Want to know how to become a master at trimming trees? Here is what you can do. 

Tree trimming is sometimes a scary task for gardeners, especially for newbies. But it is an easy task if you can do it correctly. An indiscriminate and unknowledgeable tree trimming can kill a tree, and it’s dangerous to have this around. It is costly to remove or replace a tree and doing so can reduce your property’s value. 

Tree trimming is an essential part of caring for trees and you need to do it the right way to make sure your tree stays healthy. Here you can learn the essential tips to become a master at trimming trees like us.  

Why Should You Trim Trees?

A protective and proactive homeowner should start tree trimming when it starts to grow lots of branches. All the diseased, dead, and broken branches need to be removed immediately to keep the tree healthy. 

People think to trim trees, usually when a storm or growth causes the tree ‘s branches to get in the way. Other reasons may be to encourage flowers and fruit production, start new growth, prevent tree diseases from getting better airflow, or simply shape trees to make them look beautiful. 

When Should You Trim Trees?

There is never a bad time to trim the dead, damaged, and diseased branches. But most benefits from cutting comes during dormancy. So, the ideal time for pruning should be in mid to late winter. Tree trimming during dormancy reduces the risk of disease and pest infestations in open-cut wounds.

It encourages new healthy growth when the weather begins to warm, and the lack of leaves helps to identify required branches and limbs for trimming. If you need to cut dead branches, then don’t worry; you can still do it. Just try to avoid the rainy season when the weather is wet or super humid outside. 

Tree Trimming Tools

When it comes to trimming trees, you should use quality tools to do it perfectly. You should make sure your tools are sharp, rust-free, and clean before any cuts. As dull tools can damage your tree’s cut and the cut of your tree or dirty blades can spread disease and infections to open wounds. Here are the tools you can use, 

  • Pole saw attachment for trimmer
  • Chainsaw
  • Loppers
  • Hand pruners
  • Safety glasses and gloves

Tree Pruning Methods

There are many ways to upgrade trees’ health and shape by trimming them in the right way. The goal is to create good air circulation, attractive qualities and strength. People generally use the four most popular tree trimming methods: crown thinning, crown raising, crown reduction, and crown cleaning.

You will notice that each method has the name crown because it’s essential to produce leaves for photosynthesis. Without a strong, healthy crown, a tree will get weaker over time. 

Crown Thinning

Thinning the crown means trimming a tree to remove specific live branches to lessen the tree’s density. It is the most common thing that is performed in every mature tree. The goal is to be consistent throughout the tree and not to change any shape or size. You should remove only 10 to 20 percent of the branches to maintain a healthy shape.

  • For large trees, trimming 1 to 4-inch diameter is an ideal portion.
  • For small trees, ¼ to ½ inch thick is ideal for removing smaller limbs.

Crown Raising

The crown raising trimming method needs to be performed gradually over time. You need to trim a few limbs less than four inches in diameter every year. If you trim all the branches at once, it can result in a weak tree. The crown on a deciduous tree needs to be at least up to 60 percent of the tree to maintain balance.

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction is a tree trimming method that is mostly used for older and mature trees. It helps to strengthen the tree and encourages it to grow more effectively. Crown reduction is used to cut the tree branch back to its growing lateral branch to encourage new growth.

Crown Cleaning

The crown cleaning method is the process of trimming all the dead, diseased and broken branches. You can do this anytime and this can be done when you perform crown thinning, raising and reduction. Cleaning them can prevent future hazards for trees and surrounding property.

How to Trim Small Trees?

You should start when they are young and first planted. Too many young trees are trimmed improperly or not trimmed when they are young, and that way, trees become deformed. 

  • Cut the branches to shape the tree, but avoid cutting back the leader. 
  • Trim less than 1 inch in diameter, find out the sweet spot slightly beyond the branch collar, and then trim the branch at a 45-60 degree angle to the bark ridge.
  • Remove the crossing branches and those branches that grow back towards the middle of the tree. 
  • Cut off multiple leaders on evergreens and other trees where a single leader is needed.
  • As young trees grow up, they start to trim their lower branches gradually to raise the crown and prune branches that are too closely spaced on the trunk.
  • Trim off branch stubs.
  • Trim any suckers at ground level or water sprouts that are weak along with stingy branches that normally grow in bundles or sit perfectly upright on tree branches.
  • Prune to uplift strong, even branches and crotches.

How to Trim Large Trees?

Large branches are best removed in three easy steps:

  • Create a simplistic cut on the lower side of the branch which should be about 4 to 5 inches from the trunk.
  • Cut off that branch for about 2 to 3 inches from the initial cut. Sometimes the weight of some branches makes it fall by itself. The usual initial cut holds the bark from getting peeled from the side of the trunk. 
  • Do the final cut while keeping the remaining stub. Make that cut a bit outside the branch’s collar then its joint part will be divided successfully.

How DIY Tree Trimming Can Kill the Tree

One wrong cut can kill a tree immediately. So can pruning it quite often and doing it incorrectly. If a tree repeatedly losses too many branches from its canopy at a time, it can get weaker or even die from stress. That is why you should trim no more than 25% of a tree canopy at any one time.

Cutting the branch collar can be a mistake as you should keep the branch collar intact. It helps to make the wounds seal properly after trimming. But if it is injured, the wound can be infected by bacteria, fungi, and other infections that can spread further within the tree. So, avoid trimming mistakes to get the result of a naturally shaped, vigorous plant.