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Crown Thinning

Looking for Crown Thinning in London?

What is Crown Thinning?

Crown thinning is the process of removing the inner branches of a tree’s crown, in an even fashion. This allows light and air  to move freely through the canopy which, in turn, keeps the foliage drier, discouraging diseases and infestations.

Crown thinning before and after

crown thinning beforecrown thinning after

On the left you can see an overgrown crown with tightly crowded branches. On the right you’ll notice a lot more space between branches, allowing airflow and healthier growth.


When do tree crowns need thinning?

Thinning can also be used to reduce limb weight on mature tree, in order to compensate for structural defects such as cracks, hollows and cavities. This involves the selective removal of secondary branches within the crown to open up the tree. Crossing and competing branches are mostly removed, which reduces the risk of infection through abrasions in the bark, where it has been rubbed off.

Thinning also reduces the risk of wind throw (branches snapping off due to heavy winds).

Unfortunately, a lot of tree surgeons misunderstand the reasons for thinning by only removing branches from the interior of the canopy. This is often referred to as lion tailing. Little or nothing is removed from the ends of the limbs, resulting in too much weight being concentrated at the ends of the branches, which causes limbs to over elongate. It can also cause excessive epicormic growth – where branches inherently become weaker.

Hence, thinning evenly allows to transform a tree from being a huge, messy bush-like structure to being a monument of nature, where the beauty of the bark and branch structure can be much more visible and emphasized next to the foliage. It also allows more light in, around and under the tree, particularly valuable in small urban gardens, were light is scarce.

Crown Thinning FAQs

Crown thinning is the process of removing selected branches from a tree’s crown. By thinning the crown, light and air is able to circulate throughout the tree’s canopy, improving its health. This is achieved while keeping the overall shape of the tree unchanged.
The crown is the top part of the, tree where branches extend out from the stem.
As a tree grows its canopy gets denser and heavier. This can reduce airflow within the canopy and prevent light getting to some of the leaves, both of which can impact the tree’s health. By reducing the weight of the canopy, pressure is reduced on the trunk and branches. Again, this helps the tree to stay stronger.
Yes: tree topping involves removing the tops of whole branches, whereas crown thinning is the more strategic tidying of the crown. Crown thinning promotes healthier growth and is more sustainable in the long term.
Our quote will depend on the amount of work that needs doing, the number of trees, and the overall complexity of the task. During our no-obligation quote process, one of our team will talk you through the potential costs so you have an understanding of how much you’ll pay.

Areas we cover

London Crown Thinning

Our main areas are Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham, but we offer Crown Thinning in the following areas:

BR1. Bickley, Sundridge.

BR2. Bromley Common, Hayes, Shortlands, Keston, Leaves Green.

BR3. Beckenham, Eden Park, Park Langley.

BR4. West Wickham.

BR5. Petts Wood, Ruxley.

BR6. Orpington, Locksbottom, Farnborough, Green Street Green, Chelsfield, Downe, Pratts Bottom, Well Hill.

BR7. Chislehurst, Elmstead.

SE1, SE11, SE16, SE17. Lambeth, Southwark

SE2, SE18, SE28. Bexley, Greenwich

SE3. Blackheath

SE4. Brockley, Crofton Park

SE5. Camberwell, Denmark Hill

SE6. Catford, Hither Green

SE7. Greenwich, Charlton

SE8. Deptford, Evelyn

SE9. Eltham, Mottingham, Kidbrooke, Shooters Hill, New Eltham

SE10. Maze Hill, Greenwich

SE12, SE13. Lewisham

SE14. Lewisham, New Cross, Telegraph Hill

SE15. Peckham, Nunhead

SE19, SE20, SE26. Sydenham, Crystal Palace

SE21, SE22, SE24. Dulwich, Dulwich village, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill

SE23. Forest Hill, Honor Oak 

SE25, SE27. South Norwood, West Norwood, Gypsy Hill

SW2. Tulse Hill, Streatham Hill

SW4, SW8, SW9, SW16. Lambeth, Stockwell, South Lambeth, Pollards Hill

TN13. Sevenoaks, Dunton Green, Riverhead

TN14. Cudham, Knockholt, Shoreham, Otford

TN16. Westerham, Biggin Hill, Tatsfield

CR0. Croydon, Sutton

CR2. Sanderstead, Selsdon.

CR3. Caterham, Chaldon, Woldingham.

CR5. Coulsdon, Chipstead.

CR6. Warlingham.

CR8. Purley, Kenley

Can’t find your area? Get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.


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