Tree terms

Just like any profession, arborists and tree surgeons have their own jargon. We try not to use it too often, but, these are some of the terms you might hear.

Tree surgery techniques


Supporting weak branches that are at risk of falling by installing a system of cables to support them and help the tree keep its shape.

Crown lifting

To let create more space and light under a tree we could lift the crown, which involves pruning the lower branches of the tree. This can benefit your lawn or any beds beneath the tree.

Crown reduction

If your tree is getting too big for the space it’s in, or it’s blocking light from other plants then we may prune the crown of the tree to make it smaller. The art of crown reduction lies in shaping the tree so that it still looks natural, and not as if a whole lot has just been lopped off the top. We often prefer to use handsaws and secateurs to do this as it involves more thought and precision.

If a tree is diseased and unstable, crown reduction is also a good way to make the crown lighter and help to make the tree more stable.

Crown thinning

Thinning the crown of the tree involves strategically removing branches that may be crossing, rubbing, dead or dying. The aim is to preserve the shape and character of the tree, leaving only healthy and well-spaced branches. This in turn lets more light and oxygen flow through the canopy.  It will also make the tree less wind resistant, which can be useful if the tree is older and slightly unstable.

Deadwood removal or crown cleaning

Removing dead, dying and diseased wood and leaving only safe and healthy branches. We’ll usually do this as part of reducing or thinning the crown of the tree.


Dismantling a tree in a controlled and safe way, either by making a series of precise cuts at the base, or by dismantling it in sections.  This second technique, referred to as sectional tree felling is often used for felling trees in tight spaces, or where there are overhanging objects, such as power lines or telephone lines, which could be damaged if the tree was felled as a whole.

Fruit tree pruning

When pruning fruit trees we cut back branches to improve the health and productivity of the fruit tree. We usually prune fruit trees in winter.

Formative pruning

This pruning is aimed at shaping young trees, usually over their first five years. If possible, we prune deciduous trees in winter, and evergreen trees in spring.

Stump grinding

This is a method for removing tree stumps. Sometimes we can grub them out by hand, but for larger ones we’ll use a stump grinder to grind them down to at least 30cm below ground level. You can then cover them with soil and plant or pave over them.

Fully insured

We have public liability coverage  up to £10 million, and employers’ liability coverage up to £10 million.

Other tree terms

Tree preservation orders (TPO)

Your tree could be protected by a tree protection order (TPO) or be growing within a conservation area. In either of these cases you need permission from the local planning authority to do any work to the tree, including pruning. We’re happy to apply for this permission on your behalf.

You can find out more about tree preservation orders on the RHS website

Tree condition surveys

A tree condition survey is a report on the health and condition of individual trees. It also assesses any risk the tree might pose. When conducting a survey, we measure and assess each tree and make recommendations for how it should be managed to keep it healthy and safe. All the trees are mapped using GPS.  You might need a tree condition survey for the local authority, your insurance company or just so that you can manage your trees better.

Contact us if you need a tree condition survey