Essential Types of Tree Pruning Techniques

A tree surgeon pruning a Betula Pendula and silver birch tree

Various Types of Tree Pruning

Tree pruning is an essential aspect of tree care that involves the selective removal of branches or parts of a tree. It helps to enhance their natural shape, promote growth, and prevent the risk of falling branches.

However, pruning must be done correctly and at the right time to ensure the best results and minimise any potential harm to the tree. There are various types of tree pruning techniques that arborists use depending on the specific needs of the tree and the desired outcome.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the various types of tree pruning techniques, their purposes and their benefits.

So, let’s dive in.

Tree surgeon pruning and cutting trees back

If you need help pruning your tree, get in touch with the experts at Evolution Tree Surgery. We’re on hand to help with all aspects of tree pruning, crown reduction, crown lifting, and crown thinning in Newbury, Berkshire and the surrounding areas.

If you’d like a free quote, call us at 07917 195806 or complete our online enquiry form.

7 Types of Tree Pruning

1. Crown Thinning: Enhancing Light and Reducing Wind Resistance

Crown thinning is a pruning technique that involves the selective removal of branches within the crown of a tree.

Crown thinning aims to improve light penetration and reduce wind resistance. By removing a portion of smaller branches, usually at the outer crown, crown thinning allows for a more uniform density of foliage.

This technique can benefit both the tree and its surrounding environment. Increased light penetration promotes healthy leaf growth and improves overall tree vitality. Reduced wind resistance helps to prevent branch breakage and increase the stability of the tree.

During crown thinning, it is essential to maintain the overall size and shape of the tree. The removal of branches should be systematic, ensuring that it does not exceed the recommended percentage and does not compromise the health of the tree. Crown thinning is particularly beneficial for broad-leaved tree species that thrive in well-lit environments.

2. Crown Lifting: Improving Clearance Underneath the Tree

Crown lifting is a pruning technique that involves the removal of the lower branches of a tree to increase clearance underneath the tree. The purpose of crown lifting is to create space and improve access below the tree canopy.

By raising the crown, the lower branches are removed or shortened, allowing for better visibility, safer pedestrian passage, and easier maintenance of the area surrounding the tree.

Crown lifting should be carried out with caution, especially on older and mature trees. It is important to avoid the removal of large branches growing directly from the trunk, as this can cause significant wounds and potential decay.

The goal of crown lifting is to maintain the main framework of the crown while enhancing the clearance underneath. The live crown height should be reduced by less than 15% and the overall crown should retain at least two-thirds of the total height of the tree.

3. Crown Reduction: Decreasing the Size of the Tree’s Canopy

Crown reduction is a pruning technique that involves the reduction in height and/or spread of the crown, which is the foliage-bearing portion of the tree.

The purpose of crown reduction is to decrease the size of the tree’s canopy, making it more suitable for its immediate environment. This technique can help to reduce mechanical stress on individual branches or the entire tree, mitigate the effects of shading and light loss, and make the tree more resistant to wind damage.

During crown reduction, it is crucial to retain the main framework of the crown and a significant proportion of the leaf-bearing structure. The final result should be a smaller outline of the crown, maintaining the natural shape of the tree.

Crown reduction cuts should be as small as possible, generally not exceeding 100mm in diameter. Careful consideration should be given to the measurements and the desired finished result to ensure the long-term health and aesthetic appeal of the tree.

4. Deadwooding: Removing Dead or Diseased Branches

Deadwooding is a pruning technique that involves the removal of dead or diseased branches from a tree. Dead branches can pose a significant risk to property and people as they become weak and prone to falling.

Removing deadwood not only enhances the overall appearance of the tree but also improves its health and safety. Deadwooding helps to prevent the spread of diseases and pests, reduces the risk of branch failure, and promotes the growth of new healthy branches.

During deadwooding, it is important to remove the dead or diseased branches carefully and without causing further damage to the tree. Pruning cuts should be made just outside the branch bark ridge, the natural ridge that forms where a branch meets the trunk.

5. Pollarding: Promoting a Dense Head of Foliage

Pollarding is a pruning technique that involves the removal of the upper branches of a young tree, usually at a prescribed height. The purpose of pollarding is to promote the growth of a dense head of foliage and maintain the tree at a smaller size.

This technique is commonly used for certain tree species, such as willows and poplars, to provide a sustainable source of wood for various purposes.

Pollarding should be done on a cyclical basis, with regular pruning to maintain the desired form and size of the tree. It is important to note that pollarding is not suitable for all tree species and should only be performed by experienced arborists. The proper timing and technique are crucial to prevent damage to the tree and ensure its long-term health and vitality.

Pollarding a tree

6. Formative Pruning: Shaping Young Trees for Future Growth

Formative pruning is a pruning technique that involves the selective pruning of young trees to shape their growth and enhance their future structure. This technique is particularly important for establishing the desired form and correcting any defects or weaknesses that may impact the tree’s structure in later years.

During formative pruning, attention is given to the tree’s main branches, ensuring balanced and even growth. By guiding the growth of young trees, formative pruning helps to develop a strong and well-structured tree.

This technique can also help to prevent future issues, such as weak branch attachments and overcrowding. Formative pruning should be done with care and precision, as it lays the foundation for the tree’s future growth and development.

7. Restoration Pruning: Reviving Neglected Trees

Restoration pruning is a pruning technique that aims to revive neglected or poorly maintained trees. This technique involves the selective pruning of dead, damaged, and diseased branches to improve the overall health and vitality of the tree.

Restoration pruning is typically carried out in multiple stages over several years, depending on the severity of the tree’s neglect.

The goal is to gradually remove the dead and unhealthy branches, allowing the tree to redirect its resources towards new growth and regeneration. Restoration pruning can help to rejuvenate neglected trees, enhance their appearance, and extend their lifespan.

Best Seasons for Tree Pruning

Different seasons have different effects on tree growth, and pruning at the appropriate time can maximise the benefits of the pruning process. The best time for tree pruning varies depending on the tree species and the desired outcome.

Here is a guide to the best seasons for pruning common tree species:

Tree SpeciesBest Pruning Season
Deciduous TreesLate winter/early spring before new growth begins.
Evergreen TreesLate winter/early spring before new growth begins.
Flowering TreesAfter flowering to avoid removing flower buds.
Fruit TreesLate winter/early spring before new growth begins.
ConifersLate winter/early spring before new growth begins.

Pruning during the dormant season when the tree is not actively growing allows for optimal wound healing and reduces the risk of disease transmission.

However, it is important to note that certain trees, such as flowering trees, should be pruned immediately after flowering to avoid removing flower buds and impacting future bloom.

Tree Pruning & Crown Reduction Newbury, Berkshire

Signs Your Tree Needs Pruning

Several signs indicate a tree needs pruning including:

  1. Overgrown branches that obstruct views, paths, or structures.
  2. Dead or diseased branches that pose a safety risk.
  3. Branches that cross and rub against each other, causing damage.
  4. Branches that are growing too close to power lines or buildings.
  5. Signs of decline, such as reduced leaf size, color, or density.
  6. Dieback of branch tips, indicating poor health or disease.
  7. Signs of pests or diseases, such as insect infestation or fungal growth.

If you notice any of these signs, consult with a professional tree surgeon who can assess the tree’s condition and recommend the appropriate pruning techniques.

Need Help Pruning Your Tree?

From crown thinning to formative pruning, each method serves a unique purpose in enhancing tree growth and longevity. Understanding the timing of pruning and using the right tools with safety precautions is crucial for successful tree care. Avoid common mistakes like over-pruning to ensure optimal tree health.

By following best practices and seeking professional help when needed, you can promote the vitality and beauty of your trees for years to come.

At Evolution Tree Surgery, we offer tree pruning for residential and commercial customers in Newbury and the surrounding areas in Berkshire.

For a FREE tree pruning quote, call Evolution Tree Surgery in Newbury at 07917 195806 .

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to prune trees in Newbury, Berkshire?

The best time to prune trees in Newbury, Berkshire is during the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning during this time allows for optimal wound healing and reduces the risk of disease transmission.

Can I prune my tree or should I hire a professional arborist?

While minor pruning tasks can be done by homeowners, it is recommended to hire a professional tree surgeon for complex or large-scale pruning jobs. Professional tree surgeons have the expertise, tools, and experience to ensure the safety and health of the tree.

What are the different types of pruning?

The different types of pruning include maintenance pruning, which involves removing dead or diseased branches and shaping pruning, which aims to enhance the tree’s aesthetic appeal. Additionally, there’s crown reduction pruning to reduce the overall size, and thinning pruning to improve light and air penetration within the tree’s canopy.

What is pollarding a tree?

Pollarding is a pruning technique that involves cutting back the upper branches of a tree to promote a dense head of foliage and branches. This method is often used to control the size of the tree, encourage new growth, and maintain a specific shape. It is commonly practised on trees like willows and poplars.

What is the best tree pruning method?

The best tree pruning method depends on the specific goals and needs of the tree. Common methods include maintenance pruning to remove dead or diseased branches, crown reduction pruning to reduce the overall size, and thinning pruning to improve light and air penetration within the tree’s canopy. Each method serves different purposes and should be chosen based on the tree’s requirements.

What are the different ways to trim trees?

The different ways to trim trees include crown thinning to reduce density, crown raising to remove lower branches, crown reduction to decrease the overall size, and crown cleaning to remove dead or diseased branches. Additionally, directional pruning can be used to train branches away from structures or to shape the tree for a specific purpose.

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If you require the services of a qualified tree surgeon then simply give us a call. Whether you’re looking for a FREE consultation, or have a particular query, our qualified tree surgeons can help you.

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