Marshalls Tree Surgeons

The reasons for pruning trees are threefold.

  1. To maintain health and vigour.
  2. To make a tree safe for its environment.
  3. To try and improve or maintain the aesthetic appearance of the tree.

We can achieve all three by following four basic pruning methods.

Crown thinning

Primarily used for hardwoods, crown thinning involves the removal of secondary branches to increase light and airflow through the canopy and aid canopy shape and form. Dead and diseased wood can also be removed. No more than 25% of the crown should be removed in any one prune. Successive pruning may be needed in future seasons.

Crown raising

Involves the removal of branches from the lower canopy, usually for the purpose of pedestrian, vehicle or building clearance. Can also enhance the visual aspect of the tree.

Crown Reduction

The method whereby the canopy is reduced in size. Drop crotch cutting is the method employed to achieve this and it is vital that these cuts are employed in this procedure in order to achieve a natural looking form. Random cuts or "topping" should not be used as they will have a detrimental effect on the health and vigour of the tree as well as looking extremely unsightly. If a tree is too large for its situation it is worth considering removal and replanting a more appropriate specimen.


A severe pruning method when employed on more mature trees, it involves cutting limbs back almost to the main stem. Used on younger trees to achieve a more ornamental or rounded canopy form. Seasonal pruning is then required and the years growth pruned to just above the previous years cut.

When pruning any tree, regardless of the method employed, it is vital that the correct pruning cuts are used. Marshalls pruning work is carried out in line with the guidelines contained within BS3998.