Can I Trim Tree Branches Myself?

If you have a tree on your property, you’ve probably experienced branches growing out of place. Some stick out, disrupting the overall look of your trees, while others just hang down, impeding your walkway. But is the solution as simple as just trimming the tree branches yourself?
Giving your tree a good trim can be the best thing to support its health and maintain the look you desire. If you want to trim your trees on your own, it’s best to stick to small trees. Smaller trees are much safer to trim yourself than larger trees. With a smaller tree, you can visually inspect each branch without having to climb the tree or use a ladder. You’ll also be working with smaller branches, which are easier to trim and don’t pose as much of a risk to your or your property.
On the other hand, larger trees require skill and precision. If you aren’t knowledgeable about how or why to cut into a larger tree, it’s best to hire a tree service company. The knowledge, skill, and experience that professional arborists possess will ensure your tree is trimmed safely and remains healthy after the work is done.

If you do plan on trimming your tree branches, you should make sure you learn more about the process of trimming trees, have the correct tools to do the job, and know the risks that come with performing this task on your own.
Know Your Basics
The Arbor Day Foundation suggests a few tips for pruning for people hoping to cut their tree branches on their own. But one of the most important things you should do when you’re about to trim tree branches is to assess the tree. Walk around the entire tree looking for any large damages or stray branches. Note which branches are bothersome and plan how you’re going to cut them. You should also be looking at the overall health of the tree. If the tree is in good shape, you can usually afford to trim the tree as you wish, but if it looks unhealthy, trimming the tree might make things worse.
You should also know what seasons are best for trimming your tree. Though fall seems like a good time to trim your trees, because the leaves are all falling away, it can actually be the most detrimental time to do so. Wounds made from trimming have a harder time healing themselves in the fall, which leaves them susceptible to become infected with fungus or disease. Cutting your trees in the winter tends to be the most popular option, as it can yield to more growth in the spring and the branches are in a dormant state.
Lastly, look into how to cut your trees in a way that causes the least amount of damage. Trimming is usually best done early in a tree’s life so that it can learn to grow in the way that you wish, and so it can heal the very small wounds made on it quickly. When you’re cutting a small branch, like on a young tree, it’s best to make the cut at a lateral branch. Your cut should be clean and sharp and also done at a slight angle.
Have the Right Tools
When it comes to trimming your tree branches, you want to have the proper tools to do the job. And depending on the size of the job, you’ll need specific tools to cut with. All of your cutting tools should be kept at peak sharpness for the best results.
For smaller trees, with small twigs and thin branches, you’ll want to have a pair of pruning shears. This type of scissor is specifically made for cutting plants and is strong enough to cut through hard branches. For young trees, use one-handed shears with a curved blade.
When it comes to bigger projects, a pair of pruning shears won’t be enough. For branches that are bigger than one inch in diameter, you’ll want to use a looper. They act much like a running shear but have longer handles so you can reach further into your tree to cut.
And if you do decide to pursue a larger project on your own, you’ll want to have a pole pruner to get to the branches you want trimmed. Pole pruners are able to reach over eight feet away. But be mindful. When you cut a large branch, it will usually fall to the ground. Make sure the area is clear of things that could be damaged by the falling branch—and clear of any bystanders.
It Can Be Dangerous
When you see a half-broken branch, your first instinct may be to climb up and cut it yourself. But your tree-climbing skills from childhood won’t suffice for this task. If you have to climb the tree to access a branch, you’re likely carrying some kind of equipment up with you, and it’s a trained skill to be able to do so safely. It doesn’t take much to lose your balance or for a stray branch to fall and cause you to lose your footing. Trimming tree branches is a serious job, and not taking it seriously can result in serious injury.
According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, electrocution, falling from trees, and being struck by trees or limbs are the most common types of serious tree trimming accidents. So before you start trimming your tree branches, ask yourself if this is something you’re prepared for or if you’re better off calling a professional tree service company.
Trimming your tree can be dangerous for you, but it can also be dangerous for your tree. When it comes to trimming tree branches, every cut matters. You need to make sure you’re cutting correctly and avoiding highly sensitive areas. Leaving large wounds open on a tree also leaves it open to disease and fungus. It might seem like you can fix a problem with just a few chops and everything will be fine, but depending on where you cut, you could be causing a bigger problem than the initial one.
To stay on the safer side, calling a professional to complete this job for you could be the best option. With over 30 years in the tree service industry, Mr. Tree prides itself on having the knowledge and capability to perform the branch trimming services you’re looking for.


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