There is a wide range of pruning strategies that will greatly assist in caring for your trees, and it is essential to carry out the right method of pruning depending on a few factors ie: the species, time of year, type of pruning and by how much the tree can tolerate. Here are the types:

  • Fruit Tree Pruning
  • Formative Pruning
  • Crown Cleansing
  • Crown Thinning
  • Crown Reductions
  • Crown Lifting
  • Pollarding

Fruit Tree Pruning

Fruit tree pruning is carried out to stimulate the formation of flowers and fruit buds and can ultimately determine their productivity. In most species of fruit trees, pruning should be done early in the season or whilst the tree is dormant throughout autumn and winter.

Formative Pruning

Formative Pruning is the pruning of young trees to determine a stronger and more desirable structure as the tree matures.This type of pruning will also prevent later defects such as weak branches that could break under the weight of snow or fruit.

Crown Cleansing

Crown cleansing is the pruning out of dead, diseased or dying wood, split and broken branches, crossing or rubbing branches and unsightly epicormic growth (otherwise known as sucker shoots or water sprouts). This method of of tree pruning comes as standard when we are employed for crown thinning and crown reductions/shaping.

Crown Thinning

Tree thinning is ideal for trees that are very dense with foliage and prevent light from passing through, consequently creating a darkened or dominated area. The tree thinning method requires the even removal of selected branches from within the trees crown all the way through. This in turn will allow better air circulation (helps against disease) and more light to pass through the trees canopy without affecting its natural shape or structural integrity.

Crown Reduction and Re-shaping

With crown reduction and re-shaping a percentage of the overall height and size of the tree is reduced by removing the ends of the branches evenly throughout the crown taking its natural shape into consideration. This process may be carried out for a number of reasons:

  1. The tree maybe too large for its permitted space.
  2. The overall size of the tree maybe too heavy for its species ie; Ash trees are very susceptible to strong winds or snow so crown reduction and re-shaping could help prevent the overloading or breaking of limbs and branches.
  3. If a tree is not structurally sound due to being unbalanced or too heavy in any given direction then crown reduction or re-shaping will accommodate its longevity.
  4. The tree may simply be out of shape.

Crown Lifting

Crown lifting or crown raising is simply removing branches from the bottom of the tree to provide clearance for pedestrians, vehicles, buildings, patios or lines of site. This technique also allows sunlight to reach underneath for other types of vegetation ie; plants, hedges and lawn. Ideally this process should leave branches on at least two thirds of the tree's total height. For example, if you want to prune a tree that's 30 feet tall, you may only trim branches up 10 feet from the ground.


The pollarding process involves the removal of all the trees new growth resulting in the remainder of only the trunk (low pollard) or the framework of the major structure (high pollard). Pollarding is a treatment that is ideally given to young trees in order to make them grow with a short trunk or framework and a bushy canopy so that they can be maintained regularly, the service can be repeated every couple of years. Although pollarding is not suitable for every species of tree, pollarding is beneficial to our gardens for a wide range of reasons and in some cases it can be an effective way to rejuvenate a tree and also to prolong its life.