Tree-Trimming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Avoid Tree Trimming Mistakes

Tree trimming is easy, right? That’s a common misconception, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may do more harm than good!

Not only is there a plethora of mistakes you can make trimming trees, it’s also dangerous. You can only do so much to dictate where a big, heavy branch ultimately will land. Even climbing a ladder just a few steps can lead to a fall.

When it comes to tree trimming, it’s almost always best to leave it to a professional.

One of the most common mistakes is topping ― unceremoniously lopping off the top of the tree. If you have a tree that’s too big for where it was planted (which is common), topping is often seen as a quick fix.

But when you cut off the top of a tree, you end up with an ugly landmark right in your yard. Worse, you’ve weakened the branch structure. A deformed and weak tree isn’t doing you any favors.

Biggest Missteps

Another problem is when trees are trimmed at the wrong time. There are right and wrong times to trim a tree, depending on the species and where you live. Trees that are stressed shouldn’t be trimmed — if the timing is off, you might lose the tree altogether.

For example, trimming branches that face west in the summer is a huge mistake, since the sun’s rays can scald certain species. Usually only a trained arborist will know the best time to trim your trees.

Improper cuts also are a classic newbie mistake. If you cut branches too close to the trunk, you’re getting rid of the collar. This is where special cells are stored that heal the tree from damage. You can sometimes see collars (it’s a swell/bump where the branch connects to the trunk).

Cut too close, and you leave a gaping wound where insects and disease can thrive. Improper cuts also can cause a big branch to suddenly fall, or the trunk to split.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Excessive pruning happens all too often. You shouldn’t remove more than 20 percent of an adult tree’s foliage in one fell swoop. Most of the time, about 8 percent is ideal.

Removing most of the canopy will limit the tree’s ability to produce fruit or support itself. You might be hoping to get more grass below the tree, but structural pruning is better than going after a tree with a prune-heavy hand.

Raising the canopy too much is called lion’s tailing ― your tree will look like a huge stalk of broccoli in your yard. It’s ugly, albeit not dangerous, and not a look you want.

Save yourself the time and trouble and call Reliable Tree Care today, home to your local tree-trimming specialists.