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Tree Faeries

Tree surgery and felling

Perimeter trees becoming too big, blocking out light or dangerously overhanging your prize greenhouse? Bring in the tree faeries!

Rope access and delicate tree surgery or felling jobs are our speciality. Quiet and tidy work (except for the largest trees, cordless chainsaws or hand tools are used for all off-ground work), no heavy machinery, no damage, no machismo, minimal carbon footprint, no mess. You'll hardly know the faeries have been!

Rates: Off-ground work from €400.00/day; ground-only work from €250.00/day. Quotes available upon request.

Unless the client requests otherwise, all felled wood is logged up for firewood (note: the chopping of the logs has to be done by the client!).


Minimalist approach

Less means more! The tree faerie approach is always to save what we can. Crown lifting (taking out lower branches to let in more light) or removal of problem limbs is nearly always preferable to felling the complete tree. Felling is only recommended where trees have clearly outgrown their situation, are becoming hazardous or are going to die as a result of inappropriate work carried out in the past (see Tree topping below), or need thinning because there are too many trees for the space available.


Positive outcomes for planet earth!

The tree fairies work to strict ethical criteria and only take on jobs for which there is a clear positive outcome for the planet in terms of sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. All jobs entail some ecological costs (for example the greenhouse gas emissions associated with travelling to the site or with the manufacture of equipment used) but where the timber felled is used for fuel the resultant saving in fossil fuels usually offsets the ecological cost of the job. Of course burning timber produces greenhouse gases too, but where the timber has been grown on site the additional emissions associated with getting that fuel into the home are very low compared to those associated with the industrial extraction, refining and transportation of fossil fuels or peat (or even when compared to timber grown somewhere else). If you would like this explained in more detail, please contact us by email.


Respect for the environment

All tree faerie work is predicated upon minimising environmental impact, hence minimal greenhouse gas emissions and low or zero on-site ecological impact. For this reason, except in special cases (for example projects of particularly high sensitivity) we only take on jobs within one hour's driving time of the nursery (4km south of Charlestown).*

*The area within this circle includes north county Galway, most of Roscommon, Leitrim south of Drumshambo, county Sligo south of Sligo town and all of Mayo except the westernmost areas.


Tree topping

Except in rare cases (for example tidying up damage caused by wind or lightening) we generally do not undertake tree topping: for the simple reason it usually does not work! Most trees are unable to properly heal big horizontal cuts, which when left unsealed provide entry points for decay organisms which will eventually kill the tree. Where the cuts are sealed with commercial sealant, the sealant will weather and crack and would need to be reapplied every year in order to do its job. Even where the cut is successfully sealed the subsequent rampant growth of new shoots at topping height has to be carefully managed for a number of years (eventually being thinned to a new leader). As an approximate rule of thumb, unless there is a lot of follow-up remedial work, anything larger than 12-15cm diameter at the proposed topping height is too probably too large to top.

In the case of conifers, with the possible exception of Leylandii topped trees almost never recover. They begin dying from the top downwards almost immediately, usually dying completely within a few years and eventually (as the wood decays) becoming hazardous. Conifers that have been subjected to topping MUST be felled. The easiest way to identify the cowboys in the tree surgery game is to ask their advice on topping conifers. If they recommend topping, then they're cowboys! They might have mastered how use a chainsaw but they don't know the first thing about trees.


Orchard rehabilitation and restoration

The majority of neglected fruit or nut trees can be brought back to useful productivity and in many cases will remain productive for decades. Full rehabilitation normally takes 4-8 years. However, the bulk of the rehabilitation work (which typically might be 1-2 hours per tree, per year) takes place in the first 2 years and much of the subsequent work can be undertaken by the owner. Prices from about €250.00/day.


Araucarias (Monkey Puzzles)

Araucaria araucana, better known as the Monkey Puzzle tree, is one of the surviving members of an ancient genera of tree dating back more than 200 million years. It forms a majestic and potentially long lived tree: in its native environment in southern Chile it can live for over 1000 years! The trees are dioecious, meaning there are female and male trees (relatively unusual in the tree world). The female trees produce cones containing large edible seeds, suitable for roasting or baking. In a good year, a mature female tree can produce up to 50kg of seed.

Monkey Puzzle trees can withstand strong winds, coastal exposure and high rainfall but in the Irish climate are vulnerable to anaerobic soil conditions and also to the indigenous honey fungus. We are happy to advise on how to improve micro-climatic conditions and carry out any necessary remedial work.


View from the top of one of Ireland's largest and oldest araucaria trees, showing mature cones (photo Andi Wilson)


For quotations and more information

Quotes are exclusive of VAT @ 23% but include all costs associated with the job. Clients can rest assured there will be no unexpected additional costs added to the bill when the work is completed! Quotes are based on the scale and complexity of the operation and also the distance travelled to access the site.

Phone: 087 6714075
email: office (at)