North Warwickshire Borough Council

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Works to Trees and Hedgerows

Types of Works to Trees

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There are different ways of maintaining trees to improve their health and safety or reduce shading without removing them. The Council will always seek to ensure the minimum works necessary are applied for, to prevent the unnecessary removal of trees.

If you are unsure of the most appropriate works for your tree(s), you are strongly advised to discuss this with a qualified tree surgeon or arboriculturalist.

Crown Thinning

Crown thinning involves removing a number of secondary branches in such a way that it produces a balanced crown structure, without altering the overall size or shape of the tree. It results in improved light levels passing through the canopy, thus reducing shading. It also reduces the sail effect of the crown, thus reducing the wind loading upon the limbs of the tree. 

Crown Thinning

Crown Lift

Crown lifting involves the removal of lower branches to lift the height of the crown. This may be carried out to increase the clearance between the ground and the lower branches to:

  • allow for access below the tree
  • to improve light
  • aesthetically improve the tree, by creating a balanced lower crown.

Crown Lift

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction is the process of removing branch tips, pruning back to a growth point further down the branch. When carried out over the whole tree the overall crown size is reduced, and is a good way of controlling size. The maximum recommended reduction is normally 25% to avoid stress to the tree. It also reduces the sail effect of the crown, thus reducing the wind loading upon the limbs of the tree, and a reduction is often used on trees with identified weaknesses.

Crown Reduction

Formative pruning

The purpose of formative pruning is to assist the young tree to develop into a stronger and well shaped tree. The structure of the tree can be greatly improved by selective branch removal. This ensures strong branch attachments and a good crown structure.

Formative Pruning


Pollarding is a traditional form of management and generally not used in conjunction with modern practices. It should not be carried out unless a tree has previously been pollarded. Large wounds created during this process can initiate fatal decay in mature and ancient trees.


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