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Winter Tree Care for Milton Keynes

Published: 16th January 2020 16:08


tree surgeon Milton Keynes


Winter Tree Care in Milton Keynes

What do people think about when you mention Milton Keynes? Roundabouts? Concrete cows? But ask those of us who live here what we think about and the answer is often ‘trees'. It's no wonder that the people who actually live in Milton Keynes think about its leafier characteristics, after all over 22 million trees and shrubs have been planted in the new town since its creation in 1967.

But trees don't come without problems. Obstructed pathways broken branches, blocked out light. Trees look beautiful, but if you don't look after them properly they can be a nightmare. However speaking to a tree surgeon in Milton Keynes now, can save you a load of trouble when spring comes. So let's find out what you can have done to help your trees stay looking great, and reduce the risk of them causing you difficulties in the future.

For deciduous trees - the ones that lose their leaves in the winter - this is the time of year when they are dormant, so now is the right time to carry out any work on them. For this reason you should consider how pruning could help improve both their health and shape.

Why use a tree surgeon?

There are lots of reasons for using a tree surgeon rather than attempting to carry out work on trees yourself. Clearly a qualified and experienced tree surgeon brings an abundance of knowledge that you just don't have. This knowledge ensures that trees aren't damaged when they are pruned; if you don't know what you are doing you can do more harm than good.

Using a tree surgeon also reduces the chances of branches - or even trees - falling and damaging nearby property, or unlucky passers-by. Finally, trees are generally tall and much of the work you will need to do on them will have to be carried out at height. It's really not worth the risk to your safety to start climbing trees yourself, so talk to a professional.

Methods of pruning trees in the winter

Pruning is pruning is pruning right? Wrong. Tree surgeons will employ a number of different pruning techniques in order to get different results. We've outlined a few here so you can consider which may be the best for your trees. Whatever you decide, a good tree surgeon will advise you whether or not it is the best strategy. 

Crown Reduction

First let's define what we mean by the crown of the tree. The crown is the part of the tree with the leaves - you might also hear it described as the canopy - and this is the part of the tree that is usually cut back or pruned in some way.
Crown reduction involves removing a significant percentage of the crown - anything between 10 and 30% - and is quite an extreme form of pruning. Its often used to avoid felling a tree that has a damaged root system or is beginning to outgrow its current position. Crown reduction can also be used to prevent a tree from touching overhead wires.

Crown Thinning

A less sever process than crown reduction is crown thinning. This, as the name suggests, is a process of thinning the crown by removing damaged or dead branches, or branches that are rubbing or crossing. A thinned crown allows more light to pass between the leaves, and consequently into nearby buildings. Crown thing also improves the general health of the tree, as well as reducing resistance to strong winds, which in turn makes them less likely to get damaged in storms.

Crown Lifting

When a tree surgeon carries out crown lifting they remove the lower branches of the crown in order to increase the space between the ground and the bottom of the crown. This is a particularly useful technique when you need more clearance under the lower branches, for example because the tree overhangs a road or path, or because you need to mow around the trunk. Crown lifting also allows more light under the tree which will reduce the shade cast on areas close to the tree. Finally where the tree is close to fences, crown lifting will prevent the lower branches from damaging them.


Pollarding is used to restrict the height of trees by removing the upper branches. This also encourages the growth of denser foliage. You will recognise pollarded trees by their distinctive appearance, which has been described as looking as if the trees have been given a flat-top haircut. Once an initial pollarding has been carried out - a process which can make the tree look quite bare - regular, annual pollarding should be carried out to keep the tree to their desired height.

Hedge Trimming

You shouldn't forget your shrubs and hedges in the winter. While many of us carry out minor pruning jobs ourselves, larger jobs - such as tackling overgrown hedges - are best carried out by a professional. This is particularly true of very tall hedges which will require more specialist equipment to trim safely. Like deciduous trees, many hedges, such as hawthorn are also dormant in the winter, and so it's a great time to cut them back. An added advantage of asking a tree surgeon to do the work for you is that they'll take away all the waste.

Wherever you are in Milton Keynes, it's worth setting aside some time to think about the health of any trees on your property and consider whether now might be the ideal time to have some work done.

When you do decide to look for a local tree surgeon, the key things to look for are: -

  • That they're fully qualified and accredited
  • That they have a range of good customer reviews
  • That they can complete all the services you need; e.g. stump grinding and waste removal
  • That their work is insured and guaranteed
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