Whenever we meet people and explain that we are tree surgeons the reply is often met by confused faces. You can tell that something to the effect of “oh you cut down trees for a living” has rushed into their head and they are not far wrong. This is the overly simplistic explanation of what we do. This profession is called tree ‘surgery’ for a reason and it is because our skillset and tasks on a day to day basis are diverse and vary.
These people that are struck by the answer probably imagine us with a chainsaw or an axe. Maybe even some of them think we stand at the bottom, hack away a bit and the tree just topples down and we hope for the best! If only. The process of tree felling is far more complex than simply hacking away with an axe as we hope most of you would understand and already deduce. As your tree surgeon in London, we are going to write an article a week for the coming ways about our service and how we can help you.
Although we do take care of plenty of jobs other than felling trees (or ‘chopping’ them down!), this is certainly still a major part of our role. Trees get old and need to go. Space needs to be cleared. Trees get in the way of buildings of become dangerous. This is the nature of nature… It does not care about us or what we are doing – trees will simply grow!
Knowing when to fell a tree and when to prune it is what separates the cowboys from the surgeons that know what they’re doing. For example, an old tree can be really dangerous as more susceptible to falling over. Obviously in a built up area this could cause loads of damages. The damage could be to people, cars, property and so on. With younger trees, pruning, lifting and other measures become more suitable as the integrity of the branches and trunk become stronger and more stable.
What is crown lifting?
Branches can be a real problem. Specifically low branches. The branch can hang into the road, interfere with telephone lines or power lines, block views and so on. The process involved with sorting out these branches is called crown lifting. Clearly, crown lifting does well to get rid of branches that are causing a problem. On top of that they work to maintain the structure and beauty of a tree. If you simply reduce the canopy of a tree, more overall damage occurs and therefore crown lifting becomes a more favourable solution to decrease the size of a tree.
Common problems that can occur
The most common problem that other surgeons also no doubt face is the risk of decay. Essentially, if the tree is pruned (well, over pruned), decay can start to set into the tree. As long as the decay is not set so internally into the tree, rot can be cut away and recovered. If rot is setting into the tree it could be a sign of other damages to the tree’s integrity. We would recommend that you do your pruning over time as rot and damage is more likely to occur if you constantly crown lift rather than doing it periodically.
Another problem that people think we are joking about is sun burn! Positioning the tree in such a way that the tree can be protected by its leaves during the hot months of the year is important. Also, over pruning can make your tree grow abnormally fast.
How do I actually crown lift a tree?
Your main concern and thing to avoid is the tree becoming too top heavy – you don’t want your trunk to have excess weight that it is not used to. As a general rule you should take 50% from the bottom two thirds of the tree. Make sure to keep some of the major branches though to avoid getting a sunburnt trunk.
Another approach you can take is taking away most of the large branches while maintaining all of the small branches. You get rid of the obtrusive branches while the small branches still provide the tree with the protection it deserves. Then the small branches can be removed at a later time and you do not have the problems that removing excessive amounts of branches can cause to your tree.
Look out for lower branches with large diameters
lower branches with larger on average diameters are more likely to cause decay throughout the trunk of your tree if completely removed. A good choice with these types of branches is to partially remove them. It is very much a case by case depending on the tree at hand. The clever aspect of this is that the thicker branch will then grow slower if partially removed. This allows the trunk to become thicker relatively quicker than the branches. From there the branches can be pruned just like the others.
As you can tell tree surgery is not always as simple as putting an axe to the bottom of a tree. This article is only brief and touched on just a few things to think about when crown lifting. We provide a multitude of services related to trees, gardens, shrubs, hedges and more.
With every job, your surgeon is going to have to be excellent in making the best decision. Much like any profession you have a number of options when dealing with a tree. If you have an excellent surgeon, they will know the options afforded to them and which they should go for. We love being in this profession keeping our landscapes obstruction free, beautiful and well-kept. Just call us if you need any services and we can arrange a free quotation for the work provided.
Thank you very much for reading!
Also published on Medium.