7 Tree Trimming Tips For Beginners

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When I bought a house with a cherry blossom tree in the front yard, I couldn't wait for that first blooming season to see the tree fill out. I knew that the tree needed care, but I wasn't sure how I was supposed to treat it. I called my local tree service and had them show me what it needed to keep it strong. I took all of the information they shared with me and everything else I've learned and created this site. I hope that the information here helps you take care of your blossoming trees so that you can enjoy their beauty every season.

7 Tree Trimming Tips For Beginners

10 August 2023
 Categories: , Blog

Tree trimming, when done right, can enhance the health, appearance, and longevity of trees. However, when approached without the proper knowledge or preparation, one might unknowingly harm the tree or even create a safety hazard. If you're new to tree trimming, here are some crucial tips to help you sidestep common mistakes. 

Over-Trimming: Less Is Often More

One of the most frequent mistakes beginners make is removing too many branches, which can leave the tree weak and exposed. As a general rule, never remove more than 25% of a tree's canopy in a single session. It's always better to trim conservatively and assess before making additional cuts.

Avoid "Topping" the Tree

"Topping" or cutting off the main tree branches to stubs is a misguided practice. This not only mars the tree's natural shape but also makes it more susceptible to diseases and pests. Instead, focus on selective trimming to maintain the tree's structure and health.

Using Dull or Inappropriate Tools

Just as a chef values a sharp knife, the right tools are essential for tree trimming. Dull blades can cause jagged cuts or injure the tree, slowing down the healing process. Ensure your tools are sharp, clean, and suitable for the size and type of branch you're cutting.

Neglecting Safety Precautions

Tree trimming can be risky, especially when dealing with tall trees or those near power lines. Always wear protective gear like gloves, safety goggles, and a hard hat. If a branch seems out of reach, resist the urge to overextend on a ladder. Instead, consider hiring a professional for challenging trims.

Trimming at the Wrong Time

While trees can be trimmed at any time of the year, there are optimal seasons for different tree types. For instance, it's best to trim flowering trees right after their blooming cycle. Research or consult an arborist to determine the best trimming time for specific trees.

Improper Cutting Technique

Where and how you make the cut matters. Avoid cutting too close to the trunk (known as a flush cut) as it can damage the tree's natural protective barrier. Instead, aim for a cut outside the branch collar, which promotes faster healing.

Overlooking Tree Health

Before you trim, assess the tree's health. Avoid trimming a stressed or newly planted tree, as trimming can further strain it. If unsure about the tree's health, consider consulting an arborist.

Contact a local tree service if you feel uncomfortable doing the job on your own.