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Don't panic! The risk from trees is very low
On average, only six people a year are killed by falling trees or branches in the UK. In a population of more than 60 million, this means on average there is a one in 10 million chance of dying from a falling tree or branch. In fact, you have more chance of being struck by lightning twice in your lifetime (one in nine million).
Furthermore, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) classifies the risk of ‘being struck and killed by a tree falling' as ‘extremely low' and is firmly in its ‘broadly acceptable' category of risks.
Guidance from the National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) in the UK is endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and aims to produce a widely-accepted broad guidance on tree safety management for landowners and managers with responsibility for trees.
The NTSG guides are current best practices for the management of tree safety in the UK. In the absence of current national guidance, the guides can provide a basis for tree safety management in many other countries too. The NTSG provide the following reasonable and practical guidance.
- Walk around your garden once a year in late summer/autumn; if your trees look sound and healthy with no obvious defects, that's all you need to do.
- A tree or branch with no leaves on it in summer is probably dead. If it is large, or at height, it may be dangerous for you to remove it, so call an expert.
- If your tree has what looks like a mushroom growing on it, check the Arboricultural Informational Exchange website to see what kind of fungus it is, and what its presence means, or call an expert.
- Cracks in the branches, trunk or ground may need checking as well.
- It is worth remembering that trees should be briefly checked for damage and partial failure after storms.
(with thanks to Quantified Tree Risk Assessment)