Pruning: Employing a Tree Contractor

Image: Richard Lord

The golden rule on pruning is “don’t” unless you have an identified need such as removing obstruction, letting in more light and air, or removing a hazard etc. Each and every cut made provides an opportunity for disease and decay agents to enter and although trees are blessed with several ways to combat them it is best to reduce the risk as much as possible because many diseases are incurable.

When pruning trees use good quality and well maintained equipment. Do not cut branches which are greater than one third the diameter of the branch or stem to which they are attached. Do not cut against the branch (flush cut) or leave too long a stub. Do not cut off too much wood. Although trees can be pruned at any time of year it is better to avoid spring, when trees are using their reserves to come into leaf and autumn when the air holds a higher concentration of fungal spores and trees are slower to respond to cuts.

Working on trees, particularly large mature specimens, is heavy and hazardous work. Making the wrong cuts at the wrong time can not only weaken a tree but may create hazards for the future. We recommend you always use a competent, qualified (in arboriculture) and insured contractor. Your contractor should be familiar with the British Standard BS 3998:2011 “Tree Works”. Fortunately Guernsey has several arboricultural contractors and they will be happy to quote for works. For more information contact: or