Boundary disputes arise when the ownership of land is contested or ownership of a tree or boundary hedge is unclear. Dr Martin Dobson has frequently acted as an expert witness in such cases. This often involves taking cores from the disputed tree or hedge in order to determine its age (by examining growth rings) or establishing where the centre of the tree is in relation to the boundary. The centre of the tree marks the location in which the tree first germinated or was planted and the owner is the person on whose land it started to grow.
In a boundary dispute involving a Laurel hedge it was important to establish the planting date and this was achieved by extracting increment cores to examine growth rings microscopically.