are confident they are giving their trees the best care to thrive and stay
healthy. Water, fertilizer, and mulch right on schedule.
However, tree branch trimming can be very intimidating to the average person. While big pruning tasks should be left to the professionals, pruning small trees and branches is perfectly safe and manageable for the average person.
First, know when
DIY tree trimming is appropriate, and when it’s not. If you want to prune a
small tree that has lightweight branches, go for it. However, think twice about
pruning a tree that’s near a power line, large branches overhanging your roof,
or if the branches are too heavy for you to easily handle.
decided to go ahead, just start with a little DIY tree branch trimming. First,
you’ll need to understand the parts of the tree and branch. The branch collar
is the enlarged area at the base of the branch that connects it to the tree.
The branch bark ridge is between the tree trunk and the branch; it’s raised a
little higher than the branch.
Make sure your
pruning tools are clean and sharp. Make a cut on the far side the branch
collar; don’t cut the branch collar itself but make the cut close enough not to
leave a nub.
For a thin
branch, one inch or less in diameter, cut just above the branch collar at a
45-degree angle to the bark ridge.
For a thick
branch, cut it in three sections. First, cut through the branch halfway, about
a foot up from the branch collar. Next, cut a few inches beyond that cut,
letting the top of the branch fall to the ground. Finally, make the last cut
just above the branch collar.
Trimming the Whole Tree
When trimming a
tree, the procedure for trimming the branches is the same, but there are other
factors that need to be considered.
need to plan out the branches you want to keep, and the ones that need to be
cut. You shouldn’t cut more than 25% of a tree’s branches at one time. Imagine
your tree’s branches like a clock; keep the branches at a 2 o’clock or 10
o’clock and trim any branches growing at odd angles. Also, remove any branches
growing crosswise into the inside of the tree.
Cut off growth
coming from the base of the trunk or the roots, and prune away any dead
branches. Trim away any stringy looking weak branches growing upright in
How Tree Trimming Gone Wrong can Kill Your Tree
While one bad
cut won’t kill your tree, regular bad pruning can.
repeatedly cut off too many branches at one time, it will weaken your tree.
Your tree can even die from stress. That’s the reason why you should never trim
off more than 25% of your tree’s branches at any one time.
cutting into the branch collar can be a big mistake. The branch collar will