Speaking at a tree safety seminar organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, event host Alan Plom said landowners and managers must make trees safe without damaging them.
He said accidents and widely-reported civil cases had led to more a defensive approach and trees being felled needlessly.
"This year Northumberland alone has seen two fatalities as a result of trees falling," he said. "Tree safety is a must, but it is important risks are considered without being overly defensive."
Arboriculture Association director Nick Eden said: "Nine people are killed every day in car accidents, six people a year in tree incidents, yet deaths associated with trees get huge publicity. Landowners, agents and managers should take a balanced and proportionate approach to safety."
The National Tree Safety Group was due to launch a 100-page guidance document during National Tree Week in early December, he said. It would cover issues such as risk management.