Ryland Horticulture Ltd. (Archive?)

Casebook 1. The Fine Art of Tree Pruning.

As trained and competent arborists with many years of experience, Rylands staff can prune a tree correctly to current best practice, time and time again. In that way we are special!

For Rylands Ltd. there is a somewhat odd thing concerning tree pruning; all the information about how to prune correctly is readily available, its supported by a network of well-qualified trainers such as Rylands, that teach anyone how to prune a tree successfully and up to current standards, yet poor tree pruning persists! Our Industry even has a British Standard for tree works (BS 3998:2010 Tree works-Recommendations)along with an assessed tree pruning qualification (002107 – City & Guilds NPTC Level 3 Award in Aerial Tree Pruning).

Tree surgeons qualified and unqualified that can climb and use a chain saw, often think that’s it as far as tree works is concerned. For the less skilled and able, it’s easier to cut a branch within easy reach, than take the more difficult and time consuming option of climbing out the edge of the crown to reduce a limb back. This would be the preferred course of action, reducing the size of wounding and leaving a more natural appearance. Here at Rylands ; when talking to potential customers concerning tree pruning, we often say that the sign of a good tree pruning operation is that after a few years when the cuts have darkened, you cannot tell that the tree has been pruned.

Beech tree crown reduction works to contain and shape. Note the initial form of the tree.

Beech tree.. completed crown reduction in line with BS 3998:2010. Note the finished shape & form.

Poor tree pruning works is not only detrimental to trees but it makes a tree look ugly! We suppose it’s how much you value your trees. Much of the pruning works that comes across our desk is customer led. It’s often more about people that about trees! Rylands advises potential customers as to what can be reasonably expected at the end of the works. Sometimes that is not enough and the customer wants more off… that’s often when we walk away!! Undoubtedly the majority of badly pruned trees recover, but why prune them in that way in the first place? Why not listen to a professional arboricultural company such as Rylands, who will advise as to why the customers directions are ill advised.

Another form of Beech tree pruning! Although this tree will recover, it does beg the question why pay to have this done to your tree?

When pruning Rylands generally adheres to a principal called’ Natural Target Pruning’. This is not the only way to prune, but its often our intention to minimize pruning wound size thereby minimizing the risk of infection and decay. Nothing therefore, at the present moment beats ‘ Natural Target Pruning’ which our current BS 3998:2010 is based upon. Many of our competitors state that their tree works is in accordance with BS 3998:2010; which is very difficult to adhere to all the time, and then proceed to  lop/top and butcher trees! There is still too much unnecessary poor tree pruning works undertaken. It may be time for some form of regulation to be devised, with a licence system introduced as the informal education for tree pruning is not going far enough to address the issue of poor tree pruning.  

Lopping and topping … Unsightly, unnecessary, detrimental to the tree.. money well spent?
A mature tree marked out for crown reduction works. A heavier than usual prune undertaken by Rylands, due to the tree having basal decay, yet to be retained for as long as safe.
Finished reduction. This tree is still with us. Money well spent?