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Trees that are unsafe or a nuisance

If you believe a tree is unsafe or is causing a nuisance then find out what to do about it.



If you see fungus (can look like large mushrooms) growing on the tree, particularly at the bottom, please report this to us.

Brown leaves on a horse-chestnut

If you are concerned about a horse-chestnut whose leaves have turned brown, it has probably been infected by a leaf-mining moth. This will not kill the tree. 

Email trees@lewisham.gov.uk if you would like us to send you a leaflet about this.

Tree looks dead or dying

If you think the whole tree may be dead because there has been no apparent leaf or flowering for a long time, or you think there are large dead branches within the tree, please report it to us.

Tall trees that sway a lot when it is windy

As trees grow they develop a root system to support their main structure. If you are very concerned and believe there is an emergency please report it to us.

Nuisance trees 

We will not, as a matter of course, carry out maintenance works in the following cases:

Sap falling onto pathways and cars

This is connected to insect activity and generally doesn't last long.

Pollen being released from the tree

Billions of pollen spores are released into the atmosphere every year by many varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers found in all areas of our environment.

Pruning or felling an individual tree will have little or no impact on someone who may suffer with allergies.

Your GP or pharmacy can advise you about allergy treatments.

Birds roosting and/or nesting in trees creating a mess

It is illegal to work on any tree that has an active birds' nest in it. Trees are a natural habitat for birds and we are keen to support wildlife in the borough. Birds only nest for a short time so this specific nuisance has a time limit.

Fruit falling from trees

This is limited to a fairly short period of time and we aim to sweep all residential roads at least once a week.

Satellite television

Some satellite TV companies have advised residents in the past that should they experience reception problems, the council will remove or prune the tree outside. This is not true. These companies should consider existing trees before they install the dish.

If you feel you have been misinformed by your satellite company, please contact them directly and ask them to relocate the dish to a more suitable position.

Telephone cables

Generally speaking, trees don't cause problems with telephones. This does depend on the density of the tree and the number of cables running through it.

Dropping leaves

Leaves are thrown into the atmosphere from the many thousands of trees across the borough. We will not work on single trees to prevent leaf fall as we sweep the streets regularly through the autumn to keep the pavements as clear as possible.

We cannot clear leaves from private properties, including leaf fall in guttering, which is the responsibility of the homeowner or management company. Apart from clearance, composting could prevent the need for disposal.

Find out more about composting.

You can recycle garden waste free of charge at the reuse and recycling centre in New Cross.

Casting shade and lawn problems

You may feel that leaves are affecting your lawn. However, this is usually because of the shading effect from trees and/or lack of sunlight.

Find out about trees that are blocking light.

Lewisham Council tree felling

Lewisham Council would only fell a tree if it’s absolutely necessary. This means that the tree is dead, diseased or dying and/or poses a significant liability risk (if, for example, the tree is undermining the foundations of a resident's house as determined by a third-party surveyor) and all other options for managing the tree have been exhausted.

For this reason we can’t consult on their removal, because we have no option other than to remove the tree.