Roots to Shoots Services

Crown Lifting:

Crown lifting involves removing some of the lowest branches of a tree’s crown. Good practice dictates crown lifting should not normally include the removal of large branches growing directly from the trunk, as this causes large wounds which may jeopardise the long term future of the tree. This procedure is often carried out to trees near footpaths or roads to allow pedestrians and traffic to pass. In the UK, common practice dictates clearance for vehicles is 5.2 metres (17 feet), and for pedestrians 2.5 m (8 feet). Crown lifting can also let more daylight through the lower reaches of a tree and retains the trees natural shape.

Crown Thinning:

Crown thinning involves removing some secondary branch growth to create a less dense crown. Crown thinning is sometimes recommended, to allow more light through the canopy of the tree, but for the most part, to remove crossing branches that are rubbing. This procedure can be favoured over crown reducing where practicable. The European standard advises a maximum of 15%. Crown thinning can enhance a tree’s appearance by creating a more visually balanced crown, and we carry out this procedure where necessary.

Crown Reduction:

Crown reduction is a very skilled procedure used to reduce the height and/or spread of the crown of a tree. The process involves reducing a tree’s crown by 0.5m - 1m (metre) approx (as per updated BS3998: 2010) by removing the ends of branches to specified points.  Pruning is targeted to strong growth points, while still maintaining the tree’s natural archetypal shape. Crown reducing is TOTALLY different to ‘topping’, which IS NOT an acceptable practice. Crown reduction is often used where part of a tree touches, or is very close to a house/building, or quite simply getting too big for its surroundings. The ideal time to crown reduce a tree, is before it becomes too big!

Crown Cleaning:

Crown cleaning involves the removal of dead or diseased branches. Crown cleaning is carried out where there is a possibility of falling branches causing accidents or injury, or if diseased branches threaten the tree’s health. Dead wood has immense ecological value, so where a tree is in a quiet area of a garden or woodland we don’t usually remove it.


The process of pollarding is an ancient tree management technique that starts early in a tree’s life. It involves pruning back branches to the same point on a regular basis to form ‘pollard heads’ which store energy. Pollarding needs to be done at intervals of between one and five years.


Dismantling is a process that involves the taking down of a tree to ground level a piece at a time.

In some instances a “Lowering System” consisting of ropes and slings is used as pictured.

This enables pieces of the tree’s canopy to be cut off piece by piece and lowered to the ground in a SAFE and CONTROLED manner.

This technique is ideal for trees that are dead, dangerous, storm damaged, overhanging buildings & property or on sites which have limited or difficult access and or confined space.

Hedge-trimming/Shrub Maintenance:

Routine maintenance of any of hedge, shape or size on a regular "Annual Basis" to keep hedges and shrubs in shape and balanced.

Emergency Callout Service:

This is a service we offer available throughout the working day between 8am – 6pm as well as out of normal working hours, 6pm – 8am. There is a callout charge to attend an emergency situation such as the one depicted below and costings for clearing, based on an hourly rate.




Bracing is a term used to describe the strengthening or supporting of a tree by means of rope & webbing slings placed at appropriate points in a tree.

Branch Bark Ridge and Collar

The branch bark ridge is shown on the below diagram. Also more noticeable on some species than others, is the branch collar, a swelling at the base of the branch. Important note; Neither the branch bark ridge or collar should be cut.



Scar tissue laid down by the tree in order to cover and protect a wound, eg a pruning wound.


Co-dominant stems

The development of two or more leading shoots / trunks of roughly equal size and vigour competing with each other for dominance.

Conservation Area

The statutory definition of a conservation area is, “ An area of special architectural interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. If you are situated in a conservation area, you will need to gain "Notice of consent to carry out work on trees in a conservation area". Your Local Council / Planning Authority (LPA) website is a good place to start to download the correct form to fill in and then file with them. In other words, most works to most trees within a Conservation Area must not be undertaken without notifying the LPA in writing. The process of gaining permission for any proposed works takes up to six weeks and at times can take longer. Failure to get the correct permissions in writing may be a criminal offence.

We at Roots To Shoots Specialist Tree Surgeons can help you with all applications when you engage us as your contractors (please see our CONTACT FORM.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

A Tree Preservation Order is made by a Local Planning Authority (LPA) to protect a tree, specific trees or a particular area, group or woodland from deliberate damage and destruction. TPOs prevent the felling, pruning, uprooting or otherwise willful damaging of trees without the written permission of the LPA. Different TPO's have different degrees of protection.

Work to trees covered by a TPO must not be undertaken without the prior written consent of the LPA. The process of gaining permission for any proposed works takes up to six weeks and at times can take longer. Failure to get the correct permissions in writing may be a criminal offence.


The cutting down of a tree to within 300 mm (12 in) of the ground at regular intervals (typically on a one to five year rotation). Traditionally applied to certain species such as Hazel and Sweet Chestnut.


When a tree exhibits signs of a lack of vigour.


Tips of branches exhibit no signs of life. This is more noticeable when the tree is in leaf and "dead branches" show without leaves. As decline progresses, so more branches are affected and more dead branches are visible.


This in when a tree is inactive, usually during the coldest months of the year when there is little or no growth and leaves of deciduous trees have been shed.


The application of a substance usually to the tree's rooting area (and occasionally to the tree) to promote tree growth or reduce decline.

Formative pruning

Pruning during the early years of a tree's growth to establish the desired form and/or correct defects or weaknesses.

Fungi/Fruiting bodies

Any spore-bearing structure on a stalk (like a toadstool) or attached directly to the tree (a 'bracket' fungus). Note: some are harmful (cause disease - pathogenic), some are harmless (living on material already dead - saprophytic) and some are beneficial (symbiotic).

Lopping and Topping

Outdated terminology but still part of Planning legislation. Lopping refers to the removal of large side branches (the making of vertical cuts) and topping refers to the removal of the head or crown of the tree (the making of horizontal cuts). Often used to describe crude, heavy-handed or inappropriate pruning. This is bad practice and should not be carried out anymore.

Painting or Sealing

Covering pruning cuts or other wounds with a bitumen-type substance. Research has demonstrated that this is not beneficial and may in fact be harmful.


Disease inducing - usually referring to fungal fruiting bodies.

When to prune?

As a general rule, pruning should be avoided during the time of leaf/needle production (when the tree draws on its energy reserves in Spring time). Outside these periods most trees can be pruned at any time of the year, with a few exceptions:


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