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The difference between Crown Reducing, Crown Thinning and Crown Lifting

Date: November 20, 2015

Our Arboricultural Department often get asked what is the difference between crown reducing, crown thinning and crown lifting.

Crown Reducing:

Crown reduction involves reducing the height and/or the spread of the tree crown. Following a crown reduction the tree should still hold a similar, but smaller shape meaning the basic framework of the crown should be retained.

Crown Thinning:

Crown thinning is the removal of a maximum of 30% of the overall tree structure, this is usually done by removing a selection of the smaller branches from the outer crown. Crown thinning should not change the over size and shape of the tree but should produce a uniformed density of foliage around an evenly spaced branch
structure. Common reasons to carry out crown thinning include to reduce wind resistance in turn reduce the risk of the tree uprooting in strong winds, to reduce the overall weight of the tree and to allow more light to pass through the tree.

Crown Lifting: 

Crown lifting entails the removal of the lower branches of the tree to allow more light through and to enable access under the crown. However, following a crown lift the crown should still make up a minimum of two thirds of the total tree height. Crown lifting should only involve the removal of small branches that are not growing directly from the trunk as this can leave the tree at risk of decay.