Prior to undertaking any tree work, it is essential to ascertain whether the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or Conservation Area legislation. This information can be quickly found out from your local council, or we can do this on your behalf.
Dead, dying or dangerous trees can, in theory, be tackled without permission but the penalties for breaching the legislation, inadvertently or not, can be severe so it’s always wise to check first.
Reasons for tree pruning
The pruning of healthy trees should generally be avoided if possible but where there are conflicts with people or property a tree may require some remedial pruning work.
The main reasons for pruning garden or ornamental trees are for safety, tree health, general maintenance or to encourage the production of fruit on trees such as Apples or Pears. In addition, human activities can affect the growth or structural integrity of trees which can have serious implications for tree health and public safety. Tree pruning operations may help to resolve some of these concerns.
Tree pruning for safety
Pruning trees for safety normally involves the removal of dead, damaged or diseased branches that could fall and cause injury to people or damage to property. Also, large limbs that have become too heavy are sometimes liable to snap off unexpectedly, at any time of the year, with carefully considered and well executed pruning work this risk can be significantly reduced.
Trees sometimes interfere with lines of sight on streets or driveways or may block security lights or CCTV, they may be rubbing against phone and power lines, again these issues can be resolved with careful pruning.
Another very common reason for pruning is to reduce a tree’s wind resistance or “sail effect”. By careful branch selection and removal, a tree can be pruned in a way that allows wind to pass through, or around, the crown more easily. As a result the tree is far less likely to blow over in strong winds and it’s safe life can be prolonged.
Tree pruning for tree health
In order to retain a tree in a healthy condition it may be necessary to remove diseased branches or those colonised by decay fungi. The affected wood is carefully identified and removed in an attempt to prevent the disease, or decay, advancing into the healthy tree.
Tree pruning for general maintenance
General maintenance is the most common reason for pruning urban trees. Trees situated along roadsides or in domestic gardens often outgrow their position and begin to impact on their man made surroundings. This can either be direct interference, such as a long branch rubbing against a roof or indirect interference such as a large tree that blocks out the sunlight into a garden.
In situations like these a tree may require remedial pruning work such as a crown reduction, crown lift or selective branch removal and although these operations aren’t necessarily good for the tree, they are a compromise, and mean the tree is less of a nuisance and can be retained.
Tree pruning for fruit
If you have fruit trees in your garden such as Apples or Pears and your primary reason for keeping them is for the production of fruit then annual winter pruning is required. The crown of the tree needs to be free of congestion and thinned out to allow sunlight to penetrate (this helps produce healthier and more abundant flowers) and also to allow the free movement of air throughout the crown which can help to reduce the risk of airborne disease.
Stone fruit trees such as Cherry, Plum and Apricot may also require annual pruning but this should be left until the summer months to avoid the spread of Silver Leaf Disease. Silver Leaf is a fungal disease that enters the tree through pruning cuts and wounds. It is best to leave pruning until the summer when there are fewer spores around and pruning wounds, the main point of entry for the spores, heal more quickly.