crown reduction 

Crown reduction is one of the most common tree surgery practices. Usually measured in metres, crown reduction reduces the area of the crown as a whole (both laterally and vertically). Crown reductions are commonly used to maintain trees in enclosed spaces or to increase light and reduce encroachment on an area or building.

What is a crown reduction?

Crown reduction is the removal of a specified amount of the trees canopy. This is usually measured in meters and up until 2010 it was measured as a percentage.

What is the crown of a tree?

The crown of a tree is measured from where the branches start and does not take into account the main stem

( the clear section of the tree between the ground and the first branch ).

How Much can I reduce my tree by?

Different species of tree can tolerate different amounts of crown reduction.

Trees such as Sycamore, Ash, Lyme ,Poplar and Willow can tolerate slight heavier crown reductions as they are good at regeneration.  Other species such as Beech, Oak and Cherry will struggle with heavy reductions and may die back if pruned to hard.

It is important to remember that the harder the reduction the more difficult it is to make a tree look natural and maintain a good shape

As of 2010 the guidance for tree work in the UK changed, up until this point all crown reduction were  specified in a percentage (10,15,20,30%) . After 2010 the use of percentages was removed from the standard and all crown reductions are now specified in meters.

A common specification for a crown reduction of a tree would be :

Mature Oak on front boundary of front garden. To be crown reduced by 2 meters to leave a well-balanced shape. All branches to be cut to the nearest available growth point. Branches encroaching on property to be cut back to leave a clearance of 2 meters.

What is a growth point?

At growth point is a secondary branch growing off of a main branch. When reducing a tree, we cut every branch back to a suitable growth point along the branch we are reducing. By cutting back to a growth point we are not only helping keep a natural shape but promoting formation of healthy secondary growth and good tree health.

Is lopping and topping the same as crown reduction?

Lopping and topping are terms which Have been removed from the British standard for tree work as of 2010