Telephone: 01438 871955
Mobile: 07900 906249


Tree Surgery Services

Tree Surgery, Management and Arborist Services in Hitchin, Hertfordshire


Tree Felling | Cable BracingLightning Protection | Storm Damage from Trees

TerminologyCrown ThinningCrown Lifting or RaisingCrown Reduction | Pollarding


Honey Tree Surgeons are a specialist arborist and tree management company, offering tree surgery, maintenance and stump removal services to clients in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and nearby counties including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

The guide below explains the processes and considerations required when performing various forms of tree surgery.


What is Tree Felling?


All trees will have to be felled at some stage, due to death or structural issues, especially when human safety is a serious consideration.

Felling or dismantling trees is conducted carefully and in manageable sections, often involving the use of professional equipment in very tight or complex surroundings and environments.

Once a tree is felled, Honey Tree Surgeons like to make good use of the wood by delivering cheap but good quality kindling and wood chippings (great for weed suppression) or seasoned firewood to local clients.

If the remaining tree stump and roots are to be removed, a stump grinder is used. Clients can also hire stump grinders on a daily or weekly basis, which are supplied with a trained operator. If required, we can fill the hole with soil and spread grass seed over the area for an additional cost.


Why is Cabling and Bracing important for Tree Structure?


Cabling and bracing are the most common ways to provide structural support for trees and involve installing cables or rods to reduce the risk of failure of weak branches and stems.

Cables are made of high strength steel and are installed high up in the tree, normally 2/3 of the distance from the defect to the crown, with bolts – here they limit the movement of supported branches and are therefore less likely to fail during storms.

Bracing rods are installed lower, normally just above and/or below the defect and provide support against torsional or twisting forces in adverse or server storm conditions. It is worth noting that cables are stronger than rods, due to their leveraging capacity and cables can be used on their own, whereas bracing rods are always used with stronger cables. Less common ways to provide structural support include guying and propping.

Trees in close proximity to commercial properties, especially those with high footfall numbers, should be inspected on a regular basis for structural defects such as split crotches, decay and cracks, to ensure public safety and to reduce the possibility of personal injury or damage to the property.
Structural tree support systems should only be installed upon a thorough examination and inspection of a tree by Honey Tree Surgeons. Legislation and health and safety law state that equipment and techniques used, must comply with industry standards.


Protection from Lightning


When trees are situated close to domestic or commercial buildings, lightning is a serious danger to the property in addition to those using that property.

Direct lightning strikes on trees can kill or severely weaken them. Tree devastation can also affect the historical or monetary value of landscapes and their dwellings, especially if the tree is a prominent part of the environment. Although a tree may show no serious external damage, it may be still be affected.

  • Metal objects on buildings can conduct the strike, potentially causing severe damage and fire
  • Trees in close proximity to water, or on hilltops and growing out in the open, also pose high risk
  • Honey Tree Surgeons can install lightning protection systems that reduce the risk of damage from a strike, as electricity is conducted to the earth and naturally dispersed
  • Lightning protection systems can greatly minimise the damage caused by lightning  strikes to trees


The system should be adjusted to accommodate tree growth, so an annual examination will ensure it’s performing as it should is highly recommended.


Storm Damage from Trees


Honey Tree Surgeons provide a 24 hour emergency “fallen tree” and storm damage callout service.  

Tree Pruning Terminology


Tree pruning is one of the most effective ways of maintaining a tree. Pruning helps by:

  • Removing dead branches to promote growth
  • Cultivating the trees size and shape
  • Improve the quality of flowers, fruit or timber from the tree
  • Reducing the chance of tree disease


What is Crown Thinning?


“Crown thinning” is the removal of smaller branches, normally at the outer crown, to produce an even collection of foliage around a branch structure and be no more than 30% overall. Crown thinning does not change the overall size or shape of the tree.

Reasons for crown thinning include:

  • Allowing more light to pass through
  • Reduce wind resistance
  • Reduce weight


What does Crown Lifting or Raising mean?


“Crown lifting” is the act of removing lower branches to make canopy of the tree higher or to prepare lower branches for future removal. Removal of large branches growing directly from the trunk is not suggested as this can cause large wounds, resulting in extensive decay and long term problems including biomechanical instability.

On older, more mature trees, crown lifting should be avoided altogether, or at the very least restricted to removing secondary branches or shortening primary branches.

Crown lifting increases exposure to light for areas closer to the tree but should be restricted to less than 15% of the crown height, leaving at least 2/3 of the total height of the tree.


What is Crown Reduction?


“Crown reduction” is the reduction in height and / or spread of the crown of a tree and can be used for a number of reasons:

  • To activate mechanical stress on individual branches or the whole tree
  • To make the tree more suited to its immediate vicinity and environment 
  • To reduce the effects of shading and loss of light


Crown reduction should be performed with small cuts, in general not exceeding 100mm in diameter unless there is good reason to do so.  It’s important to understand that not all species of tree are suitable for crown reduction. Lastly, Crown reduction must not be confused with ‘topping’, which itself is a harmful treatment to trees.


What does “Pollarding” mean?


Pollarding is the removal of a canopy from a tree, back to its main branches and is often carried out on trees in roadside areas, on riversides and can be adopted in domestic gardens.  Shoots from the pruned points then re-form to create a new canopy. Pollarding is repeated throughout the life of a tree, often to reduce canopy size, especially large trees, and to make them more manageable.

Once initial removal of the top of a young tree has taken place, it should be repeated periodically, always retaining the initial pollard point.


Why Choose Honey Tree Surgeons?


Fully insured, qualified and accredited, Honey Tree Surgeons perform a number of tree surgery services:

  • Coppicing – used in woodland management, the reducing of a tree to a stump at ground level to produce new growth. Specific trees that coppicing can be carried out on include Hazel, Willow and Ash
  • Fruit tree pruning
  • Hedge trimming and reduction
  • Tree & hedge planting
  • Tree pest and disease identification


To discuss your tree care or felling requirements, please contact us today. Alternatively, review our client testimonials, find out more about us, read our latest news blog or find answers to common questions.