Tree Trimming Tips + Safety
While tree trimming, your number one priority should be safety. Your immediate goals may be to remove an over grown branch or trim some unsightly leaves, but what you should keep in mind is that you or your tree could suffer from careless cutting. Many people find themselves needing to trim branches that have grown into inconvenient areas, are damaged and diseased or that just need trimming so their tree is aesthetically pleasing. Here are a few ways to keep you and your tree safe while trimming.
Before you start cutting, there are a few things you need to think about. First, what do you want to cut? You need to make sure you have a plan so you reduce your chances of making a mistake and prevent possible injury. Next, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct equipment. For greener, growing branches, an easy tool to use is bypass pruners. When trimming more established branches, the best tool to use is anvil pruners.* For accuracy, make sure you have a ladder. This will improve your stability as you’re cutting and reduce your chances of personal injury by allowing you to cut comfortably and not over your head. Lastly, to prevent scrapes or splinters, use gloves for safety.
The First Cut
Now that you have your plan, equipment and protective gear, it’s time to start cutting. Identify the branch’s stem collar, a chemically protective area of tissue where the branch extends from the trunk. Your first cut should be made about 6 inches away from the trunk of the tree. This cut will be made from the underside of the branch and should only go halfway through the branch.* This will help prevent cracking the stem collar in case your branch is too heavy and begins cracking as you’re cutting. Your second cut should be from the top about 3 inches farther away from the trunk than your first cut. This cut should be completed all the way through the branch.* The final cut will be cutting back the remaining stub to your liking.*
There are a few things you should be cautious of during tree trimming to ensure your and the tree’s safety. Cutting off the stem collar may result in serious damage to your tree. The stem collar acts as a protective layer, and when it is cut your tree trunk is more susceptible to decay.* If your branches are larger, or could possibly fall on something else, tie rope to them before you cut and slowly lower the branch once it’s cut. This will help prevent damage to people, property and lower branches.
Ladder misplacement may also prove to be disastrous. Push your ladder up against your tree, close to the branches you intend on cutting and make sure the legs are firm on the ground. This will prevent you from having to reach too far and increase your stability.*
Final Tree Trimming Tips
Lastly, if you are unsure whether or not your tree should be trimmed, call a professional. Professionals are able to trim larger branches, diagnose damaged ones and apply a treatment to your tree, such as fertilizer blended with Pellet 3-IA, that enhances the overall health. With these tips, your trimming experience should be easy and quick, leaving you with beautiful, healthy trees!