Tree Location Survey

Tree Location Survey

Understanding Tree location survey

A tree location survey is an exhaustive evaluation of the conditions of a specific region in regards to planting and maintaining a tree. When a land survey is done, the professional comes out to the site and assesses the area’s suitability for building. A tree survey is fairly similar.

In the same way, landowners can use tree surveys to determine if specific trees and shrubs can be grown in their location. In Minnesota, for example, it is impossible to cultivate palm trees in a suburban setting.

Palm trees need a lot of sunlight and water to thrive, and that’s just not possible in Minnesota’s freezing climate. In the absence of governmental monitoring, landowners will be able to carry out these types of actions, which will result in a lack of trees that will almost likely lead to death.

For landowners, tree surveys are essential to ensure that the proper trees are planted in the right places with the right growing conditions.

Forested land that may be developed, such as by building a structure or landscaping, is subject to tree location surveys, which determine what kinds of trees are there and how many there are.

A tree study from an experienced arborist, is essential if you want to build on land or beautify an area and remove multiple trees. In order to get started on any property development project, you’ll need to do this before you start clearing the area.

The forested area should be evaluated by a Certified Arborist, before any development is done on it whether for private, commercial, or public use. Arborists call this type of assessment a tree survey.

What Happens During Tree Location Surveys?

When it comes to a tree survey, it’s more than just a list of all the trees on your land. In addition, it’s about much more than just rescuing trees from logging.

It includes conducting a wide range of tree-related assessments during tree location surveys, including the following:

  • Determine the types of trees in your area that you plan to cultivate or landscape by taking measurements and collecting data.
  • Creating a tree map that shows the location of all the trees on your land, as well as their species.
  • Keeping track of the size of each tree on the land.
  • Assessing the age of trees on a site before making a decision on how to develop it.

In some circumstances, they assist you comply with state and local tree conservation legislation by providing you with data and research-informed property and landscape development decisions.

Why Would One Need a Tree Survey?

In the prior scenario, no community in Minnesota would allow the planting of a palm tree. Palm trees don’t do well in this state’s climate. Because of this, planting these trees will result in their demise.

Dead trees can have a negative impact on property values, prompting homeowners to leave, and deterring new investors and movers. As a result, local governments and communities have stringent rules about what kinds of trees can be planted where.

The flowers and shrubs you can plant on your land, as well as crucial information about their growing requirements, can be found at your local home improvement store, such Home Depot or Lowes.

It’s also a good idea to do a simple internet search to see what flowers and bushes grow in your area. However, there is a need for stronger regulation in this area.

In the incorrect climate and habitat, trees can quickly die. In the event of their demise, they represent a huge threat to nearby property as well as the lives of everyone around them. If you plan to deforest a parcel of land that is currently wooded, you should conduct a tree location survey.

For a variety of reasons, tree location surveys should be carried out. There are a number of trees that are protected by state and local rules because of their current or even endangered status.

In order to comply with local and state legislation, you must either leave any government-protected trees on your land or add new ones after clearing your space.

Surveys of tree locations can also show you if your property has any special trees, such as a protected historic live oak, which can raise its monetary value. Because of their natural beauty and rarity, these trees provide value to any land they’re placed on.

In this way, a tree survey aids in the creation of a beautiful environment for future generations to enjoy, as well as the development of a property with a greater monetary value.

Who Qualifies for a Tree Location Study?

The following sorts of property improvement projects, in general, call for tree location surveys to be performed:

For development, you’re clearing moderately to densely wooded territory. Clearing land to develop structures or re-landscape an area that is currently forested is included in this category:

  • You’re a member of a team tasked with creating maps of real estate that will be put up for sale.
  • You’re investigating and evaluating a forested region as part of your research.
  • Your goal is to harvest wood by chopping down trees.

Who Doesn’t Need a Tree Survey?

If you’re planning to build on land with only a few scattered trees, a tree survey isn’t necessary. Even if you don’t have many trees on your property, it doesn’t imply that you don’t need to get a survey done.

Regardless of whether or not you have a protected tree on your property, a tree location survey is still important to document the protected tree and devise a plan to develop the area without uprooting and dismantling the protected tree.

Benefits of a Tree survey

In addition to being a necessity for landowners and enforced by local governments, tree surveys offer a number of vital benefits.

A tree survey is a thorough examination of the surrounding area, as well as its ability to support the growth of specific trees.

An additional benefit of a tree survey is that it can give landowners valuable knowledge and advice on how to protect trees from harm during construction.

Surveyors can also assist landowners in determining how best to protect specific trees following construction.

Tree surveys also provide these additional advantages:

  • Disease and pests can be prevented using these analyses.
  • Surveys can help protect the foundations of structures from deterioration.
  • The results of tree surveys can help prevent harm to dwellings and the surrounding land.
  • A thorough investigation can help establish whether or not a particular tree should be planted or removed.
  • Documentation from surveys can be used to meet local requirements.

Equipment requirements for Tree surveys

They include:

Data record-On paper, spreadsheet, or in the Treezilla app you will need a way to keep track of your measurements.

Laser rangefinder- This is used to determine the distance to tree trunks. Using a laser rangefinder is the best way to determine from which side the tree trunk is closest to you.

Measurement tools- Tape measure, and crosshairs for measuring height and circumference.

Pole with harness/pole saw- This is used to mark tree locations in the field.

Digital camera- This can be used to record field measurements so that you have an accurate record of what your trees look like.

Ruler- Used for accurate measurements of individual tree rings.

GPS Device- Used to determine the coordinates of your tree locations. Once you have established the geographic location of your tree or trees, you can identify their position on a map.

Thumb Tacks- Used to temporarily mark the exact location of trees and structures.

Clinometer- Used to calculate the distance between two points on the ground.

A quick and easy way to determine if a tree is dead. Simply shake any tree and listen for creaking sounds when it is dead.

Measuring Tape/Dressmaker’s or surveyor’s- Used to measure the circumference of trees.

How to conduct a Tree location survey

A tree survey can be a tree health survey (to check for tree health), a targeted survey (to determine the extent/severity of tree disease), or a pre-property development inspection to ensure compliance with British Standard BS5837:2012 (“Trees in relation to construction”).

Phase 1: Preparation and Parameter Setting

First, decide how you will conduct the survey. Here are a few techniques to try:

Line transects — The most frequent way, walk a sequence of parallels of transect lines that are uniformly spaced. Examine the trees to the left and right for signs of damage or illness.

Complete the survey – Examine all the trees of the same species for pests or disease. This strategy is best for park trees or tiny forests.

Radius survey – This method is recommended for trees that were planted with large gaps between them, such as oak. Survey all susceptible trees within a certain distance (e.g., a 50-mile radius) and expand the distance until no more trees are impacted.

Quarter point transects – To utilize this method, walk a line north, south, east, and west, beginning with the infected tree. This can assist you in determining how many trees are impacted.

Although practically all tree surveys are conducted from the ground, it is sometimes preferable to climb them. This will allow you to inspect the tops of branches, towering crowns, cavities, and other locations that are not visible from the ground.

Finally, choose the appropriate season for your survey, as seasons have an impact on the diseases and pests that plague trees. Prepare your equipment and head out to the field once you’ve mapped everything out.

Phase 2: Survey of the Site

To inspect your location methodically, perform the following:

  • Take note of the tree’s species, place (coordinates or map location), physiological conditions, age, and life expectancy.
  • Examine the crown for any gaps in the canopy.
  • Examine the tree’s proportions and crown spread.
  • Look for branches that are broken, cracked, or split (these can be easily blown by the wind or rot away).
  • Examine for any abnormalities such as ivy growth, bark damage, swellings, or fungus.
  • Take note of any exposed or damaged roots.
  • During the survey, use tree tags to identify and accurately map the trees by species.

After you’ve finished this phase, evaluate the condition of the trees and their landscape value: Good usually implies healthy and no evidence of damage, fair indicates some minor flaws, poor means big flaws, and dangerous/dead means you need to be removed.

Phase 3: Impact Evaluation

Next, determine the extent of the tree damage to the property.

The Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) is frequently utilized as part of a property’s survey report since it explains which trees must be destroyed and which can be preserved.

How to safeguard trees and take particular building precautions.

A list of tree recommendations that are appropriate for the property.

You may also create a planning and development survey, as well as arboricultural surveys and a Tree Constraints Plan, depending on your client’s demands.

4th Phase: Method Statement

After your recommendations have been approved, a final method statement will be issued to the Local Planning Authority and the Site Manager.

The method statement specifies how many trees will be protected while causing the least amount of disruption (e.g., no-dig paving, storing chemicals away from roots, fencing, etc.). You can also suggest that operations be overseen, especially in sensitive locations.

Display Your Expertise

A tree survey provides crucial information to your clients on how to properly care for their trees and those that require preventative maintenance measures.

In the end, this will provide them with an accurate image of their land and how they might respond accordingly.

Given the significance of this task, be precise in your planning and execution, since damaged trees pose a risk of injury to landowners, their families, and the general public.


What is a tree survey?

A tree survey is the process of surveying a property to identify trees and their condition, as well as their impacts to the landscape.

Do land surveys include trees?

Yes, land surveys are commonly performed with trees within the scope of a survey. This is to determine the condition of trees and their impact on the property’s value.

Why should I be concerned about tree surveys?

A proper tree survey can save your client thousands of dollars. Tree diseases and pests can cause millions of dollars in damages or harm to buildings or property.

What is a tree and topo survey?

Tree surveys and topographic surveys serve as a starting point for engineers, land planners, and architects when designing a site.

Our workers have the instruments and training to correctly identify the species and DBH (diameter breast height) of trees due to the special tree guidelines of the surrounding areas.

How do you survey a tree?

Survey all susceptible trees within a certain distance (e.g., a 50-mile radius) and expand the distance until no more trees are impacted.

Complete the survey by inspecting all trees of the same species for evidence of pests or disease. This strategy is best suited to park trees or small forests.

What is a locate survey?

A “Location Survey” is the type of survey that we order for closing. A Location Survey depicts the location of the improvements on the property in relation to the property’s apparent boundary lines.

It usually entails a physical inspection of the property and is accurate to within a few feet.

What should a tree survey include?

A tree survey is the accepted method of gathering objective information on trees on any plot of land. During a tree survey, a variety of data is collected, including the number, species, age, and location of trees.

Why are tree surveys carried out?

Land surveys are carried out to determine the impact of trees on the landscape, with a goal of assessing and minimizing the damage and to find out useful information about the trees.

This is achieved using techniques such as conducting aerial surveys, ground surveys and inspections by arborists.

What is a tree survey report?

Surveyed Trees are defined as any trees that are included in an arborist’s tree survey necessary for a proposed project but are not located within an existing or prospective Open Space and Conservation easement.

What is a tree consultant?

A tree (arboricultural) consultant is someone who has obtained recognized qualifications and skills in the care and management of trees, particularly trees in landscape and amenity features, gardens, parks, and other populated areas where they are for the enjoyment and use of the public.

Who Needs to Have Tree Location Surveys Performed?

Any party who may be adversely affected by the loss, damage or injury of trees on the subject property will be required to have a tree survey performed to satisfy the conditions of their insurance policy.

How Risk Assessments are Used?

Risk assessments are used as a tool in gaining an overall perspective on the safety and health of trees in a particular area or setting.

How long does a tree survey last?

Because the state of trees can change dramatically in a short period of time due to external variables such as environmental conditions, illness, storm damage, and so on, the findings of an arboricultural survey are typically valid for 12 months.

Who can write a tree report?

Anyone with a legal responsibility, duty of care, or an interest in the health, safety, and/or management of trees can request a tree report.

Private residents, Local Authorities, Health Boards, Housing Associations, Planners, Developers, Architects, Estate Managers, and Solicitors are all included.

How often should a school have a tree survey?

We recommend conducting such a review every three years, unless there is a clear event that could cause change in the state of your natural assets, such as a construction project, disease, flood, or storm.

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