Beware of Sudden Branch Drop (SBD)


Trees can unpredictably shed large branches / limbs during the Summer.

Whilst Sudden Branch Drop (SBD) Syndrome is very rare, and no specific concerns have been raised during the most recent Aerial Inspection of the Gloucester Square trees, the Committee would still like to remind residents, exercising their  contractually-assured right to use the Garden, of this risk.

Residents are encouraged not to sit, play, or otherwise congregate under the Large Trees in the Garden.

Whilst the exact cause of this condition is unknown, the risk of SBD is thought to increase during hot dry spells, especially during rainfall after such periods.

Frequently Aswered Qustions

No, though clearly there are 6 trees (5 Planes, and 1 Red Oak) in the center of the Garden, that we suggest residents avoid congregating under (shown in red on the map above).

The Trees in the Garden are regularly inspected. The last aerial inspection was in March 2022 – no specific concerns with SBD were reported.

Whilst Sudden Branch Drop Syndrome is very rare, and there are no specific concerns with th Gloucester Square Garden, the committee still consider it neighbourly to advise residents of the (albeit small) risk and allow them to make their own informed decision on where to sit in the Garden.

This message is being shared on the 18th of July 2022, because of the unprecedently high temperatures expected this week, with rain forecast for Friday. Whilst little is known about Sudden Branch Drop – long spells of hot / dry weather followed by rain is frequently cited as a risk factor.

No – it is not common for users of a park / garden to be notified of the risk of Sudden Branch Drop, nor is it a requirement.

In the UK the risk of Sudden Branch Drop is considered so small that notification is not considered neccessary or warranted.

The Committee is instead notifying residents so that they can make their own informed decisions based on their own assessment of the risks.

The overarching reason for not removing or heavily pollarding the trees, is that they are protected under the Bayswater Conservation policy. The committee have been advised that any heavy pollarding or removal application will certainly be rejected by the Westminster Trees Officer.


Resident’s right to the quiet enjoyment of the Garden is contractually assured.

Given the committee has not been advised of any specific risks to the trees that would increase the risk of Sudden Branch Drop Syndrome, we do not have any grounds to close the Garden.

The Committee have provided increased seating areas away from the Plane trees, in areas considered lower risk.

The irrigation system installed over recent years helps keep the Garden, and the 15 large trees, well waterd and in good heath.