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Arboriculture/Tree Surgery

​Arboriculture/Tree Surgery at Hislop & Co

Hislop & Co has a dedicated Tree Surgery Division with the specialist ‘knowledge and knowhow’ to deliver all aspects of arboriculture to ensure that your landscaped grounds or residential gardens are kept safe from hazardous trees, and aesthetically pleasing.

Each piece of work is as unique as the tree itself. Our tree surgeons will provide advice and communicate the steps required to manage your tree in a safe, aesthetic and legally legitimate way. We will arrange for any necessary checks & permissions with the local authority.

All site staff are DBS checked and also provided with specific training for the use of specialist equipment such as chainsaws, chippers and stump grinders.

Arboricultural management staff hold professional tree inspection qualifications enabling us to carry out detailed tree inspections and write recommendation reports. We also have experience in consulting for commercial clients with large tree stocks where we have been required to recommend necessary action in order to maintain a safe environment for the public and staff working within these grounds. Our Team Leaders also hold a formal qualification in arboriculture to advise clients on specialist pieces of work. Training is provided by accredited third parties and in-house by our own Health and Safety Officer for first aid, manual handling and driver awareness.

  • Crown Thinning & Reduction
  • Tree Bracing Systems
  • Tree & Sectional Felling
  • Coppicing & Pollarding
  • Chipping & Logging
  • Stump Removal
  • Tree Supply & Planting
  • Formative Pruning
  • Dead Wooding
  • Tree Surveys & Reporting
  • Tree Management Planning
  • 24hr Emergency Call Out
  • Hedge Planting & Cutting
  • Hedge Cutting & Shaping
  • Environmentally Friendly Green Waste Removal

Residential Trees

Residential Trees


Tree Surgery Hertfordshire
Tree Surgery Bedfordshire
Tree Surgery Buckinghamshire
Tree Surgery North London
Tree Surgery Hertfordshire
Tree Surgery Bedfordshire
Tree Surgery Buckinghamshire
Tree Surgery North London
Tree Surgery Hertfordshire
Tree Surgery Bedfordshire
Tree Surgery Buckinghamshire
Tree Surgery North London
Tree Surgery Hertfordshire
Tree Surgery Bedfordshire

Explanation of Terms

Listed below is a list of terms and what they mean!


Tree felling in one is undertaken at ground level and requires a designated area for the tree to fall safely into. If the tree has a perfectly balanced canopy and there is no wind, then the tree surgeon will undertake a series of cuts to the base of the tree causing it to fall into the designated area. Once on the floor, the tree team will proceed to dismantle the tree for removal off site.

If the tree to be felled has an unbalanced canopy or there is wind, then a rope will be installed into the tree. This may be done by a climber but can also be achieved from ground level with a throw line, a small bag filled with lead and fine line, which is thrown into the canopy as high as possible. The throw line is used to install a larger pulling line that can be used to aid the tree’s fall into the felling zone. If there were a considerable issue of the tree being un-balanced then a winch can be added to the rope to ensure that the tree falls in the correct direction.

In most urban situations sectional felling is normally the only option, as hazards or obstacles are often within close proximity to the tree. The operation of sectional felling to remove trees can take more time than other work plans but offers much more precision and control. It is often the only way to achieve safe removal of a tree without high risk to life and limb, or damage to surrounding property.

The operation of sectional felling is undertaken as follows: the climber will access the highest / safest point of the tree and install his climbing line, rigging block and bull line (pulley and lowering line). Once these are installed the tree surgeon will then decide where to start dismantling – this is usually the lowest branch. All the cut material is lowered to the ground with a great deal of care and precision, the ground crew run the lowering rope through a friction device to aid in taking the full weight of the branch. This process then gets repeated until all the side branches are removed.

Once all the side growth has been removed, the climber / tree surgeon will then start ‘topping down’ the stem in sections. This is quite difficult to undertake and requires good communication between climber and ground crew because the cut timber is within close proximity to the climber. Once cut, the climber will push the cut section off the top and it will then be under the control of the ground crew, who will lower it to the ground and avoid ‘shock loading’ the tree and lowering equipment. This is very important as shock loading an unsound tree could have dangerous consequences and cause the structure to fail.

Non-living branches or stems due to natural ageing or external influences. Deadwood provides essential habitats and its management should aim to leave as much as possible, shortening or removing only those that pose a risk. Durability and retention of deadwood will vary by tree species.

When we are hired for a tree removal, the smaller branches that are cut off the trunk of the tree are put through the chipper, which chips the branches and turns them into wood chips (mulch).

After the limbs are removed and a tree is cut down, bucking is the process of cutting the main trunk of the tree into 12 to 16 inch lengths.

When a stump needs to be removed, we use a grinder to remove it. Stump grinders come in various sizes and have various capabilities. Some are more powerful than others. Some have better grinding depth than others. And some are designed for access into difficult locations. The machines have a thick, high-speed, rotating blade with many tungsten carbide teeth that can withstand the dulling effects of dirt and rock, unlike a chainsaw chain. The blade rotates quickly, the teeth shredding the wood from the stump as it goes. Grinding is the quickest and most effective way of removing a stump, as we can grind down 12 inches into the ground, which allows for the replanting of a new tree.

The stump core is the centre of the stump, the part that is solid. All roots extend from the stump core. When we grind a tree stump, we wipe out the core and grind out the major surface roots, leaving the deeper underground roots behind to rot.

Coppicing is the cutting down of a tree within 300mm (12in) of the ground at regular intervals, traditionally applied to certain species such as Hazel and Sweet Chestnut to provide stakes etc.

Pollarding is the initial removal of the top of a young tree at a prescribed height to encourage multi-stem branching from that point. Once started, it should be repeated on a cyclical basis always retaining the initial pollard point.

Bracing is a term used to describe the installation of cables, ropes and/or belts to reduce the probability of failure of one or more parts of the tree structure due to weakened elements under excessive movement.

Crown lifting is the removal of the lowest branches and/or preparing of lower branches for future removal. Good practice dictates crown lifting should not normally include the removal of large branches growing directly from the trunk as this can cause large wounds which can become extensively decayed leading to further long term problems or more short term biomechanical instability. Crown lifting on older, mature trees should be avoided or restricted to secondary branches or shortening of primary branches rather than the whole removal wherever possible. Crown lifting is an effective method of increasing light transmission to areas closer to the tree or to enable access under the crown but should be restricted to less than 15% of the live crown height and leave the crown at least two thirds of the total height of the tree. Crown lifting should be specified with reference to a fixed point, e.g. ‘crown lift to give 5.5m clearance above ground level’.

Crown thinning is the removal of a portion of smaller/tertiary branches, usually at the outer crown, to produce a uniform density of foliage around an evenly spaced branch structure. It is usually confined to broad-leaved species. Crown thinning does not alter the overall size or shape of the tree. Material should be removed systematically throughout the tree, should not exceed the stated percentage and not more than 30% overall. Common reasons for crown thinning are to allow more light to pass through the tree, reduce wind resistance, reduce weight (but this does not necessarily reduce leverage on the structure) and is rarely a once-only operation particularly on species that are known to produce large amounts of epicormic growth.

The reduction in height and/or spread of the crown (the foliage bearing portions) of a tree. Crown reduction may be used to reduce mechanical stress on individual branches or the whole tree, make the tree more suited to its immediate environment or to reduce the effects of shading and light loss, etc. The final result should retain the main framework of the crown, and so a significant proportion of the leaf bearing structure, and leave a similar, although smaller outline, and not necessarily achieve symmetry for its own sake. Crown reduction cuts should be as small as possible and in general not exceed 100mm diameter unless there is an overriding need to do so. Not all species are suitable for this treatment and crown reduction should not be confused with ‘topping’, an indiscriminate and harmful treatment.

Minor pruning during the early years of a tree’s growth to establish the desired form and/or to correct defects or weaknesses that may affect structure in later life.

New property owners often find themselves having to tackle an overgrown neglected hedge. If the hedge is of the deciduous type, there are two choices, depending on the specific plant involved. If the hedge is not too badly overgrown, a ‘minor cutback’ allows a new outside layer to form, which may be pruned to the desired size in several stages. If the hedge is badly overgrown, some plant species may be completely cut back to within 6-12 inches of the ground. However, not all plant species will respond favourably to this treatment. In many cases the entire hedge will be removed and replanted with more suitable hedging plants.