DIY Tree Trimming: Three Major Mistakes

California-based arborists warn you not to trim your own trees without proper research.

Homeowner’s Big Missteps When They Trim Their Own Trees

Tree trimming may seem like a simple thing to add to a “honey do” list. Often it is much more complex than it seems. As with any living thing, the way trees grow stems from myriad biological and physiological factors that are not obvious to the uneducated eye. An amateur may do more harm than good in trimming a tree or cutting randomly may simply be ineffective in producing desired results. 

In order to get aesthetically and biologically pleasing results, consulting with a tree service company with a certified arborist is the best choice.

First: Using Dull, Dirty Tools

You wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on you or a loved one with tools that had not been properly sanitized. The same scenario is true with trees. Perhaps this seems a bit overdramatic, but trees and plants are alive and can contract disease through cuts in much the same way as humans or animals. 

Tools need to be cleaned and sharpened also because it will make the job easier and require less effort. What can happen when tools are dull or dirty:

  • Cuts can be jagged and harder for the tree to heal.
  • Bacteria and fungus can infect the tree.
  • More elbow grease is required for the trimming. 

Second:  Cutting Either Insufficiently or Excessively

All healthy tree trimming and tree pruning should be done in moderation. Cutting either too much or too little can lead to issues with your tree. At the base of it, the tree will receive no benefit or be impeded by incorrect amounts of trimming. 

Results of Excessive Trimming:

  • Lack of nutrient production
  • Stunted growth 
  • Premature tree death

Results of Insufficient Trimming: 

  • No beneficial growth
  • Branches may still grow where you don’t want them
  • Awkward branch growth
  • Uneven appearance

Third: Cutting Too Close to the Trunk

Cutting through the branch collar can cause significant damage to a tree. The branch collar is the widest part of the branch where it grows out of the trunk. Cutting a branch off this close to the trunk is equivalent to severing a major blood vessel on an animal. A good deal of sap can be lost through this cut and may reduce the nutrients that are able to be transported to the upper branches. By proxy, cutting through a branch collar can cause damage to a whole section of the tree.

Bonus: Not Cleaning Up

While this could be called a mistake in its own right, it could be said to be more about fully completing the task for tree health care. Cleaning up the branches is not just about keeping the yard looking tidy. If discarded branches are left where they fall and not removed and properly disposed of, they can attract pests such as termites and wood borers. 

Dead and decaying wood is the perfect nesting ground for fungi or tree disease that can be transferred to other trees and plants, leading to further devastation.  Consider consulting with an arborist for your tree risk assessment and tree care.

About Ned Patchett Tree Care & Consulting

Ned Patchett Tree Care & Consulting offers a wide range of arboricultural services including tree removal and landscaping. We offer personalized solutions and courteous service. Call today for any tree issue in the San Carlos, CA area.

By |2022-03-07T13:52:55+00:00March 1st, 2022|Blog, Seasonal|