Tree Work Terms Explained


A traditional system of growing broadleaved trees where the trees regenerate from the cut stumps called stools. This technique is used to produce ornamental stems, juvenile foliage (for flower arrangements) and multi-stemmed rather than single-stemmed specimens. Traditionally certain trees were coppiced to produce fencing materials, hurdles, spars, firewood, biomass etc. on a 7 to 35-year cycle.


Crown Clean

This involves the removal of dead, dying, diseased, crossing and poorly formed or attached branches.


Crown Lift

The removal of lower branches, in order to achieve a clearance above ground level, usually for pedestrian or vehicular access. It is defined in terms of height.


Crown Reduction

This reduces the overall size of the tree but importantly maintains the shape and form. Primary branches are pruned back to lateral branches that are able to assume the terminal role.


Crown Thin

The removal of selected branches to increase light penetration and the movement of air through the crown of the tree. It leaves the overall shape of the tree unchanged and is defined in terms of a percentage (normally around 10%).



The removal of deadwood in excess of 25mm diameter and/or 750mm in length.



From the old English 'fellan', to strike down by blow or cut.


Formative Pruning

Contributes significantly to the ultimate shape and size of a tree and may help to avoid the need for more drastic surgery at a later date.

In a young tree, it determines whether it will be feathered or clear stemmed, whether it will have a central leader or be branch headed, and whether the tree will be single or multi-stemmed.


Ivy Band

The removal of a band of ivy (typically 150 to 300mm in depth) from around the circumference of the trunk.



Traditionally, trees were pollarded to obtain firewood, withies or a late crop of fodder, at ‘poll’ or head height i.e. above the reach of grazing animals. Many of our veteran trees are pollards.

Modern urban pollarding of street trees typically involves removing a percentage (normally between 25% and 40%) of the crown of a semi-mature tree. The re-growth is then removed at regular intervals to restrict both the height and spread of the tree.


Structural Pruning

A combination of crown cleaning and formative pruning techniques usually undertaken on established fruit trees.