The answer is yes, and the best two methods for achieving this are crown raising and crown thinning.
Crown raising - People often think reducing the height of a tree will bring more sunlight into a garden but this is not the case, as the sun has to be very high (peak of summer) to still get over the height of a tree. By raising the lower branches and canopy of the tree, more natural light comes in underneath the canopy and often gives the best results for allowing more light into an area.
Crown thinning - This involves removing a small percentage of the canopy. Although this method is not currently considered as best practice in the industry, it is still an effective way to allow more natural light through a tree’s crown. It takes skill and experience to perform this method well. Removing too many branches can have a detrimental effect on the tree’s health.
Providing the tree is not protected by a tree preservation order or is within a conservation area then yes, you can do this legally if the branches are causing a nuisance. By rights, you should offer the arisings back to the neighbour as it is in their ownership. It becomes problematic if you must access the tree, e.g. by climbing, as this is then considered trespassing.
In our experience, it is always best to consult the neighbour first, or if you don’t get on, allow a third-party, e.g. a tree surgeon, to approach them on your behalf. This often results in the required outcome as a professional approach can reassure a neighbour that the work will be done correctly and therefore make them more forthcoming.
There is no automatic right to light and this is a very grey area. If it comes to it, there are some circumstances where you may have very good grounds to approach a solicitor, but this is often very expensive and not guaranteed.
This is a difficult question to answer. but here are a few points to consider when choosing your tree surgeon:
- Politeness and punctuality are generally a good sign that you’re dealing with a professional.
- Are they taking notes and taking pictures to make sure they don’t forget your requirements?
- When the quotation arrives, is it well laid out and does it include everything you asked for?
- Check for reviews and recommendations.
Depending on species, it is often best to let wood go through at least one summer of drying time, and two summers’ drying will make for better firewood. Firewood will season quicker if cut or split, as this opens the interior of the wood that will hold moisture and allows air around the whole section, speeding up the drying process.
There are several factors that can affect the cost of tree work. These include:
- Size of the tree - the bigger the tree, the higher the cost.
- Access for ease of removing the arisings - poor access will increase labour and therefore increase the cost.
- Location - generally tree contractors in more urban areas will charge more due to their running costs e.g. waste removal, business yard rates.
- Tree arisings - having to remove large amounts of waste from a site will cost more due to several trips to and from a dump site. Leaving tree arisings on site can reduce costs, although it is worth noting that stacking arisings on site can make a job more awkward with tight working space, so this may not alter an estimate.
As a rough guide, a professional team of tree surgeons can cost between £500-£900 for a day, depending on the equipment needed and distance travelled. A company that has very high health and safety standards and undertakes the appropriate risk and method statements will obviously be at the higher end when it comes to cost.
Generally, the answer is yes, as having to remove large amounts of waste from a site will cost more due to multiple back-and-forth trips to a dump. Leaving wood and branchwood on site can often reduce costs, although it is worth considering that stacking arisings on site can make a job more awkward with tight working space, so it may not change an estimate. Chipping arisings and leaving them on site can reduce time and therefore cost, as it makes operations more efficient and can mean getting the most out of the budget.
To find this out you will have to approach the planning department of your local authority. Most councils these days use GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping systems with layers that will show if a tree is covered by a tree preservation order or is within a conservation area. It is worth confirming with the council that the information is correct and up to date as sometimes online systems cannot work correctly to give accurate information.
Your tree surgeon will often do this for you, but you must make sure you see evidence of this as it is your responsibility at the end of the day.
Different species of trees can require specific times for pruning. However, summer pruning is generally considered the best time as the tree is creating its own energy. Removing only a small percentage of the canopy allows the tree to replace the energy removed by creating its own energy through photosynthesis.
Winter pruning can be undertaken, although there’s a debate that by doing this, you are removing the tree’s stored energy which it will then have to replace once active again. A tree’s natural defences to pruning are also slower when dormant, so winter pruning can cause pathogens to enter the tree’s system that it may be more able to combat when active.
It is important not to prune a tree when the energy flow is active, so not in the spring when the sap is rising and releasing its stored energy from the roots. Equally not in early autumn when the tree is sending its current energy down to the roots for storage over winter.
Tree removal can generally be undertaken at any time of year, although wildlife must be a consideration. For example, birds in spring with nesting, and bats in winter when they are in their torpid period.