As professional arborist we like to work on trees in a considerate way so that they can be maintained in a healthy manner for the future. Our pruning operations take into consideration the health of the tree and the desired outcomes of the customer aiming to find a solution which is aesthetically pleasing, beneficial to the tree and above all else; safe for years to come.
A reduction is your typical “all over” re-shaping and balancing of a trees canopy. As a rule of thumb most trees can cope well with a 30% reduction in size which conforms approximately to the British Standards 3998:2010 recommendations for tree works.
How much we remove however is determined both by the effect you want to achieve and the species of plant in question. We aim to leave a reduced tree looking, well balanced, healthy and as natural as possible whilst keeping you, the customer, happy so an optimal solution can always be found.
Pollarding is a process typically seen on street trees like the one pictured. Whilst it is a nice way of maintaining a tree at a small size for many years it can only be performed on a very limited selection of tree species such as willows, limes and planes. Even then pollarding trees can lead to weak, straggly regrowth on swollen unsightly “knuckles” so we tend to recommend against it.
Removal of a trees lowest limbs and drooping branches can instantly create a clear space underneath a tree which can make a surprising amount of difference to a garden or living space.
Quite often the amount of light gained from this type of tree surgery will equal or even surpass that which would be gained from reducing the height of a tree.
Crown lifts may also be required legally to provide the necessary headroom over a footpath or road (2.6 or 5.2 metres respectively) in conjunction with the Highways Act of 1980.
Crown thinning, dead-wooding and canopy cleaning
A popular operation with fruit trees but applicable to plants of almost any size and species, thinning of the crown can help make trees look less like solid lumps but instead attractive plants with airy, open silhouettes.
Done correctly built up, branchy trees can be transformed to have elegant, semi-opaque canopies which cast dappled shade as opposed to solid shadows. This can vastly improve mossy lawns and boggy flowerbeds as well as damp walls and sheds. It can also be used to highlight a trees decorative bark or attractive branch growth.
Dead branches in trees may sound like a sign of things going downhill with a trees health but more often than not having small amounts of dead wood in a trees canopy is no cause for concern. If those branches are over a busy walkway or a delicate conservatory roof though it may be wise to have them removed before they can fall and cause damage.
Canopy cleaning involves the complete removal of any dead wood followed by the removal of any split, snapped or rubbing branches. This reduces both the risk of infection to the tree through exposed injuries as well as mitigating the risk of damaged limbs getting worse and failing unexpectedly. Oftentimes canopy cleaning will be utilised in accordance with other pruning operations such as reductions or thinning to leave healthy, looked after trees.
When we head a tree back we are essentially reducing it along one or more of its sides.
We either aim to reduce back to a given location or away from an obstacle. As an example, this could be facing a hedge back to a fence line or heading branches back away from a house.
It is often done “straight up” but this type of pruning operation is situational and tailored to your specific requirements and we can work around the effect you wish to achieve.
Regarding your neighbour’s trees overhanging your garden; Common Law currently states that you can prune neighbouring trees (branches and roots) back as far as your boundary providing it does not adversely affect the plant in question. This can be done without your neighbour’s permission though we prefer to at least give them advanced warning of any intentions.
If said tree has a Tree Preservation Order on it then the usual application procedure must be followed.