Street tree pruning: How and why we do this

Published on 17 March 2023

street tree pruning showing staff wearing high vis feeding pruned branches into a chipping machine

To prune or not to prune, that is the question.

Our chief arborist Ben Seamark explains the approach our trained arborists take with pruning, which can also apply to home gardens.

“The best approach is to let trees grow to their natural form,” said Ben.

“Our arborists do formative pruning when trees are young to determine their future shape.

“Following this, most pruning is generally issue-based, such as a branch that’s damaged or blocking a footpath or driveway.”

And it turns out that selecting the right tree to plant in the first place also plays a key role.

“We are looking to plant street trees that don’t require frequent pruning, that grow upright and have decent trunks. They can then grow to their surrounding environment, rather than fighting against nature with constant pruning,” said Ben.

He has some wise words for those wanting to see heavier pruning of street trees – something also to consider when pruning trees in your own garden.

“A light touch and more frequent is the best approach as pruning removes energy from trees as they store sugars in their leaves.

This advice will also save you time in the long term.

“The heavier you prune, the more trees shoot back: A light touch and more frequent rather than heavy.”

Our street tree crews are responsible for an estimated 100,000 trees. They inspect trees on a cyclic basis and also respond to resident requests and storm damage.

Find trees suitable to plant in our local area 

Where we’re planting street trees 

Log a street tree request

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