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Tree Surgery Terms: Explained

Your Ultimate Guide to Tree Terminology

Unless you are a keen gardener or a horticulture professional, some of the terminology we use can be difficult to decipher. Our tree surgeons in Essex will always be happy to answer your questions but here is our handy guide to some of our most used phrases.

  • Crown – The crown of a tree is the foliage bearing part of the tree, this is usually what needs the most maintenance, so you will see the word crown crop up a lot in the next few phrases!
  • Crown reduction – A crown reduction is a way of reducing the size of a tree’s crown without reducing the height. This is a good way to maintain a tree and allow more light to flow in and help your tree become less invasive if it is growing near other structures. It involves cutting back the tree to its lateral branches. It is much healthier for the tree rather than ‘topping off’ and simply cutting off the top of the tree which leaves the trunk vulnerable and exposed.
  • Crown lift – A crown lift on the other hand is the removal of the lower branches back to the main trunk of the tree or the length of the lowest branches. This increases the height of the main crown line, which is ideal if people need to be able to walk underneath the tree or it is near or over things like a bench or summer house.
  • Clean Out Crown – This is a way of giving a tree a bit of a tidy up by removing dead, dying and broken branches – not only does this help make the tree look better and stop the damage spreading but it is also essential for safety if there is the risk of a branch falling in extreme weather or freak accident.
  • Pollard/Pollarding – This is the removing of growth back to the main trunk or trunk knuckles; this is a way to help control growth and keep a tree at a determined height. Ideal if you need or want to keep your tree manageable.
  • Formative prune – A young tree may require some small tree pruning to help it maintain its optimum initial branch structure and crown balance, so it can grow into a spectacular tree!
  • Trimming/Shearing – This one you are probably familiar with, but trimming, shearing and pruning helps to keep hedges, bushes and trees looking neat and tidy and involves flattering or rounding off the growth to a uniform length.
  • Adventitious Growth – This is when there is new growth occurring from a dormant or new branches direct from the branches, steams or trunk.
  • Felling – Tree felling is the process of removing a tree, cutting it down to leave a stump. Depending on the size and width of the tree this may be in one cut or involve dismantling the tree is sections. It can be very dangerous and should always be done by a professional tree surgeon.
  • Stump Grinding – After felling, the stump of a tree is left behind along with its roots. A stump grinder is a piece of machinery that can grind down the stump and roots into a mulch of sawdust which can be used to fill the remaining hole or can be used as mulch elsewhere in the garden. It is a heavy and dangerous piece of machinery so again should only be used by an expert.

TPO – A tree preservation order is legislation in place to protect certain types of tree, you will be able to check with your local council if a tree on your land is under a TPO, if it is, it usually cannot be removed unless it is causing a threat to public safety.

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