Tree crown reduction is the process of removing branch tips, pruning back to a growth point further down the branch.
This may be carried out to remove dead, diseased and damaged branches, or simply to reduce the overall size of the tree.
Crown reductions can also be considered when the root system of a large maturing tree has substantial decay making it potentially hazardous However, although it can help minimise the ‘sail’ effect, reducing the crown of a tree should not be used to reduce the chances of the tree blowing over in a storm. In this instance, crown thinning is recommended and professional advice from a trained Arboriculturalist, such as those at PJC Consultancy, should be sought to ensure suitable measures are taken to mitigate the hazard presented by a defective tree whilst maximising retention.
There can be a limit to the extent the crown of an individual tree may be able to be reduced. This is dependant on the habit of the particular tree species and its location. These as well as other factors can influence the amount of growth points that may be available when pruning. Removal of all foliage during crown reduction is not good practice as this can shock the tree into growing back faster and from additional points along branches creating future defects. Crown reductions should be specified by a trained Arboriculturalist and not exceed reasonable amounts, so conforming to BS3998:2010
The optimum time of year to carry out crown reductions to deciduous broadleaved trees is in their dormant season, (winter). However depending on the time of year or other limiting factors reducing trees while they are in full leaf may be necessary, this does not always harm the tree but should, as a rule, be avoided if possible.
Generally speaking the worst time of year to prune and reduce is spring as the sap is rising and can ‘bleed’ from the tree. This can cause significant disruption to the tree. It is important to understand there are exceptions to these rules and to seek professional advice, please contact PJC Consultancy, as there may be a combination of different tree surgery activities that could be applied to your specific situation.