Forestry Services in West Sussex | Forest Thinning and Harvesting


D. Howick Tree Surgery is an accredited CHAS, FCA and FISA business with the qualifications needed to provide safe, ethical forestry services in the West Sussex area. Forestry work has many crossovers with site clearance and woodland management work. It requires the skills of trained arborists and tree surgeons with experience in plant and machinery use. We are here to help landowners, estate owners and agricultural clients with their operations.


This page explains the thinning and harvesting side of our forestry services.


Thinning as part of a site clearance optimises profitability for our West Sussex clients. Sales from timber harvesting have exemptions from tax subject to limitations. It is best to describe thinning as a tree surgery and woodland management practice where the removal of inferior limbs promotes stronger and sturdier fresh growth. Our forestry services include thinning as part of the crop rotation to increase yields and sustain profitability.


Our tree surgeons use thinning up to five times in a rotation based on productivity. A detailed woodland management plan establishes a schedule to provide financial benefits for land, estate or forestry owners in West Sussex.


The benefits of our forestry services include:


• Correct and ethical crop management

• Tax-free income from the sale of timber

• Increase in value of the remaining crop

• Growth of remaining trees for more harvests

• Faster completion of site clearances


D. Howick Tree Surgery reminds its West Sussex clients that a disregard for thinning results in trees of a smaller size per hectare. Without thinning included as part of a woodland management plan, reduced growth reduces the overall value of clear felling – a practice that harvests timber at the very end of the crop rotation cycle for future tender and sale.


Our tree surgeons advise that clear felling and harvesting varies from the 30th year to the 50th based on the types of native species found in woodland.


Plans, Licences and Thinning Techniques


Plan to thin the crop for the first time after 10 years. As a part of our forestry services, D. Howick Tree Surgery cuts inspection paths across land in West Sussex to gain access to the crop, to check on its productivity and to make projections on the first cycle of thinning. We can include thinning in your woodland management plan. The creation of the inspection path requires our tree surgeons to remove branches, to head height, between two lines of trees.


Woodland management plans require approval for the inspection path, which is not the same as a site clearance and needs a felling licence. The relevant authority issues this licence for periods of up to 10 years. We cannot provide some forestry services until the landowner has a licence. D. Howick Tree Surgery applies for the licence when submitting woodland management plans on behalf of its West Sussex clients.


The most common type of thinning used in our forestry services is the 1-in-7 plus selection. Our tree surgeons remove one out of every seven lines of trees to create access then select individual trees of inferior quality, intermittently, for removal. We use directional felling for this type of tree removal, a practice that creates notches in the trunk with a chainsaw to control the direction of the fall in such a way as to protect healthier trees and buildings.


Mechanical thinning from D. Howick Tree Surgery, as part of a woodland management plan, requires a specialist harvesting head on purpose-built plant. We remove timber from land in the West Sussex area to the roadside with a forwarder for resale.


Timber harvesting, in itself, is an inadvertent form of site clearance. We can help with the tender and sale of harvested timber to optimise crop profitability.

Contact us on 01403 740094 or 07716 128891 for woodland management and site clearance services in West Sussex.

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