Common Tree Trimming Mistakes Homeowners Make
There is a right way and a wrong way to trim a tree
Trimming your trees is essential to healthy, long-lasting growth. Using a professional is always best—not only does that minimize safety risks, but experts like our arborists can ensure your trees are trimmed properly.
But if you do opt to go it alone? Keep these common mistakes and missteps in mind so you can avoid serious tree-trimming issues—and injuries. Here’s what homeowners do—but shouldn’t—when they trim their own trees.
You may think you don’t do this – you think targeting the branches that are sparse and dead is all you have to worry about when trimming. That’s not necessarily the case. You also have to consider:
- How much of the branch to trim away
- Which branches you choose to trim
- How to trim them (angle and type of tree branch)
Without targeting the right branches to remove, or trimming them at the proper time, it’s possible to damage the tree’s overall health.
There are plenty of tree-cutting tools on the market today, but not all of them are worthwhile. If you’re using a dull or a tool that’s not sanitized, you’re potentially straining the tree even more so. Dirty tools can cause infectious bacteria and fungi to spread across the tree, limiting its overall health.
If you are using a dull tool to cut the tree, this is likely to leave jagged cuts on the tree. Consider these to be much like an open wound. Clean, sterile wounds heal well, but those not cut well cannot close up properly.
Tree Trimming Mistake #3
Cutting Too Close to the Base
Along every tree branch, at the base, is what’s called a branch collar. It’s an important area for the passing of nutrients into and out of the tree. It works much like the veins running throughout your body – carrying necessary nutrients. Because so many of them are here, that can create a dangerous situation for the tree if you just slice through it.
The most common cause of this is trying to cut the tree branch off flush against the trunk of the tree. When this happens, it creates a disconnection for those structures and damages the surrounding tree tissue, so to speak. The better bet is to leave the branch collar intact by cutting at least an inch away from the trunk on the branch itself.
Tree branches that are hanging off may not warrant waiting until a specific season due to safety concerns. However, most trees benefit from trimming that happens during the dormant season. That is generally from the late fall until the late wintertime, when there is no growth occurring within the tree.
If you cut these branches off during the warmer months, the sap produced by the tree can attract pests. Those pests will then damage the tree’s health as they bore into it. These fresh wounds on the tree are the prime place for infestations to occur during the spring to the early fall season.
Tree Trimming Mistake #4
You Are Trimming Too Little of the Branch
It’s possible to trim too little, and that can be just as problematic as trimming off too much. The issue? Leave too much of a branch’s dead weight present and you’re limiting the effectiveness of the pruning process.
If the tree has any areas of disease or damage, and you do not remove enough of it, that leads to complex problems with its growth. It also continues to allow those diseases to spread.
Don’t go it alone when it comes to tree trimming and pruning. Contact Mister Tree and an experienced arborist will get the job done right the first time.
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