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Tree pruning

Can you reduce the size of a tree?

There are alternative ways of managing trees other then removing them.  A tree may exist happily in a space for many years but gradually over time it will become bigger and bigger and may outgrow its position coming into conflict with buildings, encroach on roads and block sunlight... something which can be rare here in Edinburgh!  In certain situations a tree may be pruned to promote growth, allow more light into a garden or to mitigate potential risks.  

Tree pruning

Pruning trees correctly

Pruning must be done properly and carried out to the British Standard BS3998 Tree Work Recommendations and our highly qualified team of tree surgeons in Edinburgh are more than capable of carrying out this task. When done incorrectly or at the wrong time of year this can bring problems such as disease or create hazards which is why it is important to seek professional advice from our team of professional tree surgeons.


In order to help our clients understand what we are recommending or to help them choose what they may want for their tree we will describe the main types of pruning operations that can be undertaken to help manage trees and perhaps prolong their existence for many years despite surrounding obstacles and conflicts. 

Crown thinning

Crown thinning is the removal of smaller tertiary branches usually concentrated around the outer crown.  Our qualified tree surgeons will produce a result of a uniform density of foliage with an evenly spaced branch structure.  The amount of material removed can vary depending on the objective but generally no more than 30% of the foliage should be removed in one pruning event.  Crown thinning does not reduce the overall size of a tree or alter the shape but will leave a less dense crown allowing more light through, increase air flow through the crown and reduce weight.  Thinning is normally carried out on broadleaf trees and is rarely a one-off operation and it is important to keep in mind that different species react in different ways. 

Crown thinning

Expert guidance for pruning trees in Edinburgh

Please note that many trees are legally protected and that felling or pruning trees may require permission before carrying out any work.  There are many areas in Edinburgh that are within conservation areas and trees which may have tree preservation orders which would require a notification to the planning department prior to carrying out work.  TreeTonic can check for and apply to carry out work to protected trees.

If you are unsure of what type of pruning is best suited for your tree, call our expert team of tree surgeons in Edinburgh and we can provide tailored advice to achieve the desired outcome for your trees.  We will also carry out planning application to be able to carry out work to trees in conservation areas and trees with tree preservation orders in Edinburgh.


'Thank you to you and your team for a very fine job of reducing and shaping my Western Red Cedar tree.  

My wife was delighted when she saw the tree and is very pleased with the result.  The patience you took over getting it reduced and neatly shaped is much appreciated.’


A. Flowers

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