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FAQ

What is the difference between an Arborist and a Tree Surgeon?

While there is no official difference, we would consider an Arborist to be a qualified Tree surgeon a formal qualification giving them a scientific insight into why they are cutting and where!

There is fungus/fungi growing from my tree

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And yet another question?

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Is there a difference in Crown Reductions & Topping?

Trees often outgrow their location and a crown reduction can be undertaken to retain the tree. Unfortunately, if too much of the tree is removed more problems are created, or the pruning if more accurately termed 'Topping'.

ToppingTopping a tree is the indiscriminate cutting of branches to reduce the height or carve the canopy into a smaller rounded 'lollypop' shape. The problem is when too much of the canopy is removed, more light enters the previously sheltered branches, the tree doesn't have enough foliage and the positioning of cuts results in either reshooting or die-back.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The vigorous re-growth can then grow at up to 5 times the normal growth rate, leaf size and density is larger and greater respectively. In most flowering and fruiting trees, crops are severly reduced. If the cuts are incorrectly positioned the tree is less able to fend off infection and ultimately occlude (cover) the open wound. To top (pardon the pun) it all off, the stress caused by the initial cutting can allow pathogens to gain a stronghold in the tree whether it is through the misplaced cuts or give a disease, which was actively attacking the tree but being held at bay as the tree was in good health the opportunity to develop. This is particularly the case is larger trees where the ability to recover from such a severe operation is considerably reduced.

What is Coppicing?

Coppicing is the ancient craft of pruning a tree or shrub to create multiple vigorous shoots from near ground level, removing all or some of the growth.  The winter period is considered to be the best time to coppice after the trees have dropped their leaves and also allowing a long period of re-growth before the following winter.  Subsequent re-growth can be harvested between 1 & 30 years depending on the required use and species.  Many species can be coppiced including: Oak, Ash, Birch, Hazel, Sweet Chestnut, Alder and Willow.  The resulting re-growth is generally very straight and with younger growth also quite flexible. 

Close up Coppice StoolThe uses vary from in the first year; livestock feed, besom brooms and withies (used for baskets, hurdles, etc) to later in binders for the top of laid hedges or live Willow lengths for living structures, to broom handles, walking sticks, firewood, stakes, Chestnut pale fencing, etc.  Coppice stools were particularly significant for smelting iron before coal was preferred.                                                                                                                                           Coppicing can also be used on some Ornamental species such as Red Stemmed Dogwood, where the pruning encourages vigorous brightly coloured new growth (coppice in Feb to get the most out of the winter colour)                Groups / coups of the stools should be harvested together when managing coppice woodland, with only a limited number of trees left for timber use if required.  This is important as it removes the majority of the canopy created by the re-growth, which allows a period for ground flora to establish with minimal competition for light.  This helps create greater bio-diversity as certain animals and insects will flourish with high density of certain plants. Conditions will differ in each area of the coppice woodland as they would be at a different point in the cycle and this offers suitable habitat for a variety of species.  The dense growth at the base affords cover for small mammals, birds and even bats.  When the stools become older decay in the base will first house different beetles feeding on the wood and then possibly weasels or stoats may use it for a den.

Multiple Coppice stoolsJust Cut Alder Coppice stoolIf left unmanaged then the multiple stems will compete with each other leaving only a few remaining stems which would attempt to grow as tall as a naturally grown species this is known as ‘overstood’.  Unfortunately the union between stem and base and the likely presence of decay often means failure is ultimately inevitable.  If correctly managed however, coppiced stock has a significantly longer lifespan when compared to naturally grown trees as the plant is kept in a partially juvenile state.                                                                 The problem with Coppice stools is that the new growth can easily be browsed by livestock or deer, etc and in order to harvest you would have to continuously bend down.  So to avoid these problems Pollarding can be used.