Tree Surveys & Inspections

Although tree-related fatalities are very rare, tree owners have a legal responsibility and ‘duty of care’ to ensure their trees do not pose an unacceptable risk. 

Under the Occupiers Liability Acts 1957 and 1984 to ensure that trees situated on their land remain in a safe condition as far as it reasonably practicable. Wharton undertake a variety of survey methods to discharge this obligation.


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Midlands Office 01789 459 458
South Manchester Office 01625 708 800

Tree Assessments

The frequency and detail of a tree survey can vary from a less detailed “walk through survey” to a highly detailed “individual tree survey”. Surveys are individually tailored to meet specific requirements of each client and following relevant guidance of the National Tree Safety Groups (NTSG) and Lantra.

The survey information is correlated and recorded using the latest computerised tree management software, GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). This ensures that trees are accurately plotted, and all information is systematically recorded.

As an output to our tree surveys clients are provided with a detailed tree schedule, site plan and report in a format of your choice, which is often provided electronically to reduce cost and the use of paper. We also provide tree management strategies and policies depending on the land owner’s requirements.

All of our consultants and associates who undertake visual tree assessments (VTA) and inspections hold the Lantra Awards Certificate for Professional Tree Inspections. This is an industry recognised certification to ensure inspectors are arboriculturally qualified and competent.

Veteran Tree Surveys & Management

Veteran trees provide an abundance of specialist habitats for plant, insect and animal species, particularly in relation to dead wood. Wharton is actively involved in the preparation of ancient and veteran tree management reports and surveys in order to safeguard our historic trees.

  • We are involved in the collection of data for these important trees utilising the Specialist Survey Method (SSM) which has been adopted by major tree owners such as National Trust, Local Authorities and the Woodland Trust along with many others involved in the management of veteran trees.

  • We can provide individual tree inspections and management plans to enable the long-term management of these important historical trees.

  • Ancient trees are important historically and may be land marks in their own right; we strive to support owners of such trees with bespoke packages to suit all budgets.

  • Landowners have a duty of care to protect the habitats of species designated for conservation priority. Our highly experienced and efficient tree surveyors undertake surveys ranging from detailed individual tree inspections to inventories of large populations of trees.

Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA)

The Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA) system applies established and accepted risk management principles to tree safety management. QTRA quantifies the risk of significant harm from tree failure in a way that enables tree managers to balance safety with tree values and operate to a predetermined limit of reasonable or acceptable risk.

Wharton is a Licensed User of QTRA, which is implemented where appropriate. Additionally Wharton implements other hazard rating systems where the use of QTRA is not considered appropriate. Alternative solutions follow industry best practice and guidance will be discussed with clients prior to any formal instruction.

Internal Decay Detection

Following the initial tree assessment, if the presence of decay causing organisms is suspected, it may be necessary to undertake further internal examinations. Wharton currently has a variety of tools to assess internal decay, including a IML PD400 Resistograph. These tools will assess the extent of decay providing information that, with the latest industry best practice, will enable the most appropriate remedial action to be taken.

Aerial Tree Inspection

In general, all of our tree inspection work is undertaken from ground level, however, where required detailed aerial inspections are undertaken. This type of inspection would be commissioned where decay, large wounds, cavities or splits are detected but cannot be sufficiently assessed.

Tree Work Contracting

Wharton does not undertake in-house tree surgery. We believe this allows an impartial and unbiased assessment, with only the best interests of the client and subject trees at the heart of all recommendations.

Following a tree survey we can, at the client’s request, facilitate quotations, contracts, or specifications from a variety of established contractors to undertake remedial work as necessary.

Wharton has considerable experience in supporting site managers with high levels of public access. We are able to aid the development and implementation of policy in order that the landowner or manager can meet their ‘duty of care’ with regard to both public safety and their environmental policy.


 Related case studies:

“Worcester City Council employed the services Wharton Tree & Ecology Consultants to carry out decay detection on a number of mature trees lime trees. The service and report they provided was prompt, detailed and to a high standard. The findings allowed the Council to take an informed decision on how to manage trees on a land mark site in Worcester City.”
— Oliver Kaye, Worcester City Council

The arboricultural team

Meet our experienced arboricultural team.

Jack Barnard    Arboricultural Consultant

Jack Barnard

Arboricultural Consultant

Sebastian Onslow    Senior Arboricultural Consultant

Sebastian Onslow

Senior Arboricultural Consultant