Do not trim a tree like this:
By standing on a ladder.
- If the branches you are trying to trim are too high for you reach from the ground, you can use a pole saw or pruner to cut them. These are very simple to use, you just pull a cord and the blades do the rest. If the branch is too big to be cut with these, then call a tree care company and have it removed by professionals.
By cutting off the top.
- If a tree is simply too tall, especially if it’s touching power lines, it should be completely removed. We at Bob Ray Co., are asked this almost every day, but here is no way to safely and permanently shorten a tree without it looking silly, becoming permanently damaged and becoming even more dangerous. Remove the tree and replace it with a smaller species that won’t eventually have the same problem, or plant the same species of tree somewhere where there’s plenty of room for growth, both vertically and horizontally.
By cutting off a limb right at the trunk.
- Cutting back dead or damaged limbs is all part of a good process for overall tree care, but refrain from sawing straight through a large limb without leaving a small stump. This is because the falling weight of the limb will usually tear off bark all the way to the trunk. This can eventually kill a tree. Use three cuts instead.
- Make the first cut one foot out from the trunk; starting from underneath the limb. Do not go more than halfway through.
- Make the second cut 3 inches farther out than the first cut and start the cut from the top. Saw all the way through the limb will fall but will leave a stub.
- Remove the stub. Where the limb meets the trunk is an area of growth called the branch collar. Remove as much of the stub as possible without cutting into the collar. The branch collar will actually grow over the wound in a year or two and seal it from insects and diseases.
By trimming in the summer
- Dead or damaged branches can be trimmed at any time. For tree trimming healthy branches, when to trim trees is as important as how to trim. Do not trim trees in the summer or spring. This will damage the tree as it is blooming and trying to grow. You want to do the majority of tree trimming when the tree is dormant, and that meand during the late fall and winter. If you are trimming flowering trees, do it within three weeks after they finish blooming or you’ll be trimming off next year’s buds.