If you are looking for a tree surgeon Peterborough, then it is more than likely you have come across some confusing terminology. You know that you need tree maintenance – but what is an arborist? And do you need crown thinning or a crown reduction? What even is a crown? It’s easy to get caught up with the technical words, but rest assured, tree surgeons are some of the most lovely people you will ever meet. We are here to help you figure out exactly what services you need and what to ask for.

We’ve collected a few of the most used tree surgeon jargon to help ease you into our world and when you’re ready, drop us a call on 01406 380783 to receive a free quote and expert advice for all your tree surgeon needs!


The first thing you may be asking is ‘What is an arborist?’. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an arborist as:

A person whose job is to take care of trees and make sure that they are healthy and safe, for example by cutting off branches that are damaged

Basically, an arborist is at the heart of tree surgery. You can read more about the difference between arborists and tree surgeons in our previous blog, but whichever you call us, N J Pacey‘s mission is to keep trees healthy, safe and flourishing.

Pruning & Formative Pruning

Pruning is the selective removal of certain branches, buds or roots. You may need to do this to improve the shape of a tree, for deadwood removal or for general health improvements.

Formative pruning describes the minor pruning necessary during the early years of a tree’s growth. By giving your young tree careful attention, it will enable the tree to establish the desired form and correct any weaknesses that may become a problem later in life. Get it right at the start and looking after it will be much easier!


Trimming is a common phrase, but don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what it means. In general, it describes the removal of the soft outer growth using a hedge trimmer. You will often hear this phrase in reference to trees, shrubs and hedges.

Crown Thinning

Crown thinning describes the careful removal of several branches from a tree to reduce its density. We say ‘careful‘ as arborists are strictly limited to removing no more than 30% of the foliage in a year to ensure the tree stays healthy and does not undergo tree stress.

Why would you need crown thinning?

  • To allow more light to pass through
  • To reduce wind resistance and weight

Crown Lift

A crown lift is when branches lower down are trimmed back to a particular height. Essentially, you are ‘lifting’ the crown further above the ground and increasing the space below the branches. Following the advice of The Arboricultural Association, good practice should only include smaller branches, as removing large branches growing directly from the tree could cause wounds and decaying. The crown should be left as at least two-thirds of the total height of the tree, as reducing the crown further could lead to long-term problems.

Why would you need crown lifting?

  • Increase light below the crown and closer to the tree
  • To increase the space between the tree’s branches and the ground

Crown Reduction

A crown reduction (or crown reshaping) is where the height or spread of the foliage of a tree is trimmed. The main framework of the crown should be maintained, with only the most necessary cuts being made. In general, these cuts should not exceed 100mm diameter unless absolutely necessary and, to do this, a crown reduction should be heavily specified by actual measurements. The leaf bearing structure of the tree should be maintained as much as possible, too, so to encourage dense leaf coverage alongside tree growth.

Why would you need a crown reduction?

  • Reduce stress on individual branches
  • Improve aesthetics and the shape of the overall tree
  • Increase light transmission

Tree Surgeon Peterborough

If you are in need of local commercial landscaping, get in touch with N J Pacey today. Our expert team will be able to take you through any confusing terminology and ensure you are getting an affordable, reliable and professional service. Give us a call on 01406 380783 or contact us today!