Trees are a gift. They bring beauty and shade to a yard, protect a home from elements, and even lower energy bills. But like all things, they require maintenance.
Trees need regular trimming to stay healthy and to reach their maximum potential. Few people understand that you cannot just start hacking away at random limbs on trees. Tree trimming is a science and an art.
Not trimming the tree correctly could, at best, make it look horrible and, at worst, kill it.
Before you fire up the chainsaw and sharpen your hedge trimmer, read this basic guide on how to trim trees
How to Trim Trees
Treat your tree as a living being. Every time the tree sustains a cut or a knick from a wayward mower, for example, it sustains a wound. This wound takes time to heal if it heals at all.
So when you set up to trim your tree, keep in mind that you will be causing multiple purposeful wounds on the tree. Thus you want to make your cuts as purposeful and minimal as possible.
If at any point you’re hesitant about taking care of your trees, consult a certified tree trimming service. Expert tree trimmers understand tree maintenance and how to transform dying trees into healthy trees.
If you have a small tree or shrub, you need to prune it regularly. Doing so will help the tree produce more flowers. Plus, it will keep the tree healthier and prevent any unwanted pests from taking up residence.
Here are a few basic tree trimming tips to keep in mind:
- Look for branches that cross over or rub against each other. Remove one of those branches.
- Work from the bottom up and prune the lowest limbs. This will expose more trunk.
- If you’re working on a young tree, protect the main trunk from competing limbs. If you see a second limb that is lopsided, crooked, or in any way defective, remove it.
- Use small pruning shears to clip off “suckers” or small little branches that shoot from the base of the tree.
- Leave your chainsaw in the garage and opt for a tree saw or pruning shears. A chainsaw will ruin the form of your tree and cause long-term problems.
- Regularly remove damaged, dead, or diseased wood.
These simple decisions will help you maintain your tree. When it’s time to take the big plunge and cut off an entire limb, avoid cutting it too close to its trunk. Look for the natural collar where the branch forks away from the tree, and make your cut outside of this bulge.
Start your cut approximately an inch from the collar. Cut upward a third of the way through your branch. Then move out another inch and cut down to finish the cut.
After you remove the branch, trim the branch to the collars.
When to Trim Trees
You can trim your trees in any season, but you should do so purposefully. Each season lends itself to particular types of pruning and trimming. Here’s the breakdown.
- Spring: Trim back perennial plants to encourage new growth and deadhead your spent blooms.
- Summer: Prune trees with edibles like fruit trees by thinning out the dense canopy. Keep your clipping to a minimum. Avoid trimming trees in the summer except when you need to clip back suckers at the base of the tree.
- Fall: Once leaves fall from your trees, cut dead and diseased branches. Use a hand pruner as much as possible to create as small of wounds as possible. Do this work early in the season giving trees maximum time to heal.
- Winter: Prune trees when they’re dormant in the winter. Focus on if the tree is dead, diseased, or damaged, and then prune back these limbs.
Technically you can trim your trees in any season. If you wait until fall or winter, though, you give your trees the best opportunity to heal in their dormant state.
Why Trim Trees
Big, shady trees have long been proven to lower energy bills. They offer a respite from the heat over your home and in your yard. Yet you still want to keep them trimmed.
Your tree will look better and perform better when you prune it. When you trim back branches that rub against each other, you give the tree room to grow. When you open the canopy and let light and air in, you reduce the possibility of disease and maximize the possibility of growth and foliage.
When you trim back the suckers at the base of the tree, you allow the growth to go into the trunk. This ultimately creates a stronger tree that can withstand storms and strong winds.
Trimming your trees also makes for a safer environment. Trimmed trees are stronger, healthier trees. Diseased, dying trees have weak branches, hanging precariously and waiting to fall on unsuspecting people, buildings, and vehicles.
You also want to keep your trees trimmed if they’re growing too close to power lines. If you do not trim your tree, it could cause electrical grid issues not to mention a safety hazard for people walking by the tree.
Avoid Danger, Minimize Risk
Professional tree trimmers cost money. Thus, you may be tempted to trim your own tree or hire a do-it-yourselfer that lives in your neighborhood.
Remember that non-certified trimmers may save you money, but they often do not have proper insurance or training. They can actually cost more in the end when you have to pay to have a damaged tree removed.
Do not give in to the temptation to just wing it when you trim your tree. Call a professional arborist that is licensed, insured, and bonded. These tree pros know how to trim trees.
If you need your trees trimmed or any other arbor services performed, contact us. We are your local tree expert and would love to help.