North London Tree Surgeons
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18 Jul 2016
Tree felling London

Tree Felling in London

Tree felling is a process of removing old, damaged or diseased trees.   In the last few years storms and strong winds seem to be a regular occurrence. If you live in London, you might have read stories and seen trees that get damaged and become dangerous for the surrounding buildings, cars and people.  It is often very tall and large trees that fall victims to bad weather with full trees or large branches falling on pedestrian areas, causing injuries to people.  If you use public transport in London, you know how often fallen trees cause obstructions on roads and rail tracks, causing severe delays.

This is where experienced tree surgeons come in.  Highly trained experienced tree surgeons have to handle complex tasks.  It is a job that requires physical strength, ability to react fast and assess risks with engineering precision.

Shredding tree in LondonTree surgeons based in London have to perform tree felling almost on a daily basis.  As much as everyone understands the importance of keeping London green, trees grow old, become damaged and pose a threat to people and buildings.  Space issue and proximity of neighbouring buildings in London and other densely populated areas make tree felling a particularly challenging task that requires specialised training.

Different techniques can be used depending on the space available around the tree. The tree surgeon should be able to decide if a directional or sectional method is the safest one to use.

The directional method is faster, but it replies on having sufficient area around the tree to fell the tree in one piece.  This is rarely possible in large cities.  The sectional method is the one that most London tree surgeons would have to use all the time.  It involves dismantling the tree into sections and lowering them to the ground using ropes and other devices.  This method should not be attempted by anyone without proper professional equipment and training as it can be dangerous due to the height and the weight of the tree sections involved.

The first step an experienced tree surgeon would do is assess the risks involved.  These are just a few points that a professional London tree surgeon should take into account and discuss with you:

Surrounding area

More often than not trees grow within close proximity of buildings, their branches can stretch to overhead lines and could potentially fall on glass conservatory roofs, fences or pedestrian areas.  Often there are obstacles under the tree and great care needs to be taken not to cause damage by lowering a branch or the whole tree at a wrong angle.  Neighbours’ permission should always be obtained if the tree felling is likely to require the tree surgeon’s access to another property.  Occasionally there is a danger that the work might affect public areas.  In this case a council’s permission will be required to close off the areas that might be at risk.

Weather conditions

Damaged treeIt is not always possible to carry out the work in unfavourable weather conditions.  Strong winds and heavy rain can make performing the job unsafe for the tree surgeon as well as increase the existing risks of damage to property and people nearby.  Even direction and strength of the wind can play an important part, making the tree surgeons work a lot harder or even impossible.

Tree condition

Before tree felling, the tree surgeon will assess the condition of the tree, to see if there are any dry or broken branches that can potentially be dangerous.  Pets, age of the tree or disease can change the density of the trunk and damage the structure of sections of the tree.  These sections might need to be handled in a different way to the rest of the tree.

Birds and Nests

Tree surgeons will take account of any birds and nests that might be active.  All birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so if there are any active nests, tree felling might have to be delayed.  Cutting down a tree or a shrub that has birds nesting in it is an It is an offence that carries penalty or even imprisonment.

Legal requirements

Many areas in London are Conservation Areas and Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) might be in place.  This means that a permission to remove the tree or do the work might be required from the local authorities.  If the tree is dangerous these restrictions do not apply, but sufficient evidence needs to be collected to that effect before any work is undertaken.  It is always advisable to get the council’s permission to avoid incurring penalties, which can be quite heavy.

Cutting down tree


02 Apr 2016
Trees lawn and shrubs

Trees and shrubs on a lawn

Tree surgeon’s ideas on harmony between trees, shrubs and lawn


There is something incredibly attractive about combination of trees and shrubs Trees lawn and shrubson a lawn, so You should try to grow some in your garden. Trees lend variety to a landscape making it more interesting in addition they provide shade, protect and attract birds to the garden. A tree or even a lone bush bedded out on a lawn become the visual center of it and distract attention from the monotonous green space. Another important strong point of trees and shrubs is that, when they strike root they do not need any special care.


Choosing locations for trees on a lawn


Perhaps the most difficult thing about choosing a tree is the necessity to decide in favor of one or two cultivars from the myriad of commercially available. Nevertheless, it should be done: one visible from all sides tree looks most impressive. If You still want to bed out several trees it would be much better to allocate them in one compact group and not to scatter them all over the lawn.

A lonely tree on a lawn looks quite picturesque, but choosing a suitable location can sometimes be difficult. Please remember carefully that You shouldn’t plant it exactly in the middle of the lawn as it will look unfavorable there. If you don’t plan to arrange the rest of the garden around the chosen tree, it may be better to put the tree near a border.

From some coigne of vantage, the house or patio, peer at the lawn and the space behind it. Do you see anything You would prefer to hide? Do the windows of the neighboring house look over your garden? Try to allocate the tree in a way to cover up an undesired view from the window and at the same time to hide You from strangers’ glances. Otherwise, if your garden has picturesque surroundings, two or three properly allocated trees will help to combine your site with the surrounding landscape. But in the city a tree standing on the edge of a lawn creates an illusion of vast landscaped areas hiding behind it, even if your property is situated on a dusty city street.

Nota bene

For those areas of the lawn where You want to achieve more natural look, cultivating tall grass, bulbs or wild field flowers, try to avoid using exotic or hybrid trees. Trees and shrubs need to look natural and thus more seamless.


Deciduous ornamental trees


For a small lawn You should choose a tree that will look attractive, if not the whole Ornamental tree and lawnyear long, at least most or some of it. It is rather insufficient if the chosen tree has just one decorative feature, such as  beautiful blossom, fruitage or autumnal coloring. Chinese sward (Cornuskousa var. chinensis) is an amazing tree, which will delight You with large white flowers at the early summer, with red fruits later and with crimson foliage in autumn. Furthermore, it has a beautiful scaly rind, and expands upward and outward equally well.

Many cultivars of crab-apple trees (Malus) blossom very beautifully as well, and later on please an eye with the view of fruits; they are most suitable for planting on small lawns. Trees of Sorbus cashmiriana are small and sprawling with dark green pinnate leaves, white flowers, and later on they yield pink or white berries.

Trees with interesting unusual foliage such as acer griseum, northern maple (acer pensylvanicum), paper birch (especially Betula utilis var. jacquemotii) and sakura (Prunus serrula) look great on a lawn as well. All these trees do not grow too fast, do not have very dense crowns (grass would love it), and they are not too big and therefore are ideal for lawns.

There are not many trees that could compare in beauty of autumn leaves with weeping maple (Acer palmatum), when its paw-shaped leaves turn scarlet. Many cultivars of cherry trees (Prunus), such as Okate and Sargent (Prunus sargentii), can also boast a bright autumn foliage and beautiful blossom.

To the most space-saving trees could be relevant willow-leaf pear (Pyrus salicfolia) with a round crown, silvery leaves and cream-colored blossom and its weeping sub-type Pendula, and acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia) Umbraculifera with beautiful leaves. Choose these particular cultivar if you want to have a small tree, because other representatives of the species are much larger.


Evergreen ornamental trees


Evergreen trees, especially those ones with variegated or golden-yellow foliage, contrasting with grass, also look very impressive on the lawn. Taxus baccata Fastigiata is a straight columnar yew tree with bright yellow foliage. It grows slowly and is well suited for the lawn, as well as Picea pungens Koster – a lovely peg-shaped fir tree with a silver-blue crown. Pinus sylvestris Watereri – is a low, slow-growing pine with hard blue-gray needles and broad crown.

You cannot go wrong if you choose for your lawn an evergreen Pittosporum tenuifolium Silver Queen – a space-saving tree with a round crown and a gray-green leaves with a white rim.

One of the best evergreen trees is an arbutus x andrachnoides it has beautiful reddish-brown rind, glittering green foliage, white flowers, interesting fruits and stretching up crown.


Soil  at the base of the tree’s trunk


When planning to plant a tree on the lawn, You should remember to cut the grass around the tree trunk and that in autumn the tree will shed its leaves.

Base of tree and lawnThe problem of cutting the grass could be solved by leaving all bare section of soil around the trunk. Just let it be wide enough to ensure that you will not damage the tree trunk while cutting the grass on the lawn with the mower. At first, whilst the tree is small, you may plant small items around the tree’s base, but as the tree develops it will become too dry for most plants as well as  tree foliage will serve as an umbrella blocking all the sunshine. You should choose the plants very carefully, should you still desire to plant them under mature trees.
Weeping trees with branches hanging to the ground, such as the weeping birch or cherry, growing alone on a lawn, look very graceful and very popular. However, due to their shape, they create a very dense shade, which, of course, adversely affects the grass growing under them.


Planting plants under trees


Trees with a lightsome openwork foliage are ideal for planting as subordinate crop since they permit light through in a proper way. Himalayan birch (Betula utilis var. jacquermontii) is especially good for this, as it has small-size and sparse foliage. However, most of the trees give a deep shadow, and therefore the choice of plants for planting beneath them is limited. The most reasonable decision in this case is planting spring bulbous cultivars, which are able to grow up and finish blossoming before dense foliage is being formed on the tree. Shade-demanding ground-cover plants feel very comfortably under such trees as well. If you grow evergreen trees on your lawn, it is likely that you’ll have to confine them to their own decorative effect.

You should not plant any bushes or large plants under a lonely tree growing on a lawn, as they will merge and distort the silhouette of the trunk of the tree, but different climbers would just decorate it. However, You should keep in mind that too strong and viable climbing plant can strangle a small tree and You should take that into account, while making decision.


Shade-resistant plants that could be planted under trees


Bulbous cultivars



Aconite also known as eranthis hyemalis;

Adder-grass or fawn lily, or trout lily, or dog’s tooth violet also known as eritronium;

Snowdrop also known as Galanthus;

Bluebell or eastern camass, or wild hyacinth also known as Scilla hyacinthoides;

Birthroot or wake robin also known as trillium.




Bergenia or giant rock foil;

Digitalis or foxglove, or finger-flower also known as deadman’s bells;

Epimedium or rowdy lamb herb, or barrenwort, or bishop’s hat, or fairy wings, or horny goat weed also known as Yin Yang Huo;

Wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides).


Climbing plants


Actinidia kolomikta or climbing perch also known as anabas testudineus;

Virgins-bower or clematis large-leaved, or leather flower, or traveller’s joy, or Jessamine also known as or clematis alpine;

Cremocarp or eccremocarpus scabrous;

Common or wild hops also known as humulus lupulus;

Honeyberry or honeysuckle, or woodbine, or caprifoil, or button tree also known as lonicera;


Indian cress or nasturtium also known as tropaeolum majus.


Shrubs on lawns


If You do not have enough space on your lawn for a tree, plant a bush, or maybe even two or three. Some bushes are stretching upwards and, if properly cut, will look like a tree with multiple trunks. A lawn is a perfect place to plant your favorite bush, so you’ll be able to admire it from all sides, and it will not have to fight with its neighbors for light, water and nourishment.

The same advantages and disadvantages are inherent for shrubs growing on lawns as for trees, with the only difference that they don’t have clear-cut trunks, which means that the foliage is much lower and grass suffers more from it. Two main problems you may encounter: grass can grow too high, because you will not be able to approach it with the mower, or it might simply perish in the dense shade. In the first case, a simple scissors could solve your problem. And in the second You’ll have to clean up around the bush trunk and either make it increasingly wider as the bush grows, or regularly cut the bush to keep it in the same boundaries. You should make the choice with due account to the type of shrub and its immunity to frequent pruning.


Ornamental shrubs for lawns recommended by our tree surgeons


Juneberry or bilberry, shadbush, or sugar berry, or service tree, or juice peer also known as amelanchier canadensis;

Cianotus Skylark;

Zante-wood or smoke bush, or Aaron’s beard, or common smoke tree, or wig-tree, or chittamwood also known as Cotinus coggygria;

Royal Purple;

Daphne mezereum or daphne balmy Aureomarginata;

Mock orange or syringe, or philadelphus belle etoile;

Pieris beautiful Wakehurst;

Arrowwood or viburnum, or white-rod, or guilder rose, or white hazel tree also known as raisin folded Mariesii.


Planting and fertilization


The best time for planting shrubs or trees is the period between spring and autumn and in some milder European countries may plant in winter though saplings can get damaged by sudden and prolonged frosts. Ornamental plants and bushes need other fertilizers, than lawn grass requires, so they should be fed separately. Grass requires fertilizers with a high nitrogen level for healthy and beautiful leaves, but for trees and shrubs such fertilizer also stimulates the growth of leaves at the expense of flowers and fruit. They need a balanced fertilizer with equal doses of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, but if they are going to blossom or the fruits are kerning on them a fertilizer should have increased level of potassium. You should put the fertilizer into the ground around the trunk using manure fork and irrigate it properly in a way that water would reach the root zone. Remove all the weeds from the area under the tree or bush.

If a fruit tree is growing on your lawn, You should either leave a wider clear space around the tree trunk or not fertilize the grass around the tree, otherwise you will soon discover that the tree bears much fewer flowers and fruits.


Leaves and leaf humus


Putrefying leaves emit a lot of heat, so they should be removed from the lawn in autumn, as soon as they fall off. Collect the leaves into compost piles. Leaves will gradually turn into leaf mold – an excellent soil conditioner for a garden. Leaves should be kept in those bags for at least six months, so put them somewhere away. Before storing, you should soak the leaves properly to aid decomposition.


How to apply fertilizer using a scatterer


Dig a planting pit in the soil about 1,2 meters in diameter. It must be at least four times wider than the diameter of the pot in which the tree grows or a soil clod surrounding the roots. First, remove the greensward and fold it in a stack, and then put the soil dug out from the pit in a wheelbarrow or on a sheet of plastic, not to spoil the lawn. The hole should be about one and a half times deeper than the pot.

If the compost around the roots is completely dry, submerse the pot in a bucket of water to moisten it through. Put some garden compost or any other organic fertilizer (for example, a couple of buckets of good humus manure) at the bottom of the dug pit. Inter-fuse it with the soil using a manure fork. Put some organics in the soil taken from the pit as well, as a tree should be planted not just into the garden soil, but in a moisture well-retentive soil mixture.

If the roots of the tree have completely filled the pot, stir them up a bit. Put the tree or shrub in the center of the pit so that the root clod would be placed at the ground level; add to the bottom some compost-soil mixture, if necessary. Fill the pit with soil and compost, tamping it carefully.

You should prop up trees with pegs for the first two years after planting them unless and until they take root well. Be careful not to damage the roots, hammer a peg into the ground at height of 1-1,2 meters over the soil level and at an angle of 45 ° to the ground, and close enough to the tree to snap it to the trunk. The top of the peg should be directed toward the prevailing wind. You should irrigate the tree or the bush abundantly – at least 2-3 buckets of water.

For any questions related to topics above or any other enquiries, contact our tree surgeons


22 Nov 2015
Winter tree pruning

Fruit trees surgery in winter

Temperature of air and soil are the overarching factors of growth and development of above ground and root systems of fruit trees. All of this needs to be considered when evaluating overall heath of the tree and before we start any tree surgery.

Plants handling in winter

Atmospheric temperature affects the chemical processes and movement of substances inside the plant, such as evaporation of water from leaves microbiological processes in the soil and so on. Not only a frost-free period of a certain duration, but also an appropriate temperature changing rhythm over the whole year are essential for the right development of plants. Consequently, gradual cooling during the fall time allows the trees to prepare for winter dormancy. Initially, at a temperature from 0° to 6° C, in plant organs large carbohydrates (e.g. starch) are transubstantiate to simple ones (e.g. sugar). Then, at a temperature from 0° to -12° C, when water passes from the cells to the inter-cellular spaces, a reserve of organic matter “for tough times” is forming. After that, the plant settles down into dormancy state. You should note that the deeper the plant’s state of relative calm, the higher its hardiness.
By the way, it is necessary to distinguish between these agronomic terms, as the frost tolerance and winter hardiness. You should keep all this information in mind selecting cultivars of fruit trees for the garden.
Frost tolerance is a peculiarity of a plant to adapt to the impact of low temperatures in a proper way.
Winter hardiness is an ability of plants to withstand the whole range of different winter conditions: a certain moisture level of soil, strength of wind etc. (Experts specified that cold-hardy cultivars of fruit trees are settling down into dormancy state much deeper than others.).
We recommend to pomiculturists to keep a diary of observations – to record all the change bits in fruit and berry plants life, as well as the terms and the nature of gardening.
Inclement winters, if not destroying fruit plants, but shortening its lives. But more often buds and branches are suffering from frost. Notably that it predominantly happens if the plants hadn’t been prepared for the winter in a proper way. For example, fruit trees have plentifully fructified and haven’t managed to save up enough spare substances, or ensuing a summer-autumn drought season have prematurely dropped all the leaves, or its foliage has been damaged by pests and diseases. To keep out of it, your garden needs a competent tree surgeon care which is the only way plants can make it through the winter safely.

Weather and Harvest

The growth of fruit plants is mostly affected by the temperature during the spring, especially in the morning.

The nutrient enrichment is mostly affected by the weather in mid-summer and autumn period.
Moderate daytime temperatures are exerting salutary influence over the processes of photosynthesis (enrichment with organic matter). Conversely, high daytime temperatures (e.g. such as were documented during the summer of 2010) are aggravating the performance of the leaves and enrichment with organic matter. Hence You get a notable shortage of the crop.
The fruits are ripening better on condition of the average temperatures in August and September are elevated.
The most favorable conditions for the growth of wood if the average temperature in late fall is lowered and in early winter it is close to 0°C.

Frost, warmth, heat

We can sort fruit plants by its particularity about heat to be arranged in such an order.
North Zone: rowan – bird cherry – cherry crab – berry crops.
Central area: apple – cherry – plum – pear.
South Zone: cherry – quince – apricot – walnut – pecan – hazelnut – almonds – peach.
Subtropical Zone: pistachio – chestnut – Eastern persimmon – figs – olive – feijoa – tangerine – orange – lemon – avocado.

Average terms of blooming of bourgeons and blossoming of fruit and berry plants


blooming of bourgeons average term Fluctuations in the timing
The earliest The Latest
apple May 5th April 24th May 24th
pear May 7th April 22th May 24th
rowan April 29th April 15th May 7th
gooseberry May 17th April 25th June 2d
blackcurrant May 18th May 1st June 1st
pears May 21st May 5th June 4th
cherry May 22d May 6th June 5th
plums May, 23rd May 5th June 8th
apple May 24th May 6th June 6th
rowan May 29th April 11th June 17th
raspberry June 12th May 23rd July 1st
viburnum June 13th May 17th July 2d







23 Oct 2015
Pruning young trees

Caring for young fruit trees

Caring for young fruit trees

If You got a garden of young fruit trees, You should take especially reverent care for the trees as they need constant careful attention. Of course, if You put enough necessary efforts the harvest will not take long.

Plants bed out during the last season may fail to strike root for various reasons. Besides, any shortcomings in bedding out frequently affect process of further rooting and growth of the trees. It’ll be much easier to rectify these deficiencies while your fruit trees are young.  This could also be a great time to do any tree pruning at this stage.
Firstly You should take up higher every too much sunken tree. For this purpose, You should dig a trench around the trunk at a distance of 35-40 cm from it with the same depth. Then two men carefully lift up the root ball with shovels, pouring under it the nourishing soil in order that the plant should be bed out at the correct level. Still You shouldn’t overdo it, as the root collar and the roots should not be bared.
The lean of a tree is another imperfection coming from not properly puddled soil in the landing pit after bedding out the plant. The fix of the problem is simple, until the tree hasn’t grown too much. For adjusting lean tree it should be carefully pulled in the right direction via tying it to a firmly driven stake.

To straighten crooked boles (trunks) or soboles a rail should be firmly tied to the bole at the sweep area. In the summer as far as the bole would be thickening to avoid constrictions the garter should be loosen. A sweep of the bole of young plants could be fully corrected for 1-2 vegetation season.

The circles around the tree bole

On condition of proper growth by the end of the first year the roots of a fruit tree occupy the entire area of the landing pit and expand even little beyond it.

Hereafter annual growth of the root system across the whole diameter could measure up to 50-80 cm. For this reason, in the second year after bedding out diameter of the circles around the boles of apple or pear trees are usually adjusted to 2 m. With the excrescence of the crown the around the boles should be increased annually.

Throughout the spring and summer the soil around the boles should be loosen with rake to a depth of not more than 5 cm in order not to injure the delicate suction roots.

While autumn leaf fall the soil in circles should be dug up with overturning of the furrow slices. For pome fruit trees – to a depth of 15 cm, for stone fruit trees – up to 12 cm, without breaking the clods. Near the bole soil should be dug up shallow. Alongside with digging You should make a mulch of manure and peat.

In spring the soil in circles around boles should be dug up, as early as possible, and no deeper than 6-8 cm, without overturning of the furrow slices. Then the soil should be well loosen, in order that there was no large clods. On the old, well-developed soils only loosening the soil in circles around boles restricted to a depth of 7-10 cm can be recommended.

Digging the soil in circles around boles is highly recommended to perform with garden fork as it less damaging method for the tree roots.

The soil in circles around boles needs to be weeded all the summertime long, in order it would not overgrown with weeds or lawn grass. To maintain moisture and good soil structure You should mulch it with peat or sifted compost in layers of about 5 cm.

Tree Pruning


During active growth at the beginning of the summer the young fruit should be well watered. Depending on the amount of rainfall and the nature of the soil in the first half of the summer the trees should be watered from three to five times a day. In dry years, and at the south regions with a shortage of rain – up to seven – eight times or more.

Watering should be abundant, to wet the soil to a depth of at least half a meter. The average rate of quantity of water per square meter of the soil in circles around boles compiles about 2-3 buckets.

In the first year of bedding out for each watering of one plant 2-3 buckets of water should be diffused. Later on the watering rate should be increasing in the one-two buckets yearly. For a 5-6-year-old tree should be poured on average 7-8 buckets of water, and for a 8-10 year-old tree – 10-15 buckets of water. You should diffuse less water for the plants bedded out on light-textured soils, and on the contrary much more often for plants on heavy -textured soils.

In some years in the central and northern areas due to the abundance of moisture in late summer the growth of trees delayed, the wood didn’t grow ripen and perished from light frosts. To protect fruit plants, You should stop watering them in August and only in October, with the beginning of leaf fall, when autumn is dry You should proceed with supplemental irrigation – three buckets per square meter, evenly distributing moisture on the soil in circles around boles. For more information on tree pruning have a look at this great resource.




10 Apr 2014

Tree surgery in London

London Gardens

If you live in London or any other large city, your garden might not be huge.  Urban garden spaceOften houses and maisonettes in the inner London area come with a minimalist city garden or just a decked area.  This is one of the reasons why many people tend to go for houses in Zone 3 and 4 that offer that little bit more outdoor space for your money.  North London is a popular choice for reasonably priced properties that come with old established gardens.

Below is a short guide on how to have a great garden in London

If you have an established garden

If you live in London, butt have a lawn, trees and hear the birds sing in the mornings, many will consider you very fortunate.This, however, also means that your garden will require maintenance.  With close proximity of other houses it is always important to make sure your trees and their branches do not pose any risk to neighbouring properties.

Urban garden spaceLondon tree surgeons are used to working with London properties and will be able to advice on the maintenance and safety of the trees in your garden.  If a tree in your garden has become damaged and needs removing, do get in touch with one of the tree surgeons covering your area in London.  Often different parts of the city have different regulations applicable to specific areas. It is a part of the tree surgeon’s job to be aware of the local and national rules and regulations. London tree surgeons will be familiar with the local authorities’ requirements and will know if their permission is required to carry out the work.

If you want to create a garden

Do research online or ask a professional for advice on what kind of plants will work best for your space.  London tree surgeons and garden designers that are familiar with your area will be able to recommend species that will grow well in your type of garden soil.  They will also recommend trees appropriate for the space that you have.  If your garden is not large you do not want to end up with oversized trees and if you only have one tree, you want to choose an evergreen one to enjoy it all the year round.

If you have a city garden

This is normally nothing more than a small decked or concreted area.  Trees in urban gardenWith a bit of work and very little investment a city garden can become a brilliant space for entertaining or simply relaxing with a book.  Just add astro turf and one or two trees to turn an uninviting empty space into a green heaven. Any London tree surgeon will be able to advise you on which tree will not grow more than you need and will be easy to maintain.

If you have no garden

There is an excellent project called Trees for Cities that is striving to make London and other large cities greener and cleaner.  It involves volunteers who are keen on planting trees and making friends and having a great time in the process.  So far Trees for Cities staff and volunteers have planted 600,000 trees and are aiming to hit 1,000,000 by 2020.  If this sound like something you might enjoy, do get in touch as volunteers are always welcome.