Many green-fingered gardeners or weekend horticulturists may question whether they need to employ the services of a tree surgeon – after all, there’s little that can’t be done these days with access to the right equipment and Google/YouTube. However, the fact is that not only is the equipment hazardous for the untrained individual to use, but without the proper arboreal know-how it is possible to do more harm than good in your garden. Amateur tree surgery attempts and poor pruning practices can have unsightly and potentially dangerous consequences, so it’s important to consider carefully whether you have the appropriate knowledge before you decide to go DIY with your tree care.
Here are just a few examples of the numerous specialist services your highly trained tree surgeon could provide you with:
- Crown reduction and shaping
When a tree has begun to encroach on its surroundings and is in danger of coming into contact with things such as telephone wires it makes sense to halt this growth. Reducing the size of the crown of the tree by removing selected branches reduces stress on its limbs and allows light to penetrate to inner branches, as well as increasing water uptake leading to an overall increase in tree health.
- Crown thinning and lifting
While a thick crown of branches and leaves may give the impression of a healthy tree there are circumstances when this can be a tree’s downfall. The ‘sail effect’ is when a strong wind pushing against the tree causes excessive stresses on limbs or trunk and risks breakage. Crown thinning, the removal of smaller tertiary branches leaving a more uniform branch structure, can reduce this effect, allowing wind to pass through the tree with less risk of damage. Crown lifting refers to the removal of some of a tree’s lower branches, allowing sunlight penetration and access to areas close to the base of the tree. This should only be done by a skilled professional as the haphazard removal of larger branches attached to the trunk can result in damage and the eventual demise of the tree.
When most people think of tree surgery, they probably have an image of a man with a chainsaw and a tree being felled. However, this is only done when absolutely necessary. In many cases, the tree may have become infected or infested and must be felled in order to preserve the health of surrounding trees. Sometimes it is deemed necessary to fell a tree for the safety of surrounding property or people, and in these circumstances it is double important to apply a healthy dollop of care and consideration when felling the tree. Tree felling is always a hazardous task, so do take extreme care or call in a professional.
Essentially, pollarding is a pruning practice which, due to its regularity and method, inhibits the growth of a tree in order to limit its height and restrict it from extending up and out too far from the space it had been allocated. This can sometimes be to reduce a its shadow across gardens and homes, but more often than not it’s to keep the tree from growing too close to telephone wires and overhead cables. Not all trees and shrubs can be pollarded, but a few that can include ash, oak, elm and mulberry. For most trees pollarding is carried out in January to March, but it makes sense to check with your friendly neighbourhood tree surgeon before you attempt pollarding yourself.
- Stump grinding
When a tree stump is left behind after felling or a natural fall it can lead to a whole host of problems, including ‘suckering’ (where new shoots grow from the remnants of the trunk) and fungus growth. Stump grinders remove the remaining root by grinding it down into sawdust. While you can hire this equipment yourself it should be noted that this is dangerous work and the process can be quite laborious; therefore, if you do not have prior experience, do consider calling in a skilled tree-surgeon as it may be far less costly in the long run.
If you wish to maintain the trees in your garden so they live long, healthy lives to give you the shade you need, to house the birds and squirrels that entertain your children and delight us all, that provide limbs for lashing swings to and branches for tree houses, that connect us to nature, then you need to ensure they get the best care. This will sometimes be when they are injured or infested, but more often than not it’s to keep an eye on their health and their growth.
Much of this you may be able to do yourself should you wish to, but if you would like some additional guidance, or if you would like to see what a tree surgeon can really do for the aesthetics and wellbeing of your leafy friends, call in an expert.
Call us on 0208 292 8992. We’re always happy to pop round or to help with a little advice.