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London plane tree pruning

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What’s the Best Time of Year for London Plane Tree Pruning?

When should you prune a London plane tree? Why is London plane tree pruning important? And what are the most common London plane tree diseases? For all you need to know, read on…

London plane is a tree that’s not native to the UK but has become popular thanks to its resistance to pollution and ability to adapt to urban conditions. Scientifically known as Platanus x hispanica, it is thought that the London plane is a hybrid of the American plane and the oriental plane and that it arrived here in the UK from Spain in the 17th century.

A London plane tree will usually grow to 35 metres in height and can live for hundreds of years. It is denoted by its olive coloured bark and sycamore-like leaves that transform into a splendid orange-yellow colour in the autumn.

London plane is the most prevalent tree in the city of London. It’s pollution-coping abilities make it ideal for the Capital where it adorns parks and streets.

Why prune a London plane tree?    

The London plane, alongside other plane trees, benefits from formative pruning. Training or pollarding will allow the tree to form an attractive canopy or espalier. The timing of the pruning is important depending on what you are looking to achieve.

When is the best time for London plane tree pruning?

If you want to promote a tall trunk then the best time to prune a London plane tree is in June, removing the lowest branches.

When you are looking to refine the shape of the crown and undertake formative pruning, the best time to do this is between October and February. You can create a nice canopy by cutting back the young shoots that developed in the summer. Always be sure to avoid pruning during frosts as this will cause damage to the tree.

For young trees that need shaping, September is a good time as it’s easier to see the shape you are creating with the leaves still intact.

Where you spot diseased or damaged branches that could be posing a hazard, these can be removed at any time of the year.

What to look for when pruning a London plane tree

The London plane is known to be susceptible to plane anthracnose. This is a fungal disease that leads to shoot dieback and premature leaf fall. The effects are unsightly, however the trees usually do recover. Look out for young shoots dying off shortly after they flush; brown lesions on the leaves and premature leaf loss between spring and early summer.

Tree Preservation Orders

Never go ahead with any tree work without first checking whether there is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in place. If there is then you will need to apply to the local authority for permission to carry out works. This permission could take up to eight weeks to be granted. Also, if the tree is situated in a conservation area, you’ll need permission before undertaking works of any kind.

The importance of London plane tree pruning expertise

If you are eager to ensure your London plane tree is pruned to perfection then your best bet is to engage a qualified tree surgeon.

Tree surgeons are professionally qualified and they know precisely when and how to carry out London plane tree pruning in order to meet your specific objectives. They’ll also be knowledgeable enough to identify and deal with any signs of disease.

When selecting a tree surgeon, ask to see checkable references and certificates so you can be assured of the qualifications they say they have. It’s also a good idea to request sight of insurance documents for reassurance you are covered for the work being carried out. In addition, if possible, try to choose a tree surgeon with Trading Standards and local authority approval for a guarantee of the utmost quality and value for money.

If you have a London plane tree that needs pruning, why not speak to T.H. Tree Services? As fully qualified and long term experienced Trading Standards and local authority approved tree surgeons, we can offer specialist knowledge across all aspects of London plane tree pruning. For a free, no-obligation quotation, contact our friendly experts on 01268 642814 or get in touch here.

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