DCP 2696

This tree is just out of control. It’s blocking my view and it should be cut right back.

We hear opinions like this quite a lot. And sadly we see frequent examples of poor pruning that are unsightly and harmful both to the tree itself and to the ecosystem that it forms a part of.

While trees do need to be pruned from time to time for different reasons and can outgrow their location, pruning is often unnecessary and a waste of money and resources, sometimes carried out on the advice of disreputable contractors who stand to gain financially from the tree work.

Indiscriminate topping is generally detrimental as it removes the natural apical dominance and results in a number of competing shoots that try to develop to form the new leader.  These may be weakly attached and will need to be cut back again or be thinned to prevent problems.

Pollarding (cyclical cutting back to established pollard heads) is a traditional and effective way to manage the size of trees but is often misunderstood and executed badly. If the pollard heads are removed the tree will lose energy and there will be a greater risk of decay entering the branches or main stem.

We often see branches being randomly cut back or removed flush with the main stem in such a way that encourages decay to enter and gain a hold, leading to the premature demise of many trees.

A light touch

If trees need to be pruned to achieve a specific result, for example to allow more sunlight into a garden, this can often be done by some crown lifting or thinning without compromising the appearance or upsetting the physiological balance of the tree. The aim would be to reduce the density of the canopy while retaining the overall spread.

Of course sometimes a tree has simply outgrown its location and the best option is then to remove it and replace it with a more suitable species that will not be resented. This is not solely a size issue: large trees can, with appropriate pruning, work in relatively close proximity to buildings.

Seems like the old adage ‘less is more’ applies here.  If you need any advice as to how best to manage your trees then we are always here to help. Or if you are ready to carry out some appropriate tree work, the Arboricultural Association offers excellent advice for how to choose an arborist in its downloadable leaflet http://www.trees.org.uk/c.793499/aa/documents/aa_pubs_Choosing-Your-Arborist-lr.pdf