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To sever or not to sever…

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I’m currently surveying a site which consists mainly of ash in hedgerows. These trees are all ivy covered, maybe 3/4 crown coverage. Dieback is prevalent and has killed a number of trees. My feeling is to recommend maintaining the ivy as the trees decline, but this obviously has the disadvantage of obscuring defects and fungal fruiting bodies. There is not a huge safety issue at stake, since any roadside trees will be removed or have remedial work. So. Maintain this beautiful habitat? Or remove 

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It is probably a decision that you have to involve the client in. It is reasonable to tolerate slightly higher than 'acceptable' risk if there is a particular objective to be achieved in doing so, such as retaining habitat. I would say let the client know that there is  apossible elevated (but unkown) level of risk in keeping the ivy but it is probably habitat-rich. Recommend removal of ivy for reinspection if your inspection gives you cause to suspect hidden gross defects, but offer advice on the tolerability of risk for the others. Let them decide. That said it should be possible to discover gross defects without ivy removal, so it's maybe not that much of a risk to keep the ones that aren't obviously knackered athte base. Also have regard to the published safety guidance from the Forestry Commission on brittle failure of Chalara-infected standing trees. There's the hedgerow Regualtions too, they may be relevant. And nfelling license requirements. You haven't said what country you are in, though.

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Thanks for the reply. I’m in Republic of Ireland which more or less statutorily aligns with Uk.  Your advice is kinda where I am in my reasoning but great to knock heads together. 


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