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The Surprisingly Sensitive, gentle giants in our Royal Parks

18/04/2017

Knowing when to carry out tree surgery works can be the difference between a healthy, vibrant garden and a plant graveyard!

As a nation we tend to think about our gardens more in the spring and summer, as we naturally spend more time in them. We Brits see the sun appear in mid-Spring and we run outside to do the bits in the gardening (that we’ve probably been ignoring for the last few month!), but often this is not the best time to make any big changes, especially where trees are concerned. 

The optimum time for tree surgery, including pruning, crown lifting and in fact tree planting, is during dormancy, i.e. when the trees have shed their leaves in Autumn and Winter. This is primarily to reduce stress experienced by the tree (you would be surprised at how sensitive a tree can be!) after it has received a significant ‘haircut’ or has been taken out of a loving garden centre and put into a new surrounding. As soon as temperatures start to rise, so too does all the microbiological activity in the soil and competition for space and resources gets more intense. Trees are typically slow growers, especially when compared to smaller shrubs and perennials and so a newly planted tree can really struggle to hold its own in the early stages of growth and development, even against a plant which it will ultimately dwarf in size. Equally if a tree has been pruned, it may have lost some significant braches and may take some time to recover. During the winter the tree is asleep and so it doesn’t know if it has lost a branch to a chainsaw, but in the Spring when it has just coming into leaf, the tree is very much awake and so can get a bit of a shock.

Though the Gavin Jones ‘hardy’ Tree Care Team, will face all the elements with a smile on their face (promise!), our clients may not realise that work is needed on a tree until later in the year when the canopy can be viewed in full leaf. After winter the next best time for tree works is during high summer, when the trees have replenished energy exerted during leaf production. Often the summer ‘pruning window’ is an ideal time for tree surgeons and clients, as tree surgeons can work with the natural canopy shape and clients can see an instant gain in space and light (with some exceptions, such as Cherries which should be pruned only in late summer when natural defence against fungus such as silver leaf is present).

For any tree surgery advice, please contact our Tree Care Team for a site assessment and quote.