In some circumstances a more severe pruning technique is required to reduce the overall size and weight of a tree. This is called crown reduction and it may be carried out for a number of reasons.
Safety To get rid of diseased or dead branches.
Too heavy To reduce the weight of branches, making it less likely they will break.
Shape To rebalance the shape of the tree when it is uneven after storm damage or poor pruning.
Location To prevent the tree interfering with telephone and power lines or from obstructing or damaging property or buildings.
Visual considerations To simply decrease the size of the tree and minimise the amount of shade.
Illustration courtesy of the European Aboricultural Council.
What does crown reduction involve?
Crown reduction is actually one of the hardest types of tree surgery to perform successfully and it is important to hire a qualified arborist to carry out the work.
Every pruning cut inflicts a ‘wound’ on the tree. The ability of a tree to withstand a wound and maintain healthy growth is greatly affected by the pruning cut – its size, angle and position relative to the retained parts of the tree. Cuts should be as small as possible to minimise the stress to the tree and the overall reduction should be no more than 30%, often being much less. The final result should retain the main framework of the crown leaving a similar, although smaller, outline. Overpruning increases the risk of decay and disease and can actually encourage quicker growth back to the original size.
Crown reductions are not suitable for all species. Ash, maple and willow and sycamore can tolerate crown reductions fairly well. Other common UK trees such as beech, oak and cherry need to be treated more carefully and can only cope with a small crown reduction.
A professional tree care specialist should be able to advise you the best method of pruning for the tree and recommend an alternative service if crown reduction is not appropriate.
How we can help
We have extensive experience of this type of pruning of trees in different locations – from smaller garden trees to larger trees in parks or public spaces, providing we have the relevant permission to do so. We will always make an assessment of the tree taking into account the situation and surroundings, identifying any risks and hazards.
With access to all the necessary specialist equipment, we work in accordance with the latest health and safety guidelines and operate in a safe, efficient and considerate manner.
We are tidy chaps and will always leave the area clear removing the chippings, twigs and fallen leaves, although wood can be left if requested.
Of course, a tree will always revert back to its original size so we recommend that you call us rather than carrying out any work yourself. We will be able to keep your tree in optimal health – trimming and shaping it, keeping it at a manageable height and width.
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