Insurance & Tree Terminology
Bristol Arboriculture Ltd has never had to make an insurance claim but we are covered to £10,000,000 public liability insurance for your peace of mind.
All our tree work is carried out to BS3998 2012 recommendations for tree work
The importance of correct pruning cuts
Every pruning cut inflicts a wound on the tree. The ability of a tree to withstand a wound and maintain healthy growth is greatly affected by the pruning cut – its size, angle and position relative to the retained parts of the tree. As a general rule branches should be removed at their point of attachment or shortened to a lateral which is at least 1/3 of the diameter of the removed portion of the branch, and all cuts should be kept as small as possible. Examples of correct pruning cuts are shown as follows.
Showing sequence of removal to avoid damage to the retained parts
Diagram 2 – examples of correct pruning cuts. Drawings courtesy of European Arboricultural Council.
Other useful terms associated with tree work
An increase in wood production in localised areas in response to a decrease in wood strength or external loading to maintain an even distribution of forces across the structure.
New growth arising from dormant or new buds directly from main branches/stems or trunks.
Bracing is a term used to describe the installation of cables, ropes and/or belts to reduce the probability of failure of one or more parts of the tree structure due to weakened elements under excessive movement.
Branch bark ridge and collar
See diagram 3 section 3. Natural features of a fork or union that may or may not be visually obvious. Neither the branch bark ridge nor collar should be cut.
Undifferentiated tissue initiated as a result of wounding and which become specialised tissues of the repair over time.
A void within the solid structure of the tree, normally associated with decay or deterioration of the woody tissues. May be dry or hold water, if the latter it should not be drained. Only soft decomposing tissue should be removed if necessary to assess the extent. No attempt should be made to cut or expose living tissue.
Two or more, generally upright, stems of roughly equal size and vigour competing with each other for dominance. Where these arise from a common union the structural integrity of that union should be assessed.
The cutting down of a tree within 300mm (12in) of the ground at regular intervals, traditionally applied to certain species such as Hazel and Sweet Chestnut to provide stakes etc.
The foliage bearing section of the tree formed by its branches and not including any clear stem/trunk.
Non-living branches or stems due to natural ageing or external influences. Deadwood provides essential habitats and its management should aim to leave as much as possible, shortening or removing only those that pose a risk. Durability and retention of deadwood will vary by tree species.
When a tree exhibits signs of a lack of vitality such as reduced leaf size, colour or density.
Tips of branches exhibit no signs of life due to age or external influences. Decline may progress, stabilise or reverse as the tree adapts to its new situation.
The inactive condition of a tree, usually during the coldest months of the year when there is little or no growth and leaves of deciduous trees have been shed.
Shortening branches by pruning off the end back to a lateral branch which is at least 1/3 of the diameter of the removed branch.
The application of a substance, usually to the tree’s rooting area (and occasionally to the tree), to promote tree growth or reverse or reduce decline. This will only be effective if nutrient deficiency is confirmed. If decline is the result of other factors such as compaction, physical damage, toxins etc., the application of fertiliser will not make any difference.
Minor pruning during the early years of a tree’s growth to establish the desired form and/or to correct defects or weaknesses that may affect structure in later life.
A member of the plant kingdom that may colonise living or dead tissues of a tree or form beneficial relationships with the roots. The fruiting body is the spore bearing, reproductive structure of that fungus. Removal of the fruiting body will not prevent further colonisation and will make diagnosis and prognosis harder to determine. Each colonisation must be considered in detail by a competent person to determine the long term implications of tree health and structure when considered alongside the tree species, site usage etc.
Lopping and Topping
Generally regarded as outdated terminology but still included as part of Planning legislation. Lopping refers to the removal of large side branches (the making of vertical cuts) and topping refers to the removal of large portions of the crown of the tree (the making of horizontal cuts, generally through the main stems). Often used to describe crude, heavy-handed or inappropriate pruning.
Painting or Sealing
Covering pruning cuts or other wounds with a paint, often bitumen based. Research has demonstrated that this is not beneficial and may in fact be harmful. On no account should timber treatments be used as these are definitely harmful to living cells.
The initial removal of the top of a young tree at a prescribed height to encourage multistem branching from that point, traditionally for fodder, firewood or poles. Once started, it should be repeated on a cyclical basis always retaining the initial pollard point, or bolling as it becomes known.
A form of reduction intended to encourage development of lower shoots and emulate the natural process of tree aging.
The pruning back of roots (similar to the pruning back of branches). This has the ability to affect tree stability so it is advisable to seek professional advice prior to attempting root pruning.
See Lopping and Topping.
The degree of physiological and biochemical processes (life functions) within an individual, group or population of trees.
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