Have you looked out your window and realized that your trees are looking a little… well, shaggy? If so, you’re not alone, as millions of Americans hire professionals every year for tree trimming and pruning. Trees can make the outside of your home beautiful, and having trees in your yard may create opportunities for a shaded lounge area, a place to hang a tire swing and somewhere to build a treehouse, but maintaining them is an important part of protecting and maintaining your property. It may seem easy enough to grab your ladder and some shears and get to work, but there are a lot of concerns to consider before you begin your tree-trimming career! These details will help you make an informed decision about properly trimming your trees, so read on to learn everything you need to know about tree trimming.
Why should I care about trimming my trees?
Whether your home is surrounded by hundred-year-old trees or you have just a few smaller trees that you need to service, you may be wondering about the benefits of regular tree trimming. Trees need to be trimmed or pruned regularly, and sometimes branches must be entirely cut off to help ensure the health of the tree and your family’s safety.
There are many reasons tree trimming can be a vital part of yard maintenance. According to the US Department of Agriculture, trees should be pruned first for safety, next for health, and finally for aesthetics. Let’s look at each of these benefits:
The safety of your family and the security of your property and that of your neighbors is a key reason why people choose to trim their trees. If you notice that a tree has a decayed or dying limb, there is always a possibility that the limb could fall during a storm and cause damage to your home or property—or that of your neighbors.
A quick trim may cost a bit, but it will be much less than the liability that you would face if a tree limb fell into your neighbor’s home!
Tree (and yard) health
Cutting dead or diseased branches may help benefit the overall health of the tree. In addition, pruning may also encourage your trees to develop stronger core structures to help withstand the elements.
Pruning or trimming a tree also allows you to reduce the possibility that dead or decayed material in the branches could be shifted to other trees that are healthy. Another reason many people trim the trees on their property is to allow more sunlight to filter through to the ground. This helps to reduce the overall possibility of mold and mildew by drying up the ground and allowing the plants underneath the tree to receive the sunlight and nutrients that they need to grow successfully.
Trimming a tree may help accentuate its physical appearance and improve flower or fruit production. You may even find that cutting back some extra tree growth will add to your home’s curb appeal and really showcase your home and yard.
How often should I trim my trees?
Generally, you should prune or trim trees about once a year during their dormant season, which can vary depending on the species of your tree. However, circumstances such as these may prompt an immediate trimming:
- The tree’s growth obstructs visibility for pedestrians or vehicles, especially at intersections.
- The tree’s limbs interfere with power lines. Make sure to contact your local utility company to handle the job, as it’s dangerous to even get close to power lines.
- The tree’s growth may threaten your home or property. If you feel a tree needs to be pruned because it may cause damage to your home, or causes safety concerns, it’s important to contact an arborist to help with the trimming.
How can I safely trim my trees?
Your first priority when trimming, pruning, or cutting a tree should be personal safety. The best way to help ensure safety is to hire a qualified arborist service like Red’s Tree Service to clip back your trees. Trimming may often require a ladder and sometimes puts the trimmer in close proximity to power lines, and the safest course of action is to leave tree-trimming to the professionals.
However, if you do decide to trim your own trees, here are our safety recommendations to help you determine if it’s safe or not to cut the branches:
- Branches smaller than 2 inches (or 5 centimeters) in diameter: Proceed.
- Branches between 2 and 4 inches (or 5 and 10 centimeters) in diameter: Think it over.
- Branches larger than 4 inches (or 10 centimeters): Contact an arborist.
In circumstances of extreme weather, like rain, snow, or even wind, do not trim any tree, as it can place excess stress on the tree and poses an extreme safety hazard to you and your property.
If you do decide to try trimming your trees yourself, here is a 3-step program you can follow:
- Make the very first cut about 1-2 feet from the trunk of the tree. This cut starts underneath the limb and goes into it, but only about a third of the way. This is a critical step in the process.
- Make the second cut just outside of the first cut, about another foot or two. This cut will be all the way through the branch. The branch is highly likely to break away as you saw through the limb, which is ok. Since you have made the first cut on the underside and closer in from the previous step, the bark will not continue to tear down into the tree trunk.
- The final cut is right at the branch collar where the branch meets the tree’s trunk. You will be looking for a flared area here. Make the final cut so that the flair is still noticeable afterward.
If cut properly, this “flair” will heal over, eventually filling in with new bark and scar tissue. You’ll know the tree is healing correctly when you see a “doughnut” forming where you made the cut. And that is all there is to it!
Once again, if you have any doubt in your ability to properly assess the situation and conduct the pruning, call Red’s Tree Service. Our team has experience and expertise, and can complete the job in a safe and fast manner.
Keep your trees trim and happy with Red’s Tree Service!
The friendly, expert team at Red’s Tree Service understands exactly what techniques to employ and what branches to remove so that you are left with the healthiest, best-looking tree possible.
We also understand tree trimming can be a nerve-racking and intimidating experience, especially if you have a tall tree that needs trimming. Don’t risk getting hurt. Reach out to us today to request an estimate or schedule service.