Tree pruning is the selective removal of branches from a tree for a variety of reasons including but not limited to, removal of dead branches; thinning out the crown to allow more light through, or reducing the overall size of the crown.
Tree pruning services should be carried out by a qualified tree surgeon/arborist to ensure the ongoing health of the tree, as well as the safety of persons carrying out the work. Tree pruning can be dangerous if unqualified.
STOP! Is your tree protected?
Many trees are legally protected. Felling or pruning of a protected tree without prior permission from your Local Planning Authority may be a criminal offence.
Always check for Tree Preservation Orders or Conservation Area restrictions prior to carrying out any works.
Our highly trained staff regularly work with local councils (South Tyneside, Sunderland, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Newcastle) in order to seek permission for tree work on behalf of our clients.
For free advice – call us on 0191 432 6167.
Types of Tree Pruning
There are three commonly recognised options when pruning a tree. A tree surgeon may suggest Crown Reduction, Crown Thinning, or Crown Lifting/Raising.
The crown is the area that bears foliage. A crown reduction is the overall reduction in height and/or spread of the tree’s crown. Reducing the crown of a tree can be used to reduce mechanical stress on individual branches. It can also be used to reduce stress on the whole tree through wind loading.
Sometimes a crown reduction can be carried out in order to make the tree more suitable for its immediate environment or, to reduce the effects of shading and light loss, etc.
Crucially, the final result should retain the main framework of the crown and ensure a significant proportion of the leaf-bearing structure is untouched. A similar, although smaller outline, will remain.
Crown reduction cuts should be as small as possible and in general not exceed 10cm diameter.
A measurement or percentage will specify a crown reduction. These measurements may reflect the finished result or refer to lengths of parts for removal to aid clarity, e.g. ‘crown reduce in height by 2.0m and lateral spread by 1.0m, all-round, to finished crown dimensions of 18m in height by 11m in spread (all measurements approximate.)’.
Not all species are suitable for this service, and crown reduction should not be confused with ‘topping’, an indiscriminate and harmful treatment.
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A crown thin involves pruning/removing a certain proportion of leaf-bearing branches from the crown of the tree. Carrying out a crown thin will result in a reduced density of foliage evenly across the tree, allowing more light and air through, while maintaining the structure and shape of the tree. Usually applied to broad-leaf species, this tree pruning can also help reduce wind resistance & reduce the weight (not necessarily the leverage) in the crown.
Crown thinning is usually specified as a percentage, e.g. ‘crown thin by 20%’, and should not exceed 30% overall.
Our team of qualified tree surgeons are available to provide free advice and quotations in relation to our various tree services.
Removing the lowest branches on a tree is known as a crown lift or crown raise. Pruning for a crown lift would not normally include the removal of large structural branches growing from the main trunk of the tree as this can cause large wounds – which may decay over time.
Crown lifting on older or more mature trees is generally avoided. Removal of secondary branches or shortening of primary scaffold branches rather than removal may on occasion be acceptable.
Crown lifting is normally specified with reference to a fixed point, e.g ‘crown lift to give 2m clearance above garage roof’. This type of pruning/cutting would normally be limited to less than 15% of the existing crown, and should never exceed 1 third of the total tree height.