Tree from A to Z

Frequently asked questions in a nutshell.

In one of Katsushika Hokusai's prints, three men are seen working with ropes in a tree against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. On the evidence of their clothing, they belong to the Sora-Shi ethnic group,  空師, which literally means “people of heaven.” This is the group from which the shoguns, the leaders of the samurai, recruited their ninjas.


When the old power structures changed at the end of the 18th century and the services of the ninjas were no longer in such demand, they had to look for new fields of activity. So they started doing rope work at height, such as on rocks or trees.

So people who work in trees are a little bit ninja - just in high-viz vests.

A tree consists of two parts: one above ground - the trunk and the crown - and one below ground - the roots.There is a dynamic balance between these two parts. If you now reduce the crown substantially, that sends a signal to the tree to sprout strongly in that location in order to restore the balance. Radical measures thus often lead to the opposite effect from the one intended and to high follow-up costs. We therefore recommend moderate interventions over a longer period of time. This has a more lasting effect without destroying the natural habitus of the tree which would be the case with capping.

With rope-climbing techniques we are to climb to reach all areas of the crown. In this way we can reach the target areas of the crown and carry out a moderate reduction. A well-considered intervention does not over-stimulate the tree to leaf out and so such a measure is more sustainable and makes greater sense.

A bright green lawn has indeed no place under a tree. Nitrogen fertilisation, which it takes to achieve this, induces drought stress in the tree. It makes much more sense to consider alternatives, be it a shady lawn or a generous area of ground-cover planting around the tree. Not only is this beautiful but it also allows organic matter to decompose, improving soil structure.

Ivy is an important habitat for insects and birds. However, if it gets the upper hand and stifles the entire crown, there may be competition for light and branches may break as a result of overloading and increased surface exposure to wind. We advise a periodical cutting back of the ivy down to the trunk - but it goes without saying that our timing takes the breeding season into account.

A fungal fruiting body can be an alarm signal but is not necessarily so. Not all fungi degrade living wood, and some also colonise dead wood. Whatever the case, it is important to consult a specialist if you notice changes in your tree, such as fruiting bodies. These then need to be identified and any necessary measures decided upon.

We would be happy to offer you our advice regarding your trees.