Pruning Trees

Pruning to reduce the size of your tree

Things to consider before pruning

  • Is there a conservation order on the tree? If there is, do not prune- more information can be found here.
  • Are the branches more than 15cm and need a chainsaw? You need a Tree surgeon. Click here for a licensed one in your area.


  • Safety gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Secateurs
  • Ratchet Secateurs
  • Anvil lopper
  • Telescopic tree pruner
  • Pruning saw (with scabbard)
Tree Cutting

How to prune

  1. Wear gloves and glasses to protect your eyes.
  2. Prune the dead branches with secateurs
  3. With a ratchet secateur or pruning saw, cut the branches from the middle of the tree that are blocking the light.
  4. Cut any large branches to about 30cm from the trunk, then cut the stump down to the final length, keeping outside the branch collar (the small swelling where the branch joins the trunk), making a small cut upwards first then cut down at an angle away from the trunk.
  5. Cut the outer branches to reduce the overall size of the tree – you may need extendable secateurs.
  6. Do not cut more than a third from the tree.
  7. To enable the tree to recover, place some compost or manure around the base of the trunk.

When to prune

Deciduous trees: autumn or winter;

Evergreen trees: mid-to late summer

But there are exceptions. Here is a link to some more detailed information.

Health and Safety

Is the tree too big for you to carefully prune it youself?

If the biggest branch has a diameter of more than 15cm, we'd suggest you to contact your local tree surgeon.

If you can't reach any of the branches with your feet firmly on the ground, or on an appropriate platform, we'd also suggest you to contact a registered tree surgeon.

Remember, use your common sense!

If you're going to prune the tree yourself, it's important for you to use the correct protective equipment.

- Make sure the tree surgeon you use has the correct license

- Pruning or cutting trees can be dangerous. To do the job safely, you should employ an experienced contractor with appropriate skills.

- To make sure the contractor has registered with the ARB, take a look at the website.

- You should look out for this logo if you're thinking of employing a registered tree surgeon.

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