It's pleasant to have a tree in the garden, providing it's the right tree. Most modern gardens are simply too small for a tree. Take a look on line for trees for small gardens. There are a lot of them but when you look at the small print the final height and spread is about 5m. Apart from making a small sunny garden into a small shady garden if it's deciduous it's going to give you lots of leaves to sweep up.

If you're thinking of a tree in a small garden go for a fruit tree which can be trained against a wall. If you've got a large garden you still need to look at a tree's final height and spread and the time it will take to reach this size. If you're planning a garden you need to think two seasons ahead. If you're planning an arboretum you need to think two centuries ahead.

Have you got a tree but don't know what it is? The Natural History Museum maintains a tree identification key. Once you've identified your tree you can register it if you want.

So what if you've got a tree in your garden that has got too big for it's boots?

Tree felling and tree surgery are specialist tasks which are best left to the professionals. The weight of material in even a small tree is measured in tonnes so do not be tempted to nip down to the local hire shop and set to work with a chain saw.

If you decide to carry out work on a tree in your garden there are a couple of things to consider before commencing the work. If it is an old tree it could be subject to a preservation order, something that you can find out from your local council. If your property is leasehold you will almost certainly have to get the permission of your landlord before felling any established trees. Finally if you live in a conservation area you will need to notify your District Council at least six weeks before beginning any work, they will then decide if these work cans go ahead or make a preservation order.

When considering a contractor to carry out the work there are also a few things you need to take into account. Ensure that the contractors are trained, licensed and insured. Often licensing and insurance are limited to certain diameters of tree trunk. Make sure that you specify exactly what work is to be carried out and what costs are to be included in the quote. Felling a tree is one thing, you are then left with a lot of timber and a large stump so get a written specification and quotation.

For more information visit the Arboricultural Association web site.