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Tree Trimming Tips


A proper manicure can enhance a tree’s beauty and aesthetic, in addition to maintaining its good health. Removing diseased or storm-damaged branches, reducing height or width, permitting new growth, and shaping for design are just a few reasons to keep a tree trimmed. But without being an expert, how do you know what to get rid of without jeopardizing the tree’s well-being?

Larger trees with thick branches and higher crowns may require the work of professionals, but you’re able to complete most trimming necessary to maintain the tree’s appearance and health simply by knowing the basics and having the correct tools.

Heavy Trimming

A thorough trimming will stimulate your tree’s growth by allowing it to refocus energy to more productive areas. It’s important to establish a plan before diving in so you don’t get carried away and cause damage to the tree (never remove more than ? of a tree in a single season).

Once you’ve determined which branches you want to begin with, grab a pole saw or pole pruner (or chainsaw if applicable) and use a three-part cut to avoid ripping bark:

  1. Make the first cut on the underside about 6-8 inches away from the desired final cut, and only partially through the branch
  2. The second cut should be about an inch or two out from the first, and all the way through the branch starting from the top cutting downward
  3. Finally, cut off the stub at an angle (so water doesn’t pool)

Light Pruning

Now that the big stuff is out of the way, grab your loppers or hand pruners for fine-tuning.

Start out by getting any unsightly dead wood or weak branches out of the way, and removing any shoots coming off the trunk or other branches. These shoots, or water sprouts, take away from the tree’s appearance and can prevent the tree’s interior from getting enough sun.

Now you’ll want to remove any branches that are growing inward or rubbing. Branches that are directed towards the center of the tree won’t receive enough light to produce any foliage, and will eventually rub against other branches causing wounds.

Once you’ve eliminated the unhealthy branches, shift your focus to the overall appearance of the tree. Take a step back and examine the shape and balance. Avoid clipping the ends of the branches - healthy shaping occurs by pruning near the inside of the tree.

For best results, make your cuts just outside of the thick, wrinkled area at the base of the branch (known as the branch collar).

Ready to start working on your trees? Rental Ranch has pole saws, pole pruners, and chain saws available to rent. We can also sharpen your tools if you already have them. And once you’re complete, finish the project with a brush chipper or log splitter. See all of our available tree trimming equipment for rent and give us a call at (316) 838-4211 today!