Around 8,200 trees are maintained and inspected by experts from our contractor Colas.

Specialist tree surgeons carry out:

  • Safety inspections and routine surveys
  • Tree pruning
  • Removing (when required), replacement and planting

Specialists are also on hand 24 hours-a-day to deal with any urgent issues on the roads.

Safety inspections and routine services

Portsmouth’s on-street trees are regularly inspected with every tree assessed every four years. Visual examination of a tree gives us information on the condition of its roots, trunk, main branch structure, crown, buds and leaves from which we can tell its general condition, health and vitality.

During the inspection, we consider the trees location, species, condition, age and future growth patterns. This helps us decide if any work is required to maintain healthy, safe trees that are a real benefit to Portsmouth’s street scene. Routine work is then scheduled for the following year.

Tree pruning

Routine pruning is carried out when required to keep the tree in a healthy condition. Over pruning can cause accelerated growth so we only prune when it is necessary.

As well as keeping them healthy, we prune trees to prevent:

  • potential damage to a property
  • obstruction to safe passage of pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles
  • blockage of street lighting, road signs or traffic lights

Overhanging branches

Where branches of a tree or hedge cause a nuisance by overhanging your property, you can arrange to cut them back yourself, unless the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or is in a conservation area. You may prune the branches back to the boundary of your property but no further and must not cause damage to the tree. We recommend that you use  a specialist to carry out the work. You must dispose of any cuttings yourself.

Removal and replacement

We only remove trees when it is absolutely necessary. Any tree removed is replaced in the next planting season with a suitable sized tree and species as close to the original position as possible. The planting season is between November and March.

We might need to remove a tree if it is:

  • diseased, damaged or dying
  • storm damaged
  • dangerous, because the tree (or part of it) has fallen or is at risk of falling
  • potentially detrimental to adjacent structure or property
  • causing obstructions that cannot be fixed by pruning
  • causing serious and irreparable damage to the pavement or footpath

Trees blocking natural light or affecting television reception

We do not prune trees or undertake any other work to address trees blocking natural light or affecting television reception. If you are having problems with television reception we would recommend retuning your television or aerial to see if it solves the problem.

Bird droppings, sap or pollen

We appreciate that droppings, pollen and sap from trees can be a nuisance however pruning a tree won’t stop sap or pollen falling, or birds sitting on the remaining branches, therefore we don’t do work on trees to address these issues.

Tree damaging pipes

It is very rare for underground water pipes to be broken by tree roots. Tree roots don’t break into undamaged pipes, but will take advantage of a pipe that is already damaged. We don’t carry out work on trees to prevent roots entering damaged pipes, as repairing the pipe is the only certain solution. If you think a tree is damaging your pipes, the first thing to do is contact your home insurance company for advice.


Leaf-fall is a natural occurrence. It is the responsibility of the landowner where leaves have fallen to dispose of them. You can report leaves that need to be removed from the road or pavement through the Colas website or call them on 023 9231 0900.