Save the Forests – Starting at Home!

As you may be aware, I have quite a large garden with lots of trees, hedges, flowerbeds and shrubs to take care of. As much as I love having an outdoor space to spend time in, sometimes the amount of maintenance it requires can become a bit overwhelming. With the warm weather, we’ve been having recently some of the larger trees and hedges in my garden have got slightly out of control and just seem to be growing at an unprecedented rate. I finally decided that I needed the help of a professional to try and manage these unruly trees, so I Googled local tree surgeons online.

One of the first results that came up was Doctor Tree, a 5* rated tree surgeon based in March, who offered an assortment of services in the arborist industry. I was a little apprehensive at first, as (like most people) I try to be as eco-friendly as I can and interfering with the growth of some pretty spectacular trees didn’t really seem like the best option environmentally. However, after looking through their website it seemed they were concerned with maintaining the lives of the trees rather than just cutting them down, so I thought I’d give them a call. After chatting through my options we decided that reducing the height and width of my trees would be the best idea and they reassured me that tree reduction is actually good for the tree as it helps it live a longer, healthier life. This all sounded good to me, and I was happy to arrange for the work to be carried out.

I’m all about giving local businesses the credit they deserve, and Doctor Tree did a really fantastic job. 2 weeks later my trees are looking tidy and well maintained and are no longer blocking all the light from my garden. It interested me that something I’d always thought was damaging to trees is actually beneficial and after talking with some of the team from Doctor Tree it seemed that this is a common misconception. Tree care measures such as dead wooding, crown raising and pollarding (all things I’d never heard of before) help to encourage new growth in trees and extend their lifespan, trees are also left in a safer condition as they are less likely to fall down in high winds if they are well maintained.

Taking care of our trees is something we should all be thinking about in order to do our bit for the environment, so I thought I’d go through some of the main options when it comes to tree surgery.

Tree Reduction

This process reduces the overall height or width of a tree allowing it to remain in its location without becoming too large. Pruning the tree in this way encourages new growth and keeps the tree in good health.

Dead Wooding

Dead or dying branches are removed through dead wooding to encourage new growth. The tree is left with healthy branches that are free of disease and fungus and is more stable in high winds because of this.

Crown Raising

Crown raising removes the lowest branches of a tree allowing more light and air to flow throughout the lower part of the tree. This makes the tree healthier and more stable.

Crown Thinning

Similarly to crown raising, crown thinning is conducted to make a tree more stable and reduce wind resistance. Smaller branches are removed to thin out the density of the tree without altering its size or shape.


Pollarding can seem like a slightly more drastic measure as this method involves cutting the tree branches right back to the trunk of the tree. However, like with tree reductions, pollarding allows the tree to generate new, healthy growth and can also be used to save trees that are diseased and would otherwise need felling.

I was surprised to find that there were so many different options available that could not only make a tree safer but also prolong its life, after all, who doesn’t want a future with more trees! Now you know the basics and what’s out there, you can think about what would work best for the trees in your garden.

If you’re interested in other ways you can help trees in the local area, Cambridge City Council has a number of great tree-related schemes. Why not get involved with planting new trees: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/plant-a-tree-in-your-garden. Or you could join their tree-sponsorship scheme: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sponsor-a-tree.

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