will result in more material to transport and dispose of.

The location of the tree and its surroundings – if the tree is in an awkward place or overhangs buildings/property limbs may need to be lowered, and this will increase the time required.

The distance to travel from tree to truck and chipper – the further the distance to the longer time it will take to transport.

The health of the tree – if the tree is unhealthy this will increase the risks involved and if it’s too dangerous to climb we may need to price in the cost of a MEWP (Cherry Picker) or Crane.

Does the location of the tree pose a risk to the public? – if the tree is close to a path or road, we may need to apply and price for closure or traffic management.

As you can see, there are far too many things to consider to determine an average price per job or hourly rate for a tree surgeon. The best course of action is to utilise our free site visit and quotation service by contacting us today.


Do you dispose of all the tree waste?


Most of our clients request us to remove all the arisings from the site; however, if you would like to keep the woodchip or timber that’s entirely up to you. Woodchip has numerous applications around the garden, and there is an increasing demand for timber as firewood. If you require the cordwood cutting to specific length “ready to burn” please make us aware at the time of quoting.


Do you dispose of stump grindings/chippings/arisings?


Our chosen method to remove stumps is called stump grinding. We have a high powered machine called a stump grinder which uses teeth on a flywheel to chip the stump into small pieces. The process turns the stump into grindings which mix into the soil and break down naturally over time. At first, you will be left with a small mound but as the chippings break down the mound will level off. WE DO NOT REMOVE GRINDINGS UNLESS SPECIFIED OTHERWISE; this is industry standard practice for stump grinding.


Are my trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or in a Conservation Area?


Many trees and hedges come under the protection of a TPO or because they located in a conservation area. It is illegal to carry out work on trees and hedges of this nature without permission, and both you and the tree contractor may face fines and criminal prosecution. The local planning authority must grant consent BEFORE you commence any work whatsoever.


Can you check to see if permission is required and submit an application for tree work on my behalf?


Guildford Tree Surgeons are happy to provide our customers with a complete service; we can check to see if you require permission and submit a TPO application free of charge providing you choose us to complete the tree work. We have submitted many successful applications over the years and have built a strong relationship with many local councils. We can also offer an application to the local authority as a chargeable standalone service if you wish to select another contractor.

It will take a minimum of 6 weeks to grant permission for work in a conservation area and from 8 weeks for work on trees with TPOs.

Alternatively, you can always apply yourself; more information is available on the government website here.


What if we’ve already had an application for work refused by the council?


If you’ve already had tree work refused, we can take a look at the reasons for refusal and analyse your application. We then use our knowledge of the process to negotiate an agreement or compromise with the planning authority.


My neighbours trees/hedges are causing me problems, what can I do?


The first thing you should do is have a conversation with your neighbour to see if you can agree on a schedule of work for the tree. If you are unable to agree, then you usually have the legal right to prune back anything encroaching over the boundary of your property. Please bear in mind; you must still check for Conservation Areas and TPOs.


Unfortunately, if the height is the issue, you have no legal right to reduce them. You may be able to get the tree removed if it poses a risk to you or your property, but we must still apply for immediate permission from the council under an exemption for dead or dangerous trees.


Should I inform my neighbours that I’m having tree work carried out?


We always advise letting your neighbours know when you plan to get tree surgery done. Communication with your neighbours is crucial if your tree borders their garden as we may require access to their property to clear debris. It also allows them to raise any concerns and is just common courtesy. We understand neighbours sometimes don’t get on so if you feel uncomfortable speaking to them, please let us know in advance, and we can speak to them on your behalf. We find people can be more reasonable when in conversation with an impartial third party.


I would like you to carry out the work at the weekend, is a service you can offer?


Generally speaking, we don’t advise carrying out work over the weekend unless absolutely necessary. In our experience carrying out tree work on a Saturday or Sunday tends to cause conflict with neighbours due to the noisy nature of our machinery. That said, we are happy to discuss your situation, and if there is no other option, we will certainly consider your request.


The only exception to this rule is if you have an emergency, where a tree posses risk to property or life. In which case, please call us immediately, and our team of emergency tree surgeons will get to you as soon as possible to make the tree safe and get the situation under control.


Emergency tree work, I have a dangerous or fallen tree I need dealing with asap, how quickly can you get to me?


We have a team of arborists and tree surgeons on call to provide 24-hour emergency tree surgeon services 365 days a year. Call us now on 01483 910361, and we will do our very best to get to you when you need us most.


Why do I need to employ an arborist or tree surgeon?


If performed incorrectly, tree surgery can be highly hazardous to both life and property. We always recommend the using a trained, qualified and experienced tree surgeon to help minimise risk and ensure the longevity of your trees. Poorly pruned trees not only look bad but may lead to problems in the future which can result in additional expense. Guildford tree surgeons professional arborists take great pride in providing safe, affordable tree work to the highest standard, safeguarding the aesthetics and health of your trees for years to come.


I’ve decided to use Guildford Tree Surgeons tree services, is there anything I need to do before you come?


As previously mentioned, it’s always a good idea to inform your neighbours, especially if we are going to require access to their property. If we are using your driveway, we ask that you make sure it’s clear, along with any side access we may require.


We also ask, if possible, that you clear any items from below or around the tree. Our friendly staff are happy to help on the day, but if there is a lot to move, this can slow us down considerably, and we may need to adjust the price to allow for the added time.


As a note to DOG & CAT OWNERS, please remove all dog or cat mess from our working area. Having to work around dog and cat mess is far from pleasant and is not something we expect our staff to do. Besides being very unpleasant, it’s also a health and safety risk so our team would be with their rights to refuse to work.