subject or trees on allotments is one that comes up on a regular basis, due to.
Trees around the site boundary producing shade
on neighbouring plots that are unmanaged growing too tall and producing shade
on neighbouring plots
from trees just off the allotment holders plot that are invasive and reducing
moisture content in the soil
those council run and church run allotments that have put in place stringent
rules for the planting and management of trees, indeed some allotments issue
Tree Notices instructing tenants to reduce the size of their trees when they
get over 2m.
Case Law – Trees on Allotments
Hastings Borough Council’s had been encouraging Mr Rock since 2008 to
bring the level of cultivation of his plot up to an agreed and acceptable
standard, as he had had planted 11 pear, plum, apple, cherry and apricot fruit
trees on his allotment, hoping to make enough jam to give to his pensioner
February 2011 the council felt they were left with no option but to serve
notice requiring him to improve the levels of cultivation as he was in breach
of his tenancy agreement as his
trees were not occupying sufficient space for the plot to be deemed as
than cultivate his allotment, Mr Rock sought an injunction and a declaration
from the court to preserve his rights as an allotment holder. The Local
Authority contested that Mr Rock was not entitled to the relief requested; the
judge dismissed Mr Rock’s claim and awarded costs to the council and was forced to pay £650 in legal
fees as judge ruled against him
Rock fought an epic David versus Goliath fight for almost two years to stop the
council evicting him from his plot for only growing fruit trees and ended up celebrating
a landmark victory and the case cost taxpayers £3,000. The case makes
interesting reading and shows the problems in altering Allotment rules and
applying them retrospectively
Read more at
Borough of Sutton / Idverde Allotment Gardening Guide has this to say regarding
trees on your Allotment.
“If you want to grow
ornamental or forest trees, please contact idverde to discuss what you intend
to do. We will try to find a suitable plot for you on one of the larger sites.
We do not encourage tree-growing on normal allotment plots as large trees cast
shade over a wide area and take water and nutrients from your and neighbouring
plots. Where possible, you should plant small fruit-trees in the middle of your
plot, not on the edges where they may cast shade over neighbouring plots.
Allotment gardeners must not
remove or prune trees on allotment sites. If a tree is causing you difficulty
please contact the Local Authority Tree Officer”
problem with this liberal wishy washy guidance is that, whilst they do not
encourage it they also are not banning it, in part because the Allotment
Gardening Guide is relatively young with the first version being written in
2010 and that the case law Mr Rock v Hastings
Borough Council has set a precedence regarding applying new rule
reason that more stringent guidelines have not been included within the
Guidelines is that the Local Authority doesn’t have money or resources to
monitor and enforce any hard and fast rules or guidelines.
I believe that better guidance needs to go
into the publication or needs to be produced as a supplement to the Allotment
Gardening Guidance document to advise new allotment holders how best to manage
fruit trees on allotment plots, This needs to be discussed by the LBS Allotment Site Rep Association prior to and possibly at the meeting on the 19th February.
Only Fruit Trees should be grown on
Ideally dwarf root stock fruit trees
should be grown in pots to ensure fruit trees remain manageable.
Trees should be located in the middle
of your plot, or in such locations that they only cast shadow on your plot
throughout daylight hours. If grown in plots or containers the roots will not
become invasive on a neighbouring plot holder.
They should be maintained and not
allowed to grow to a height greater that 1.5 – 2m maximum, those that do will require
pruning back to an acceptable size.
Some taller fruit trees such as
Bramley’s apple and taller plum trees will not be suitable for growing on
Dwarf fruit trees such as apple and
pear trees may also be grown in restricted forms such as espaliers or cordons,
again located such that the trunk is in the middle of your plot and they are
trained such that they do not cast shadow outside your plot during the day.
pruning of step-over fruit trees is probably easier to understand than normal
pruning. They seem to have taken a bashing fashion wise and are looked upon as
old fashioned which is a great shame. They can offend nobody and they take
nobody's light whereas any trees planted on an allotment even the miniatures if
not pruned correctly can cause real arguments.
are responsible for removal of self-set trees which should not be allowed to
grow to establishment
Trees on the Boundary & On Plots (London Borough of Sutton)
The London Borough of Sutton has a Tree Strategy and state “The Council will protect and enhance
the tree stock while remaining sympathetic to the interests of residents; the Council
will ensure that the tree stock is managed in such a way that continuity of
tree cover will be safeguarded for residents and visitors now, and future
generations.” And that,
any population of trees there are a number of common sources of complaints
including overhanging branches, shade, leaf/fruit fall, obstruction and physical
damage, etc. Many of these problems can be dealt with by regular management.”
Tenants and plot holders are not actually specifically listed in Section 4. LIST OF STAKEHOLDERS, but it could be argued
that they fall under the category of “Residents and resident’s groups” However
under Section 6.1.2 Policies, the first Policy states
Council will carry out a visual tree assessment (VTA) of the existing tree
stock on highways, parks, cemeteries and allotments on a minimum four-yearly
requests for tree pruning would have to follow the procedure in 6.5 Dealing
Dealing with Enquiries
Arboricultural Section receives on average 2000 enquiries per year with regard
to trees on highways, parks, cemeteries, allotments and trees on other Council
owned land. They range from general enquiries about pruning and planting to
reporting dangerous trees. Following any enquiry, the Section has to determine
the level of response required.
is a list of scheduled inspections for allotments on the council’s web site
which can be found at https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200453/parks_trees_and_open_spaces/1126/trees/4
is nothing in the strategy document regarding keeping the height of trees to a
reasonable level around allotments of planting species of trees that do not
grow to an excessive height so as not to cast shadow onto an allotment site.
discussion with Bill Wyatt Technical Services Manager of the newly formed
Neighbourhood Services department who was historically Deputy Parks Manager and
had responsibility for allotments, there is no money to undertake such works
and, as that is the case when the strategy document comes up for review, the
council will not be modifying the document such that the needs of light by
allotment holders will be taken into account.
is because the council will not add work to the Tree Strategy document for
which they have no or sufficient funding. So very catch 22 when you go back to
the start of the document that states
“The Council will
protect and enhance the tree stock while remaining sympathetic to the interests of
residents; the Council will ensure that the tree stock is managed in
such a way that continuity of tree cover will be safeguarded for residents and
visitors now, and future generations.”
sympathetic but unable to actually do anything about it, whilst acknowledging
any population of trees there are a number of common sources of complaints
including overhanging branches, shade, leaf/fruit fall, obstruction
and physical damage, etc. Many of these problems can be dealt with by
the trees will be looked at every four years, but are unlikely to be reduced in
height because there is not the money for height reduction unless there is also
a risk to health and safety of the stakeholders.
This article forms a basis for a discussion thread on the LBS Allotment Site Rep Association Facebook group. If you are a Site Rep in the London Borough of Sutton please do request to join the closed Facebook Group.
That's really interesting Alan. We have an ongoing discussion about trees on plots over here too, but usually issues are sorted out amicably. As a suggestion, tree bags are also a good option for restricting root growth - they last for 10-15 years and mean you can put the tree in the ground rather than keep it in a container. The only thing I would be doubtful about is stating that dwarf trees can be grown into trained forms. My understanding is that usually trained trees are grown on more vigorous root stocks than dwarfing ones, which means that regular pruning is needed, but the tree will grow to fill say a 3m wide wall as an espalier or fan. Do keep us posted on how your discussion goes. BerylReplyDelete
There are lots of different types of root stock and the term dwarf tends to get abused a lot, but I take your point, certainly the Superstore cheap trees are not generally suitable for container / patio growth and I have found them to be ideal for training as I have done it with the apples against my wall on Plot 1ADelete