Tree Trimming & Pruning: Tips & Techniques

When most people notice their trees need trimming or pruning, their first thought is to contact a professional arborist. But if you have the resources and some spare time, you may want to consider trying it yourself–it might be easier than you think. 

Here’s everything you need to know about trimming and pruning your trees. 

Trimming Vs. Pruning: What is the Difference? 

While trimming and pruning are similar practices, they ultimately serve different purposes. 

People normally trim their trees for aesthetic or practical reasons. Trimming your tree often entails removing smaller branches to achieve a cleaner look. Or, you might trim your tree to prevent it from overgrowing into surrounding structures. 

Pruning, on the other hand, has less to do with aesthetics. Instead, it involves removing unhealthy or unnecessary branches. It can also involve removing branches that pose a hazard to their surroundings. 

Why is It Important to Trim & Prune My Trees? 

When you trim your trees regularly, your property will look neater and more appealing to anyone who visits. Whether you have trees around your home or near your business, trimming them often can be worth the effort. 

Even if you aren’t concerned about how your trees look, trimming them from time to time is still important–in the long run, trimming can promote healthy growth for your tree. And if there are other plants or shrubbery nearby, trimming the branches can prevent them from overgrowing and interfering with surrounding plants. 

Pruning is also very important–not only for the health of your tree but for the safety of your property and anybody near it. 

When you remove unhealthy branches, you can prevent decay from spreading throughout the rest of the tree. 

In addition, if you allow unhealthy or unnecessary branches to stay on your tree, they pose the risk of falling and potentially damaging property or injuring people. 

Trees are a valuable part of Calgary’s ecosystem, so it’s important to keep them healthy and eliminate any hazards they might pose. 

Tips for Trimming Trees 

Are you willing to take on the task of trimming trees yourself? For the best results, make sure to keep these tips in mind. 

Pay Attention to Branch Width 

When you’re removing a branch, you want to avoid trimming one that is too thick. Otherwise, it can leave your tree prone to decay. 

As a general rule of thumb, it is safe to trim a tree branch that is less than five centimeters thick. If it is between five and ten centimeters, it’s best not to trim it, but there may be some instances where it is okay. And if it is thicker than ten centimeters, you should refrain altogether. 

Don’t Trim Too Much 

When trimming your trees, it is best to cut close to the branch’s collar–you don’t want to leave behind a large stump. However, you should make sure not to damage the collar itself. Damaging the collar will make it difficult for your tree to form a scar, leaving it prone to decay.  

Tips for Pruning Trees 

Like trimming, pruning trees is something you can do on your own. However, there are a few tips to bear in mind before attempting this task. 

Prune During the Winter 

Because this is when they first go dormant, many people think it’s best to prune trees during the autumn. However, this is a risky time of year to begin pruning, as parasites and fungi are pretty active this season. 

In reality, the best time to prune your trees is in late winter. If possible, try to prune when the coldest weather of the season has already passed. 

Pruning your trees during the winter can also help promote healthy growth when your tree becomes active in the spring. 

Don’t Remove Too Much 

Avoid removing too many of a tree’s branches when you are pruning it. Only remove what is necessary, including damaged or diseased limbs and limbs that pose a hazard. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should not remove more than ¼ of a tree’s crown. 

Techniques for Trimming & Pruning Trees 

When tree pruning or trimming, there are a couple of techniques you may want to keep in mind. The best approach may vary depending on the size of the branch; using the wrong method for the wrong branch size could impact the tree’s healing process. 

When cutting a small branch, aim your shears away from the branch’s collar. This way, you will be less likely to damage the collar accidentally. This method can also help your tree heal more quickly after you make the cut. 

If you are cutting a huge branch, however, it may require the three-cut technique. 

Here is the method step-by-step:

  • Make one cut underneath the branch, going around ⅓ of the way through. Make this cut roughly 6 inches away from the collar. 
  • Then, make a cut of the same depth from above but a few inches further from the collar than the first cut. 
  • After this, the branch will snap off easily, leaving behind a small stub. Remove this stub to complete the technique. 

Conclusion – What is the Best Way to Trim & Prune My Trees? 

There are plenty of benefits to trimming and pruning your trees on your own, and when you keep these tips in mind, it may be easier than you’d expected. And if you’re willing to attempt this task, be sure to wear proper safety gear. 

However, even the most skilled layman may struggle in areas that an arborist can handle with ease. There are also instances where you should not attempt to trim or prune on your own, especially when dealing with trees near power lines. 

If you need your trees trimmed or pruned in Calgary, we recommend contacting us at Tree Removal Calgary. Our team of professionals can quickly and efficiently get the job done. Best of all, it can save you hours of trouble and help keep the trees on your property beautiful and healthy! 

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At Tree Removal Calgary Inc., all of our arborists are experts in their field and have the necessary equipment to handle any tree removal situation. We pride ourselves in being familiar with every detail of the process, including using the gear to rig, as well as manipulating and pulling the tree down safely.