Crown reduction is 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.
Combined with some crown lifting and crown thinning the final result of a whole tree reduction can really open up the area around a tree and increase the light and feeling of space in your garden.
There is a limit to how much you can take off a tree however. A large mature tree cannot simply be hacked down to a much smaller size without causing serious long term damage and decline in the tree. 30% of the tree’s “volume” is generally regarded as the limit to how much a tree can be reduced and every cut needs to be done in the right place to avoid “die-back” and future decay.
Aesthetically, if a skilled tree surgeon reduces a tree, it should still have a natural looking appearance that respects the form and structure of that particular species. If a tree looks like it has obviously been cut back, then it’s most likely been done incorrectly. “Stubby” branches are a sure sign that whoever has cut the tree lacks the necessary knowledge and skill.