We all know what a facelift is, but have you heard of a crown lift? We’re talking about trees rather than ageing celebrities – but what is crown lifting, exactly?
Also called canopy raising, it’s the simple act of removing certain lower-laying levels of the crown to the desired, required or recommended specification. It’s done to ‘lift’ the crown, or extend the trunk portion of the tree depending on which way you look at it, for pedestrian traffic, other access and visibility purposes and also purely aesthetic reasons.
But there are other benefits of tree crown lifting, too:
1. It’s good for trees
Sometimes, nature doesn’t get it quite right. An uncontrolled, heavy, wild or even sagging tree canopy is sometimes bad for a tree, because the denseness of the canopy can deprive the tree from getting the energy resources it needs and put extra strain on the tree’s ability to thrive. Deciding to crown lift a tree may also benefit the trees, plants and grass around or especially under the tree for the same reasons.
2. It’s safer
Have you ever bumped your head on a branch, or scratched or bruised yourself while trying to navigate the lower-lying parts of the crown/canopy? Raising the tree crown is simply the easiest and most logical course of action, especially when you consider that the most stressed lower parts of the canopy are likely going to be the first to snap off in an unsafe and uncontrolled manner in strong winds.
3. It looks better
Prior to crown lifting, a tree in its wild state can look like a schoolboy who needs a haircut – scruffy. Not just that, it affects and can even block the view of the properties and features around it, meaning a timely crown lift can enhance the look and feel of your space – and even make it look more vast. Not just that, the lower levels of a tree canopy can appear distinctly unkempt, but after the crown of a tree is lifted, the leaves take on a whole new lacy and elegant look and feel.
How is tree crown lifting done?
If you’ve decided to crown lift a tree at your place, the first step is correctly assessing just how high the lift needs to be. Is it just to allow a person to navigate below it, or should it be a little higher or lower than that? Bear in mind that removing too many lower layers can be very bad for the tree, leaving wounds, opening up the risk of decay, tree pest infestation and even causing tree failure.
- Remove the lowest-laying branches for a start, starting with the biggest ones. Is that enough?
- Ensure your cuts are clean, complete, leave a slight gap before the trunk, and are slightly slanted
- Keep standing back to produce a nice, balanced crown shape.
Oops!: Mistakes to avoid in tree crown lifting
There’s no doubt about it: Tree crown lifting is a highly effective and in fact critical way to safeguard and enhance your tree’s health – not to mention the look of your all-important at-home landscape. Having said that, tree crown lifting is a delicate process that can easily go wrong without experience, skills or the right tips.
You asked, and now we deliver: a full rundown of common mistakes to steer clear of when tree crown lifting:
All the do’s and dont’s of canopy management
- Don’t overprune: Probably the most critical error is overpruning – or simply removing too many branches than is optimal. This stresses the tree and makes it vulnerable to decay and disease, so as a rule of thumb, remove no more than 25% of the crown in one hit.
- Remember the species: There are a lot of tree species, and many of them have very different needs when it comes to pruning.
- No flat-tops: Steer clear of cutting your tree crown so much that it’s left looking like an unfashionable flat-top haircut. It doesn’t just look back, it hurts your tree’s health & structure.
- Don’t ignore the collar: Watch out for that unmistakable swelling where the branch joins the trunk. Cut too close to the trunk or leave too much of a stub and healing will be much more difficult.
- Avoid uneven pruning: Overpruning is a no-no, but so is cutting that crown into an uneven shape. It’s got to stay balanced, otherwise, the weight will be wrongly distributed and branches could break off.
- Don’t get the timing wrong: Only prune your tree’s crown in its dormant season, or you could trigger surging growth that’s too much for the tree to handle.
- No blunt tools: Clean, crisp cuts are critical to avoid infection – so keep those tools brand new or newly sharpened.
- Don’t prune in the rain: Do your pruning in a downpour, or even when there’s a risk of imminent dampness, and you’re inviting tree pests and diseases.
- Don’t forget the wildlife: Before getting started, have you checked for nests or other wildlife? You want to look after your tree but don’t hurt other critters in the process.
- No unnecessary danger: Have you forgotten your protective gear? On second thoughts, it’s probably time to think about finding a trained, experienced & skilled arborist who’s up to the task – to look after your tree as well as everyone else.
Treat the crown of your tree like a king!
Would you prefer to put your tree’s crown lifting in the hands of actual Gold Coast tree pruning experts? Amateur pruning of any type can be unsafe, bad for the tree, and even open up legal or liability issues – not to mention absolutely ruin the look of your once-beloved tree. JC Tree Services’ skilled and licensed local arborists can visit your place all over the Gold Coast, Brisbane Southside and even out to northern NSW with all the best advice, techniques and specialised equipment to do the job right the first time. Look after your trees and your peace of mind by giving JC Tree Services a call today.