BS 3998:2010 Tree work. Recommendations
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BS 3998:2010

Tree work. Recommendations

Status : Confirmed, Current   Published : December 2010



BS 3998:2010 Tree work. Recommendations

Trees are dynamic, continually self-optimizing organisms, they maintain both their physiological functions and their structural integrity. Thus, the often massive structure of a mature tree above ground, consisting of the stem, branches, twigs and the attached foliage, is highly efficient in intercepting, using and storing solar energy, while also bearing its own weight and dissipating the potentially damaging forces of the wind.

Below ground, although far less obvious, the extensive root system is equally efficient both in providing anchorage and in pervading the soil in order to absorb the water and mineral nutrients that are essential for survival, growth, flowering and fruiting.

This standard gives general recommendations for tree work. It gives guidance on management options for established trees (including soil care and tree felling) and overgrown hedges.

The principles of this standard may also be applied to some shrubs, which can have similar characteristics to trees.

This standard considers the impact of work on an individual tree in relation to neighbouring trees, but does not cover overall management of tree populations.

The need for tree work will sometimes become self-evident to tree owners and site managers in the course of their regular duties. Tree work ideally forms part of a planned programme of management, which includes the successional planting of trees well-suited to their surroundings.

Principles for assessing the potential advantages and disadvantages of various aspects of tree work are stated, where appropriate, in this standard. Where work is required, it is important for clients to be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages before deciding the course of action to follow.

This is a full revision of the standard, which has been updated and expanded to incorporate changes in the law and working practice concerning established trees, especially with regard to:

  • Safety of people and property
  • Decision-making criteria for tree work
  • Wildlife and habitats
  • Veteran trees.

This revision also takes account of underlying issues such as tree longevity, value for local amenity, landscape, biodiversity and heritage.


Standard NumberBS 3998:2010
TitleTree work. Recommendations
StatusConfirmed, Current
Publication Date31 December 2010
Confirm Date15 May 2020
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)BS 5837
Informative References(Provided for Information)Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, (Northern Ireland) 1995, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, 2002, Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994, Plant Health Act 1967, Hedgerows Regulations 1997, Environmental Protection Act 1990, BS 7370-4, BS 5228-1, Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, Forestry Act 1967, Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, BS 462, 1999, Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002, Electricity Act 1989, Highways Act 1980, Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations, Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986, Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1998, Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Plant Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967, Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991, Weeds Act 1959
ReplacesBS 3998:1989
Draft Superseded By08/30089959 DC
DescriptorsFire safety, Agricultural safety, Machine tools, Guying, Safety measures, Nature conservation, Trees (plants), Pruning, Landscaping, Arboriculture, Occupational safety, Forestry, Silviculture, Tree surgery, Soil improvement, Protective clothing, Bracings, Agricultural chemicals, Fertilizers, Urban and rural works
ISBN978 0 580 53777 6
File Size5 MB

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