Tree Trimming Tips


Tree trimming is a regular part of maintaining a yard and garden. In this guide, we offer tree trimming tips that help keep trees healthy while giving your yard a professional look. Many people don’t realize that tree trimming is also a way to avoid hazards. That’s because overgrown trees can fall in high winds or even provide an obstacle for traffic.

Editor’s Note: Trimming trees and pruning trees are two slightly different things. Pruning typically refers to removing dead or infected branches. Trimming is usually cutting back overgrown trees and plants. In this story, we cover primarily tree trimming.


The Importance of Tree Trimming

Doing a good job of trimming your trees is vital to the health of the trees. Overgrown trees can grow through electrical wires or other essential cables. Trees can fall during high winds, and this can cause damage to houses, cars and even injure people. Avoiding property damage and personal injury are reason enough to properly trim your trees.

In addition, overgrown trees can get in the way of important fields of vision, such as on the road. Imagine if a tree has started to block the view as you leave your driveway, for instance.

Overgrown trees can also become an eyesore. Tree trimming is a way to control their growth. Following these smart tree trimming tips can ensure that trees grow in an upright shape. Ignore proper tree trimming and you risk having trees growing at unusual angles, or even tangling with other trees. Trimming a tree can also encourage healthy growth in a shape that is right for the tree’s species.

Also, trees can get infected by pests and disease. Proper tree trimming can stop the infection and save the tree.

crown of large tree before trimming
This tree has a large crown that would benefit from some tree trimming.


Proper Ways of Tree Trimming

There are many popular techniques for tree care including thinning the crown or raising the crown. Crown thinning is done when the tree’s branches have become too dense and are causing problems. Raising the crown is all about cutting away the lower branches. This is commonly done on trees when the low branches are getting in the way. For example, if the branches are starting to impact pedestrians walking alongside a tree.

Tree trimming cuts should be made at a 90-degree angle to try to prevent infection or water damage. Before making a cut, look for the branch collar. The collar is the swollen “shoulder” between the branch and the trunk. Cutting just outside the collar is the perfect place to cut the branch. Cutting in this area makes the tree callus and recover more quickly.

However, if you are removing a large branch, it’s best to use a three-cut process. This will ensure that the branch is removed without any damage to the tree. Watch This Video.

You may want to give your trees a yearly “tidy up” trim. This is sometimes called “crown cleaning.” It involves cutting off limbs that are growing at the wrong angles and crossing over each other. This is also a good time to remove any dead or infected branches.

tree trimming with loppers to reduce the tree crown

Frequency of Tree Trimming

Some flowering trees might need yearly maintenance to keep them clean and tidy. But many trees can thrive for years at a time without having any sort of trim. Other tree species need to be trimmed once every 3-5 years. However, if you have a lot of trees, you might hire a tree trimming company to help with the upkeep.

Many different factors go into whether a tree needs to be trimmed. The species and location of the tree can play a huge part in how quickly they grow. Keep in mind that it is always possible that a tree can become infected, even one that is decades old. That’s another reason to work a Master Gardener or professional arborist to get your trees periodically inspected.


Best Hand Tools for Trimming a Tree

Tree trimming requires the right tools to make the job easier. So, make sure you’ve got high-quality tools for pruning and lopping. And make sure you keep them sharp. Home Garden and Homestead receives a small commission from sales made through Amazon links in this story. Thanks for supporting this website!

A pair of hand pruners with ergonomic handles can give you plenty of power for cutting those smaller branches. Some modern pruners have clever designs to give more pressure and cutting power. A soft-gripped saw is a good idea for making quick cuts. Some small saws even have folding blades for easy storage.

An extended lopper with telescopic handles is a must-have tool for cutting low branches. But don’t buy the cheap ones. Pay a few dollars extra for a pair of heavy-duty bypass loppers.


steelhead tree loppers with extendable handles

The Steelhead Heavy-Duty Loppers have telescoping extendable handles for extra reach. The loppers also have a ratcheting gear that gives you more cutting power for thicker branches. The ergonomic grip handles also make this tool a pleasure to use. Check Price and Shipping.


Pole Pruners for Tree Trimming   

A pole pruner is basically a cutting blade at the end of an extendable pole. Getting a pole saw with an extendable handle can allow you to reach branches even if they are 10 feet or higher from the ground.

There are three basic types of pole pruners. The first type is the traditional pole pruner that has a bypass pruner blade at the end of the pole. This is a great pruner for light duty use.

mesoga cut and hold tree pruner is ideal for tree trimming

A great example of this type of pruner is the Mesoga Cut and Hold Bypass Lopper. The 6-foot-long pole is made of lightweight aluminum. The bypass lopper head has a sharp razor-edge blade encased in tough plastic that helps hold the branch in place. The blade head is spring loaded, so it snaps back after cutting to greatly reduce operator fatigue. Check Price and Availability.

The second type is a pole pruner that has a hand saw at the end of the pole. This is a great pruner for medium-duty use. The Corona Max Razor 14-foot Tree Pruner has a tough steel saw blade at the end of its telescoping pole. The pole extends up to 14 feet.

corona max razor pole pruner for tree trimming

The Corona powerglide rope pull system enables you to move the saw blade. The handle has a comfortable 24-inch-long foam grip. All in all, this tool is engineered for impressive performance. Check Price and Shipping.

The newest kind of pole pruner is our favorite. It’s got a cordless electric power saw at the end of the pole. This type of pruner can quickly handle medium-duty pruning with very little physical effort.

a man cuts a tree branch using a greenworks cordless electric pole pruner

The Greenworks 40-volt Cordless Pole Saw features an 8-inch bar and chain, automatic oiler and chain tensioning. The pole extends to 8 ft. and collapses to 5 ft. This tool is compatible with other Greenworks G-MAX batteries. (This tool is available with a rechargeable battery and charger, or as a tool only model.) Check Price and Availability


Let’s Not Forget Chain Saws!

Of course, the big daddy of tree trimming and tree pruning tools is the chainsaw. The classic chain saws are powered by gasoline engines. The new generation of chain saws is powered by cordless electric motors with rechargeable batteries. Check out this assortment of great chain saws

echo branch chain saw


If you love trees but have a small yard, be sure to read Best Trees for Small Yards.




1 Comment
  1. Afton Jackson says

    Thank you for telling me about tree trimming and how trees can become infected with pests if this is not done. I used to think tree trimming was just something people do for aesthetics, but this story has given me a better idea of how to take care of my trees. Since I don’t have the necessary tools to perform trim my trees, I will look for a tree service expert in the area to help me out.

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