From Planting to Dismantling... This just about sums up what we do.
Our core operation is Aboricultural operations, this involves visiting sites to carry out all apsetcs of work to trees, from single trees in private gardens, to larger properties and commercial sites involving numerous trees, municiple sites, parks and public spaces to woodlands, heritage sites including environmentally sensitive and protected sites, with all our services backed up by specialist equipment, training and staff.
From single trees to major contracts
We carry out all aspects of tree care from felling of simple trees to dismantling of large sometimes decaying trees, along with trees with limited access and sometimes trees that are unsafe ato climb, for this we use Telescopic cranes and tower platforms. Large scale municicple and term contracts we have the experience to deliver such works to the high standards, to budgets and within fixed time frames, we carry out major works for construction companies to clear sites, retain, prune and plant trees to enhance the overall site and maintain sites once the building has been completed.
Woodlands: woodland operations including felling, sensitive remaovals, re-establishment of ancient woodland sites, maintenance and planting as well as maintaining rides, fencing and vegitation, woodland and forestry management, thinning, planting and habitat management, recreating natural environments using materials as nature wood.
Consultancy work: Tree Hazard Assessments. One off and regular surveying of trees, including trees on roadsides and public places, Church and Council sites, Tree presevation and Conservation Area Checks and applications as well as Wildlife and Environmental issues, regular monitoring and safety concerns that a client may have in relation trees and risks that they pose. We also offer fixed terms programs to cover inspections and regular maintenance of trees and sites.
Established and veteran Trees: We carry out all aspects of tree surgery works to both enhance, maintain and sometimes help prolong the life of old established and prominent trees, (most operations are listed below). This could be major structural works to reduce the weight and size of the tree to prevent the failure or wind damage or where older trees succumbed to decay but have some life left in them, or it could be managing older trees to prolong life or retain important species that have stood for many years.
Heritage and conservation works: For protected trees, woodlands, sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), scheduled ancient monuments and other sensitive sites, as well as working within environmentally sensitive sites, close to wildlife and protected habitats and species, or creating new ones by working with the trees availabe to mimic and recreate natural scenarios. This could be prunes of trees to create natural damage or fracture cuts common in wind-blown trees, leaving and managing deadwood and dead trees for bio-diversity and environmental applications, and where possible leaving trees, branches and timber in situ as it would naturally fall and decay.
What's in a word?
Tree pruning may be necessary to maintain a tree in a safe condition, to remove dead branches, to promote growth, to regulate size and shape or to improve the quality of flowers, fruit or timber. Improper pruning can lead to trees becoming unsightly, diseased and/or potentially dangerous.
It is important that clients understand the basic terms commonly used to describe tree work operations so that they can ask for what they want or understand what the arboriculturist is recommending. Did you know, for example, that a '20% crown thin' will not reduce the height of the tree? Nor will a 'crown lift to 4m'.
The four main pruning options are shown below, and after that a glossary of other terms that you may find helpful. These are very general summaries and the Arboricultural Association can provide more detailed guidance by leaflets and other publications.
THE BRITISH STANDARDS MOST RELEVANT TO ARBORICULTURAL WORK ARE BS 3998-2010 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TREE WORK AND BS 5837 GUIDE FOR TREES IN RELATION TO CONSTRUCTION. WITH WHICH YOUR ARBORICULTURIST SHOULD BE FAMILIAR.
A word of caution: many trees are legally protected. Felling or even just pruning a protected tree without permission from your Local Planning Authority may be a criminal offence.
Always check for Tree Preservation Orders or Conservation Area restrictions with your local council's Tree Officer and/or Planning Department before carrying out any works.
Section 1: Main Pruning Definitions
1. Crown Thin
Crown thinning is the removal of a small portion of secondary and small live branches to produce a uniform density of foliage around an evenly spaced branch structure. It is usually confined to broad-leaved species.
Crown thinning includes crown cleaning and does not alter the overall size or shape of the tree. Common reasons for crown thinning are to allow more light to pass through the tree, reduce wind resistance or to lessen the weight of heavy branches.
2. Crown Lift (or Crown Raise)
Crown lifting is removal of the lowest branches and preparation of lower branches for future removal. Good practice dictates crown lifting should not normally include the removal of large branches growing directly from the trunk as this causes large wounds which may jeopardise the long term future of the tree. Common reasons for crown lifting are to bring more light and give access for traffic. In the U.K. common practice dictates clearance for vehicles is 5.2 metres (~17 feet), and for pedestrians 2.5m (~8 feet).
Any spore-bearing structure on a stalk (like a toadstool) or attached directly to the tree (a 'bracket' fungus). Note: some are harmful (cause disease - pathogenic), some are harmless (living on material already dead - saprophytic) and some are beneficial (symbiotic).
Lifting or Raising
See Section 1, Crown Lifting.
Lopping and Topping
Generally regarded as outdated terminology but still part of Planning Legislation. Lopping refers to the removal of large side branches (the making of vertical cuts) and topping refers to the removal of the head or crown of the tree (the making of horizontal cuts). Often used to describe crude, heavy-handed or inappropriate pruning.
Section 4; When to prune
As a general rule pruning should be avoided during the time of leaf/needle production (when the tree draws on its energy reserves) and at the time of leaf/needle fall (when the tree stores energy). Outside these periods most trees can be pruned at any time of the year, with a few exceptions:
Cherry, Plum, and related trees (Prunus species) should be pruned soon after flowering to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Maple, Birch, Beech and Walnut should be pruned in leaf or just after leaf fall and Magnolia in high summer to avoid 'bleeding' (exuding sap), which although not considered damaging can be unsightly.
"We had a tree hanging dangerously and contacted B&B tree specialists. They were out the next day and cut it down. Highly recommended!"
– by Stephen
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3. Crown Reduction
Crown reduction is used to reduce the height and/or spread of the crown of a tree by the removal of the ends of branches whilst maintaining the tree's natural shape as far as practicable
4. Crown Clean
The removal of dead, dying, diseased, broken, crowded, weakly attached and low-vigour branches as well as climbing plants (e.g. ivy).
Section 2: Other useful terms associated with tree work
Bracing is a term used to describe the strengthening or supporting of a tree by means of cables, rods, webbing or similar.
Branch bark ridge and collar
More noticeable on some species than others the branch bark ridges are shown as hatched lines on Diagram 2. Also more noticeable on some species than others is the branch collar, a swelling at the base of the branch. Neither the branch bark ridge nor collar should be cut.
Scar tissue laid down by the tree in order to cover and protect a wound, e.g. a pruning wound.
Removal of material from cavities and drainage of cavities achieved by drilling through living wood. Modern research indicates this should not normally be carried out.
Co-dominant stems See forked growth.
The designation given to an area by a Local Planning Authority (LPA) which requires, amongst other things, six weeks advance notice to be given to the LPA prior to certain tree works. In other words, most works to most trees within a Conservation Area must not be undertaken without notifying the LPA in writing six weeks in advance. Failure to do so may be a criminal offence.
The cutting down of a tree to within 300 mm (12 in) of the ground at regular intervals (typically on a one to five year rotation). Traditionally applied to certain species such as Hazel and Sweet Chestnut to provide stakes etc.
The section of the tree formed by its branches and usually starting above its stem.
Crown Lifting or Raising, Crown Reduction or Crown Thinning See Section 1.
'Dead, Dying, Dangerous or a Nuisance'
The catch-all phrase describing the conditions of trees to which protection afforded by Tree Preservation Orders or Conservation Areas does not apply. Legal definitions are the subject of much debate, often through the courts and professional advice is strongly recommended.
When a tree exhibits signs of a lack of vigour and progressing towards its death.
Tips of branches exhibit no signs of life. As decline progresses so more branches are affected and to a greater extent.
The inactive condition of a tree, usually during the coldest months of the year when there is little or no growth and leaves of deciduous trees have been shed.
Shortening branches by pruning off the end back to a lateral branch which is at least 1/3 of the diameter of the removed branch.
The application of a substance usually to the tree's rooting area (and occasionally to the tree) to promote tree growth or reverse or reduce decline.
The removal of a branch by cutting very close to the branch to be retained, cutting through the branch bark ridge and/or collar, thereby reducing the ability of the tree to callus.
Forked growth (Co-dominant stems)
The development of two or more leading shoots of roughly equal size and vigour competing with each other for dominance.
Pruning during the early years of a tree's growth to establish the desired form and/or correct defects or weaknesses.
Painting or Sealing
Covering pruning cuts or other wounds with a bitumen-type substance. Research has demonstrated that this is not beneficial and may in fact be harmful.
Disease inducing - usually referring to fungal fruiting bodies.
A frequently misunderstood term, and used in two different contexts. Traditionally and still commonly used this term describes the removal of all branches from the trunk.
Mature trees that have not been pollarded before are generally not suitable candidates for pollarding due to the large wounds that such treatment produces which may jeopardise the long term future of the tree. A less frequently used definition can mean the regular (annual or biannual) pruning back of small branches to the same point resulting in the formation of a 'pollard head. Pollarded trees usually require regular treatment of re-growth.
See Section 1, Crown Reduction
The pruning back of roots (similar to the pruning back of branches). This has the ability to affect tree stability so it is advisable to seek professional advice prior to attempting root pruning.
See Section 1, Crown Thinning.
See Lopping and Topping.
Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
Statutory protection applied to a tree or trees meaning that most works to most trees covered by a TPO must not be undertaken without the prior written consent of the LPA. Failure to do so may be a criminal offence.
Section 3: The importance of the pruning cut
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 angle and its position relative to the retained parts of the tree. As a general rule branches should be removed at their point of attachment or shortened to a lateral which is at least 1/3 of the diameter of the removed branch. Examples of correct pruning cuts are shown as follows.
Showing sequence of removal to avoid damage to the retained parts
Diagram 2 - examples of correct pruning cuts. Drawings courtesy European Arboricultural Council