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Once you have decided that your trees or shrubs need some attention, the next step is to contact us for advice and a quote. On arrival, we will listen to your requirements and ask appropriate questions to find out your needs.


If action is required, we may use unfamiliar terms to describe the work recommended for your trees. We may also use common terms that don’t necessarily mean exactly what you may think they do. For example: if you ask us to ‘trim’ a shrub, we will need to decide what is actually needed.

Below we will try to unravel the industry jargon for you and try to explain what each action should achieve and where it may be best used or avoided. But before starting there is one term that we will use repeatedly and that is ‘Crown’, to keep it simple this is the part of the tree that carries the leaves or needles (foliage).

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Crown Reduction

This is where the crown of the tree is made smaller, either all over or in a certain area to redress an imbalance of the shape. As with crown thinning no more the 30% of the foliage should be removed in one year and the out-come should be to leave the tree looking as natural as possible and not leaving large thick branch ends on the extremities of the crown. A good reduction/reshaping will leave the tree with a strong framework of large branches, which support enough smaller branches and twigs (leaf bearing material) capable of producing dense leaf coverage next season.

When to crown reduce/reshape:

  • When a tree has become too large for its position, but removal of the tree is undesirable.

  • When the stability of the tree is in question due to defects or movement in the ground.

  • To address an imbalance or to prune to clear an object (e.g. building or street light).

  • To maintain a specific crown shape

When not to crown reduce/reshape:

  • Certain species react poorly to reductions, conifers in general (apart from hedges) do not reshape well and often look poor afterwards, and Maples especially will put on vigorous regrowth and become overly dense due to this growth.

  • When a tree is obviously the wrong tree for its position, it may be best to remove it and start again with a more suitable tree.

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Crown Lifting

This is the removal of the lowest branches to a specified height and where possible should be achieved by removal of smaller branches so to minimise stress to the tree. The crown of the tree should not be lifted to a point which is more than 1/3 of the overall tree height.

When to crown lift:

  • To open up a view or allow more light under the crown, this can often be more effective in increasing light level when the tree is close to where you need the light

  • To separate a tree’s canopy from the ground, this can be to create space, make mowing easier or to improve the look of the tree

When not to crown lift:

  • When the tree already has a high crown.

  • When to achieve these large branches will need to be removed, this can store up problems for the future.

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Crown Thinning

This is the selective removal of branches to reduce the density of the tree. It should be achieved by removal of branches from throughout the crown (not only from the inner crown) to leave a crown with a balanced density, but no more than 30% of the foliage should be removed in a single year, as this may cause the tree stress. The minimum number of branches should be removed to achieve the desired effect. Crown thinning on a smaller tree may be undertaken as part of the formative pruning, but on a larger tree may be specified for other reasons:

When to crown thin a large tree:

  • To allow more light through the crown, reducing the density of the shade beneath the tree.

  • To allow the wind to percolate through the crown, therefore reducing the likelihood of wind throw.

When not to crown thin a large tree:

  • Crown thinning certain species has the effect of making the produce more growth along the branches, at best undoing the recent thinning and at worst making the crown denser than before you started. This can certainly be a risk with Limes, Maples and to a degree Oaks.

  • Where a tree is already unstable due to a defect at the base or due to soil/root movement. In this instance a crown reduction may be more appropriate.

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A true pollard is a tree that has been cut back as a young tree and then repeatedly pruned to the same point creating a pollard knuckle. The term is often used (technically incorrectly) to describe a heavy reduction of a larger tree, which is then to be managed in the future as a pollard.


This approach can work for certain species of trees and your Arborist should be able to advise you on this and also explain the management regime that will be required afterwards.

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Stump Removal

This is the last stage of permanent tree removal, after a tree has been felled there will be a ground level stump. We will bring in a stump grinder that will grind the stump down to approximately 3 - 5 inches below ground level. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to leave in the ground but can cause problems in the future.


Crown Clean/ Deadwooding

This is the removal of dead material from the crown of the tree and may include some crown thinning, it would also include the removal of climbing plants (ivy etc) foreign objects (old tree houses etc) and parasitic plants like Mistletoe.

Tree Felling

Tree felling involves removing a tree to ground level and can be achieved in 2 ways. If there is a lack of space, the tree may need to be dismantled in small pieces, or felling the tree from ground level/ sectional felling in larger pieces. The latter of procedures can only occur if there is adequate space around the tree.

Hedge Reductions & Trimming

Once your hedge has established it will require frequent trimming to keep it dense and compact. Formal hedges will require a greater frequency of trimming to keep them looking sharp. Informal hedges can be trimmed once a year to keep them healthy and within bounds. Maintenance trimming is usually carried out between Spring and Summer.

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