Aerial Access Tree Services: Arborists-Tree Surgery-tree shaping, removal and care

Alex Douvos Tree Surgeons

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Phone: 07541 204426
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Tree Surgery:  Tree Reduction and Thinning

 Tree Reduction

Tree Reduction (also called Crown Reduction) involves reducing the overall height and spread of the tree’s canopy.  The tree surgeon ascends the main stem and chooses a suitable growth point or lateral limb to form the new top and centermost point of the canopy’s new shape.  The tree is then sized down accordingly, leaving  foliage inside the desired shape to grow into a complete new canopy.

There are advantages and disadvantages to varying degrees of tree reduction.  A reduction of 20% in height usually leaves the tree as a slightly smaller version of itself, with lots of leafy tops forming the new canopy.  This is the best option for maintaining Heritage or much loved trees, as the aesthetic quality is changed as little as possible while achieving some reduction.  However, this method needs repeating more often as it takes most trees about 2 0r 3 years to grow back to the previous size after a 20% reduction.

A reduction of 30% leaves the tree with a more open canopy; several bald heading cuts on top leaving sparse or no foliage until the following year’s regeneration are common.  This method is more cost effective as 5, 6, or 7 years may go by before the tree grows into its original size (depending on species), but  a year or two may sometimes be required before the tree can grow a complete new leafy canopy.

A 40% or more reduction is recommended when a tree has an unsafe structure, has suffered major damage, or has outgrown a confined location.   This usually results in a stark, truncated tree with little or no foliage remaining until new sprouts form.  Regenerative sprouts from heading cuts have weak connections therefore it is recommended that these again be reduced in 3-4 years (depending on species).

Tree Thinning

Tree Thinning improves the aesthetic quality of the tree as well as helping to make it safer and stronger.  The tree surgeon ascends the tree and removes overlapping and crossing branches, epicormic growth (sprouts forming from the main trunk) and leaves all areas of the tree with a uniform density of foliage. This results in a canopy which allows more light and wind to pass through and reduces the weight of individual branches.

Below are some examples of tree reduction and tree thinning:

Magnolia Tree Reduction in Box, Wiltshire

Walnut Tree Reduction in Hilmarton, Wiltshire