The Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make When Trimming their Trees

DIY Tree Trimming Foibles: Mistakes that Cost

Do-it-yourself tree care can do more harm than good, say Seattle, Washington tree experts.

4 Mistakes that Homeowners Make in Tree Trimming

Trees are living things and though they may be hardy, there are many things that can injure and infect trees. Just as you wouldn’t want an untrained person performing surgery on you, you may not want to cut your own trees. Someone who is untrained in tree health care can do serious and life-threatening damage to a tree. 

Conversely, even if it doesn’t harm the tree, incorrect cutting, trimming, or pruning may be ineffective, showing no benefit at all. 

But the biggest mistake a tree owner can make is not consulting with a tree service company prior to beginning any tree trimming.

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Season

Everything must be done in its proper time. Trimming your tree at the wrong time of year can cause growth and nutrient issues. It’s best to consult with a Certified Arborist to learn the best time to prune a tree. They will consider your pruning objectives and the tree species profile. 

Sometimes, it’s better to trim when the growth season is in full swing (summer) or when the tree is dormant (winter). The goal is to avoid pruning that can stunt growth, reduce the tree’s ability to fight off infection, or its ability to produce nutrients at a critical transition time. 

Without the training and experience of a Certified tree service professional, these ins and outs of tree care can be a lot to keep track of. 

Mistake #2: Improper Tool Care

Tools need to be sharpened and sanitized, not only for the sake of the tree but for the sake of the people using them. Trimming with dull shears takes much more effort than trimming with sharp shears!

Trees are susceptible to disease and infection just as other living things are. Bacteria, and particularly fungal infections, can easily be passed from a diseased tree to a healthy tree through dirty tools

Here are the reasons that cleaning and sharpening tools is essential:

  • Efficiency of work
  • Prevention of tree infection
  • Easier tree healing

Mistake #3: Cutting Too Little or Too Much

Either extreme一cutting too much or too little一can happen if someone is just randomly hacking at a tree. 

Insufficient trimming will achieve no benefit. Branches may continue their unwanted growth pattern. 

  • If a homeowner is trying to keep limbs from growing over the house or some other yard structure, just cutting all the limbs off on one side or just trimming the very ends of said limbs is not going to be effective.

On the other hand, excess trimming can be detrimental to tree health because their main source of nutrition (their leaves) has been removed. This can shorten the lifespan of your tree.  

The educated eye of an Arborist knows when to cut, but also where and how much to cut to achieve the client’s goals. 

Mistake #4: Cutting Too Close to the Trunk

Branch collar versus branch bark ridgeThe point where a branch grows out of the tree trunk, the widest part of the branch, is known as the branch collar. This is like a major artery in the human or animal body. Branches should be trimmed at least a few inches outside the branch collar for proper healing for the tree. Cutting through the collar can cause the tree to lose a lot of sap and nutrients, making it harder, if not impossible, to heal properly. 

The Bottom Line

There is an art and science to proper tree care. Loping off the tree branches that are causing you stress may seem like a no-brainer, but a brief consult from a Certified Arborist can put tree care in perspective. Certified tree service aims to draw a bridge between what’s best for the tree and what’s best for the tree owner. As always with tree care, talk to a professional before trying anything at home.

About Seattle Tree Care

Seattle Tree Care has been offering stellar service in both residential and commercial areas since 2007. They provide Certified Arborist tree services along with 24/7 emergency service, and are licensed, bonded, and insured. Call them today for all your tree trimming needs.

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