We’re very conscious about trees. We can take care of it for the most part. Feed it water, fertilize, mulching, etc we can do it all, but when it comes to trimming, many people get cold feet.

If you’ve ever lived near a tree, you know it needs trimming almost every year. Which is why it’s not something you can avoid. Large-scale pruning is one thing but trimming is not hard at all. Even though it sounds like a scary topic for a newbie, the process is fairly simple.

We will walk you through the steps for how to trim tree branches yourself, so please bear with us and keep reading.

Although the job looks uncomplicated, trimming trees could turn out to be a loss project if you’re inexperienced. There are right and wrong ways to trim tree branches, and going about the wrong way could damage your tree greatly. In that case, many people think getting assistance from an expert could be a good idea.

But we are here to help you do it yourself with your own hands. So, before you buy a perfect electric pole saw and start cutting branches left and right, consider what we are about to explain to you below:

What Do We Trim

From the many reasons to trim tree branches, the biggest reason would be for the best growth of the tree. That’s a big reason if you’re in the fruit farming business.

Other reasons could be to mitigate diseases, giving it a better structure, or tending to the tree after a storm. Aesthetics are also important if you own a tree garden.

There are several reasons why you would want to trim tree branches, and most of them would result in the improvement of the tree. So, why not?

Best Time For Trim Trees

For trimming trees it is best to do in when the trees are dormant, so winter is an obvious choice.  This way trees can avoid diseases and pest invasion in a better manner.

What Do We Need:

  • Safety goggles.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • Ropes
  • Scaffolds
  • Loppers
  • Pole saw.
  • Hand saw.

After we collect everything we need, let’s jump into how we can trim a few tree branches:

01. Get Rid Of The Suckers

Before trimming the branches we have to cull a few things first, to make the process easier for later.

Suckers are undesirable branches that drain energy from the trees, like weeds. And they also don’t grow up to be a proper branch. There is no reason to keep them. Use shears to cut them out.

02. Clear Out Unwanted Branches

The best place to start trimming is from dead branches. This makes the rest of the job easier as well. Dead branches serve nothing and there is no benefit in keeping them alive.

Now you have to look for damaged or worn out trees. They could be vulnerable to pests or diseases. Even if they are alive, they could cause problems which are why it is best to remove them as well. Overlapping branches also have to be removed.

03. Locate The Branch Collar

After unwanted branches are out of the way, you will have an easier time deciding where you want to trim. When you have identified which limbs you wish to cut, you have to find the branch collar.

The swelled up area from where a branch comes out of a tree is called a branch collar. It connects the branch and the tree.

It is pretty easy to see in most trees but in case you are having difficulties, try looking for a circle, ridge, or thick barks.

Be sure to cut the exterior of the branch collar for easier healing.

04. Making The Cut

For branches that have about less than a 1inch diameter, the sweet spot to make a cut is slightly ahead of the branch collar. A cut at a 45-60 degree angle is perfect.

For thicker branches, you need the three-cut rule. The first cut is an undercut at least 10-15 inches above from the branch collar. The undercut should be halfway inside the branch. When the branch will be severed, this undercut will prevent any tear through the collar.

The next cut is a few inches away from where the undercut was made. Here the branch is cut from the top. Thanks to the undercut before and the gravity, the branch starts to fall easily.

The final cut is just in front of the branch collar. Cut the remaining portion of the collar without touching the collar itself.

Use loppers or pole saw in case there’s any thick branch out of your reach. Make sure to keep a hold of your scaffold or keep the ropes tight.

05. Sealing

After trimming, you should look at whether or not the stump needs sealing. Mostly, natural means are enough. But some exceptions like oak or elm are vulnerable. A non-asphalt-based sealing is great for this type of tree.

Handy Tips:

  • Don’t hurt the branch collar.
  • Don’t trim upwards, as water could settle and cause rot.
  • Cut in a downward angle so that water doesn’t settle and cause rotting.
  • Don’t trim more than ¼ of a living tree branch.
  • Take a break and check the cuts from every angle.
  • The cutting tools have to be sharp.
  • Seek help from experts in case branches are near a power line.

It's Trimming Time!

Overall, trimming is a maintenance procedure for trees and is something every tree owner should know. Trees are our best friend and our best friends need the utmost care, and care starts at home. No one will care about your trees more than you.

With our simple yet detailed instructions on how to trim tree branches yourself, you should be able to trim whatever branches you wish to trim. Remember not to overdo it or you risk losing your precious tree forever.