Tree pruning is an essential maintenance task that must be carried out in order to preserve the aesthetics and longevity of your trees. By failing to address this important task, you'll find that trees can quickly become overgrown and misshaped whilst also detrimentally affecting their long term health.
Formative pruning is specifically designed to help young trees flourish by encouraging a healthy shape and stable structure. At Foreman's Tree Specialists, we have years of experience working across the entire arboricultural spectrum and will be able to advise the most appropriate course of action based on the age and species of the tree.
Crown thinning is an integral part of what we do and is highly recommended for two reasons. The first is to lessen the foliage density in order to allow greater volumes of light to pass through into the rest of the garden and provide undergrowth with the light and water needed to survive.
The second is to increase air and light circulation within the tree itself, evenly removing branches to help prevent disease without affecting its structural integrity or beauty.
Crown Reduction and Re-Shaping
Unlike crown thinning which aims to reduce the thickness of the canopy, crown reduction instead focuses on limiting the size of the canopy. Also known as tree shaping, crown reduction can help to reduce the size of an overgrown tree, increase its structural balance and improve its durability under unfavourable weather conditions.
We understand how important it is for the tree to retain its aesthetics which is why we'll always strive to keep the natural shape of the tree in place. We will of course consult with you every step of the way to ensure that the final outcome is exactly what you're after.
Keeping your trees free from dead, rotting wood is paramount to their long term health. Otherwise known as crown cleansing, this extra is included free of charge with all of our crown thinning and tree shaping services. Not only will it improve the longevity of your tree, but it will also help to reduce the impact that dead and dying branches can have on your property during poor weather conditions.
Crown lifting is an excellent technique for those wanting to remove lower hanging branches and therefore raise the overall height of the crown. As well as helping to create additional visual space at eye level, it can also create a more open passage for pedestrians and vehicles.
Foremans Tree Specialist experienced arborists have extensive knowledge in tree pruning techniques and always carry out work adhering to the British Standard BS3998: 2010 'Tree Work – Recommendations'. We take great pride in our work and you can see some examples of our tree pruning projects across our social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram.
If you're interested in any of our tree pruning services, contact us today so we can discuss your project and arrange a free quotation.
When is the best time to prune a tree?
Ask any educated and experienced tree surgeon in about the best time to prune a tree, and they will tell you that winter is the best time. If you hire someone who doesn't know how to prune a tree correctly or why winter pruning in West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire is so essential, you could severely jeopardise the long-term health of your trees. Poorly executed or timed pruning can cause issues with growth, fruitfulness, general health and its ability to survive through the long and harsh winter months.
As your helpful, local Horsham based tree surgeons we've more than happy to help give you an insight into the best pruning practices. Grab some coffee and read through the end of this article because we're going to show you how easy it is to prune your trees in winter and why this season is undeniably the best for maintaining the health of your beloved trees.
Why is Winter Pruning so Important?
When we talk about the best time to prune a tree, winter is undeniably the best time as it helps to manage the size, shape and health of your trees – no matter what species of tree it is.
If that's not enough to understand why winter is the best season, then consider this:
Since many trees have shed most of their leaves during winter, a lot easier to pinpoint any damaged or diseased limbs and identify weakened branches that may not hold up to strong, stormy winds.
You can also quickly identify where to start pruning. When you prune without first correctly identifying the right area, you may inadvertently open up a large wound which this can be a breeding ground for insects and infectious diseases to infiltrate the tree.
However, if you do this in the winter season, there's a much lower chance of this happening, making it much easier to identify pruning sites and doing it in a safe and controlled manner.
With that said, we would strongly advise that you hire a professional who is familiar with tree pruning in Horsham, West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire rather than attempting to do it on your own on a 'trial and error' basis.
Common reasons why Winter Tree Pruning works best
Here are four key reasons why winter is the best time to prune a tree:
More extensive and fuller fruit tree yield
If you do a quick search on pruning tips, or more specifically, fruit tree pruning tips, you'll discover that fruit trees and bushes demand careful pruning since each one has a unique requirement and stands to benefit from pruning.
For instance, when it comes to apple trees, pruning is needed to increase fruiting spurs. For blackcurrants, the removal of lighter ageing stems helps the plants redirect its energy on the younger stems, and this encourages greater crops of fruit.
Winter pruning to thin out the number of branches also lets in more air and light, which encourages better growth in all fruit trees and branches.
Healthier root systems
A strong foundation is required when your goal is to establish healthy trees and plants. Therefore, it's of vital importance you focus on the root system in the early years. The amount of energy that a tree or plant can direct towards growth is relatively limited, so if you want to allow your root systems to expand optimally, then you must prune the new plants and trees in the winter season.
** please note that this pruning isn't just limited to branches, and also applies to any additional shoots which may pop up at the base of the tree/plant.
Winters can work to the advantage of trees in the sense that there are far fewer illnesses and insects that they must endure. Not just that, but the effects are also slower, which means this is an opportune time to spot any potential damage caused by illnesses and insects.
You must remove dying, dead or diseased branches immediately to stop infections dead in their tracks, and to encourage new growth.
It also helps to remove any crossing branches – when branches rub up against each other wounds can open up, which makes them more susceptible to infections and infestations.
Better chance of survival
Winds are often at their strongest in winters, and if your trees' canopy is denser than usual, they might act as a sail. It's a common sight to see overly thick trees in the winter season getting pulled over after strong, gusty winds – putting unnecessary strain on the trees' structure, making them more likely to collapse altogether.
When you hire the expertise of professional tree surgeons in West Sussex, you can see for yourself how thinning the canopies of your tree allows a fair amount of airflow through the branches, thus, encouraging better inner branch growth. Growth is also encouraged due to the increase in sunlight they receive. Plus, you will also be reducing the likelihood of your tree collapsing by a wide margin, as they will no longer be a victim of the horizontal stresses which most trees are subjected to because of stormy and robust winter winds.
Again, it is critical to consult a tree pruning West Sussex expert who has been doing this kind of tree pruning and maintenance work for years. In doing so, you will better understand the best practices for pruning each tree, which can significantly vary according to its size, age and species, as well as several other vital factors.
A capable and qualified tree surgeon in Sussex should always have the right tree pruning tools and equipment and will be familiar with the best practices as well as methods necessary for minimising the damage improper pruning does to a tree's health.
Is my tree dead in winter?
This is often a common question on the minds of those who are looking for advice on general pruning tips, fruit tree pruning tips or when the best time to prune a tree is.
Here's how you can tell if your tree is not healthy in winter:
Trees are in a continuous process of fighting pests, infections, diseases and pathogens. However, owing to how ancient they are, they have encompassed a rather extraordinary ability to withstand highly damaging and infectious agents which are almost always present in their environment. With that said, all trees will eventually die one day, no matter how diligently you look after them.
Throughout spring, summer and almost the entire autumn season, trees bloom fully, and you don't have to be a tree or horticulture expert to know that a lovely and lush green colour means your tree is alive and well. However in the dormant season – that is, when deciduous trees shed leaves – it can be hard to determine if your tree is dead. In fact, chances are it is only dormant.
Now, if you're still not sure whether your tree is alive or not, here's how you can check its health:
Examine the buds
An excellent way to check if your tree is dormant is by inspecting the buds – they should be visible throughout the crown. If you observe the end of each branch, you should see small leaf buds on the verge of popping in the upcoming spring season. Buds come in many colours, so don't worry if they look a bit dark. Ash trees, for example, have relatively dark buds; Sycamore trees have bright green buds; and, Norway maple trees typically have brownish-reddish buds.
On the other hand, if your tree is indeed dying, already dead or struggling to remain healthy, then you will see that the branches will not have as many buds as they usually do. And the ones that are there will be either dry or not 'well established'. To confirm this, touch the buds, and chances are they will fall off or crumble in your fingers. However, to be sure that your tree is dead, inspect at least a few branches.
The scratch test
Here, the objective is to check for green cambium – often referred to as 'the scratch test' by tree surgeons in Horsham, West Sussex, Surrey and throughout the arboricultural industry.
You'll need a nail or pocket knife to scratch just below a branch's bark. Grab hold of any twig or branch and remove a small strip so that the live part of the tree, the cambium, is exposed.
A dormant tree will have its tissue green and moist just below the bark. If your tree is struggling to survive or dying, the tissue will be dark and dry below the bark.
Check the bark
Just like a tree's buds, the bark can also give away telltale signs about your tree's health in the winter months.
As trees become of age, the bark can say a lot about its health. Healthy trees, for instance, shed and replace their barks at regular intervals. But an unhealthy tree will generally behave poorly at regenerating new bark and growth.
An excellent way to tell is by checking the bark for any cracks and or fungal brackets. If the bark is peeling from the cambium and exposing its dry heartwood, then chances are you will see cracks throughout the trunk.
For more winter pruning tips and other useful information, or to call upon the services of our winter pruning West Sussex tree surgeons, contact us today, and we'll be more than happy to help.