Damage caused to trees by dogs is increasing across the capital. This best practice note sets out to provide tools and guidance for anyone who wishes to protect trees from this type of damage. There is also a public information leaflet about dog damage to trees and how you can report it.
Protective measures for trees generally take one of two forms. The first is that of physical solutions – guards and fencing. However, fencing solutions are costly, detract from the aesthetic value of the tree and present a psychological barrier to people who want to enjoy trees in a non-destructive way.
Across London dog damage to trees is on the increase. This is a problem in all boroughs and across all types of parks and open spaces as shown in a recent London survey (LTOA 2009). This increase is linked with a steep rise in the numbers of dogs owned over recent years. Whilst this is primarily an antisocial behaviour problem, tree officers have an important role to play in identifying and resolving this problem. Currently there is considerable focus on “status” or “weapon” dogs. Whilst these groups of dogs undoubtedly contribute towards this damage, it is important to realise that tree damage can be caused by all types of dogs. It is also important to recognise that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible and do not allow their dogs to damage trees.