Tree Trimming Basics for the Home Owner

Did you know that improper pruning kills or severely damages more trees each year than pest infestations? In other words, it is better to not prune at all than to do it the wrong way. The following are some basic techniques to remember the next time you are sprucing up your landscaping.

In most cases, technique is more important than timing. Most tree species can be pruned any time of year. However, there are certain times that are more ideal than others for each variety. Deciduous varieties should be pruned according to their blooming schedule. Those that bloom before May should be trimmed as soon as flowering is over. Pruning between January and March is best for trees that flower after May. Evergreens that don’t bear cones should be pruned in May, but wait until the fall for trimming conifers.

There are, of course, trees that are exceptions to these rules. Some types of trees are especially vulnerable to insect infestations, so should be pruned during winter months when insects are at a minimum. Should you have any questions, conduct an Internet search, or consult with a professional landscaper for expert advice.

When preparing for tree trimming, look for dead branches, sprouts growing from the base of trunks and branches that rub or cross. These problems should be eliminated first. Always make cuts as close to the main branch or trunk as possible – but without cutting into the main branch or trunk. Each cut should be made at a 45 degree angle.

After these issues are resolved, you can then prune for aesthetics. This means shaping trees to make them more visually appealing or better suited for your area. U-shaped connection points at branches are stronger than V-shaped ones, so opt for trimming the V-shapes. Any branch that is too large to hold with one hand should be cut in stages to avoid damaging the bark on the tree.

You should never prune trees that are around power lines. Doing so could result in severe injury or even death, should branches fall upon the live wires. Be sure to wear some type of harness when scaling large trees as a safety measure against falls. Using sharp pruning tools will not only increase the effectiveness of your cuts, but will also safeguard against unnecessary damage to the trees.

It may prove difficult, if not impossible, for most people to prune large trees in a safe manner without causing injury to themselves, someone else or nearby property. In addition, many people are concerned about harming their trees through inadvertently trimming them incorrectly. In these cases, a landscape service or tree-trimming professional will be able to make certain the job is done right.

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Stephen Daniels is an acclaimed SEO 2.0 researcher of practices, products, and services for a variety of industries. He highly recommends the services of the Los Angeles landscape contractors at Four Seasons Landscaping, bringing over 20 years in the field.

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