What is a crown reduction?
A crown reduction is the reduction in height and/or spread of a tree. The amount the tree is reduced by is dependent on the tree or tree owner’s requirements.
When might we need to carry out a crown reduction?
A crown reduction may be required for several reasons.
- Commonly, if a tree is too large for its surrounding environment, a crown reduction would be carried out in order to retain the tree in its location.
- Tree reduction may be required to reduce light loss or shading.
- A trees side lateral branches may be overhanging a property, causing damp or allowing birds to foul a certain area e.g. cars, driveways and patios.
- Tree reduction may even be required for aesthetic purposes.
A crown reduction may also be undertaken if the tree has suffered branch loss due to the tree having particularly over extended or heavy limbs/branches. The owner may wish to reduce the risk of any future branch loss.
Important information when reducing trees
There are obviously times when a tree may require a heavy reduction, but it is important to remember trees are living organisms that suffer from stress, and over-pruning can shock trees. It is highly recommended that the wounds left during a crown reduction should be as small as possible in order for the tree be able to repair itself without expending too much energy. Smaller wounds also reduce the risk of infection in the exposed tissues.
When pruning, the summer is considered the best time as the tree is most actively creating its own energy. Removing only a small percentage of the canopy allows the tree sufficient scope to replace the energy lost through photosynthesis. Trees can be reduced in winter; however, the issue is that the tree’s stored energy is then removed at a time of year where the tree is least active. In addition, the wounds generated when cutting the tree activates its natural defences, which are slower during dormant months. The tree would therefore be at greater risk for pathogens to take hold, which it would have been better able to deal with during more active months.
It is more important not to prune a tree when the energy flow is active, so not in the spring when the sap is rising and releasing its stored energy from the roots. Equally, early autumn would not be advised as this is when the tree is sending its current energy down to the roots for storage over the coming winter.
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