Safely Trim Your Trees for Aesthetic or Safety Reasons
Trees can beautify an area, but when the branches obstruct the view, become entwined with electrical wires, interfere with satellite reception, rub up against a building, etc., some trimming is necessary. You might also want to trim a tree to make it stronger or change the shape. In either case, you must take extra care when tree trimming, as many branches removed for aesthetic or safety reasons are live limbs. If you simply cut at a convenient place, you may damage the tree or encourage more growth in the area that caused you problems.
The Biggest “Don’t” of Tree Trimming
One of the most harmful tree trimming practices is “topping” it to reduce height or obstruction. This haphazard cutting may remove many of the leaf-bearing branches, which stresses the tree and often forces multiple shoots to grow below each cut to compensate for the loss of its food sources. When a tree is too tall for its location or needs better shaping, you need to have a strategy for trimming. The simplest solution is to call a tree service company that uses certified arborists.
The Kindest, Most Effective Approach to Tree Trimming
If you decide to take on this project yourself, prune at the node, where one a branch or twig attaches to another, often in a “v” or a u,” formation, rather than between nodes. Whether you wish to prune one of two conjoined branches or a branch directly attached to the trunk, you should make a series of small cuts a few inches from the trunk before your final cut. This precaution prevents stripping the bark of the remaining tree when a heavy branch is severed. By using this technique, you can safely reduce the height of the tree or remove intrusive branches without doing long term harm to the tree.
The Best Time To Trim a Tree
Unless the tree is damaged mid-year, you should wait until dormant period in the fall or winter to prevent tree stress, insect infestation, fungal infections, or loss of sap or moisture. When trimming is done right, the tree will heal without your having to seal it, but good tree sealers are available to spare the tree from insects or moisture loss. Proper tree trimming is not a job for amateurs.
The TreesAreGood website offers helpful International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and ANSI z133 guidelines for pruning cuts that should be followed by anyone who does this work.
If you need help trimming a tree in Northern VA or Central PA, ProArbor Tree Care Professionals are happy to help.