Tree inspection is fundamental to all aspects of tree advisory work. If many trees are to be inspected, the term ‘tree survey’ is often used.
Tree inspection is a formal process in which every part of the tree is examined systematically. The tree is identified and measured, its position is marked on a plan in relation to other features of interest, its age, condition and longevity are visually assessed and the tree’s site and surroundings are evaluated in relation to the risk of damage or injury.
Special attention is paid to defects (see Tree Hazard Assessment). If necessary, soil, root, bark, foliage or other samples are collected for further investigation.
The main outcome of tree inspection is a record to justify a course of action (which includes doing nothing). Under the Occupiers Liability Act (1984), the owner of a tree has a duty of care to those entering the property, and this involves measures which are reasonably practicable to minimise the risk of damage or injury to others. Periodic tree inspection is such a measure.