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Tree trimming is essential to the health and longevity of your trees, as well as the safety of you and your family. There are many reasons to trim trees: to shape the growth, to encourage new growth, to prune back old, dead, or infested branches, and to add a unique, beautiful view to your yard or property. Picturesque trees are every homeowners' dream, and achieving that dream is easier than you'd think.
Most people wonder why pruning trees is important. After all, pruning doesn't happen in the wild, does it? The short answer is: yes, a type of pruning does happen in the wild. Whenever a branch gets diseased the tree will often cut off nutrients from it, allowing storms or wind to knock it off. Oftentimes this occurs after the tree has put energy into that branch for so long, so all of that energy is wasted. During winter most trees go into a dormant state, pulling all of their nutrients into the trunk. This means that any dead branches the tree may have, or even those close to death, won't come back in the spring. If the dead branches aren't removed then it can cause problems when it comes to getting sunlight to the rest of the tree.
Pruning allows you to take the health of your trees into your own hands. Removing old growth helps your tree to take in the sunlight when spring arrives, resulting in a healthier, stronger tree overall. It also helps to remove obstacles such as large branches that might be getting too close to a powerline, or your roof.
Safety when tree trimming is always important. If you're planning on climbing onto a ladder then make sure the ladder is secure or you have someone on the ground helping you and they should be wearing a hard hat in case the branches are large. Always wear proper eye equipment, even if you aren't using power tools because sometimes branches don't act the way you want them to. Some trees have thorns or large spikes that hurt even in winter, so even if the safety glasses feel silly, it's better to be silly than sorry. Make sure any pets or children are put up so they don't get struck by branches or run off with anything that might be carrying pests. If you are using power tools make sure you know how to safely operate them and don't press your luck by operating them beyond those safety scopes. Chainsaw chains can and will fly off if used improperly.
Although everyone seems to have their opinion, most people agree that during the winter dormancy state is the best time to prune trees, and bushes while you're at it, even in warmer climates. The tree is sleeping, so if you take off branches it'll wake up and be able to get straight back to work. It's best to remove dead branches or stems as soon as you spot them, no matter the time of year but if you're looking to shape your trees or bushes then the first step is to prune. After you've done a major pruning you can typically expect to only have to keep up with new growth and dead branches every year during winter.
It can be daunting to think about cutting away any significant portions of your trees, especially if they're very large. Trees that have been allowed to grow unchecked often have the most dead branches, making pruning rather difficult. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure you don't cut anything lower than a foot off the ground. Remove any branches that pose a danger to your yard. Anything crumbling or partially rotten should be removed, especially if it hangs over your roof which can cause a lot of damage if the wind brings it down. If cutting down large branches make sure to think about where it's going to land, and if you don't feel comfortable then hire a professional. Anything over 4 inches in diameter should be handled by a trained arborist. Your parents or grandparents may be willing to chop branches willy-nilly, but people get hurt every day by not following proper safety protocols.
This mostly depends on the type of tree, where it's located, and how big it is. Smaller trees can usually be dealt with using pruning shears, loppers, branch trimmers, or a chainsaw if you want to get the job done quickly. Taller trees might require a ladder, or a pole saw. Another thing to consider when trimming your trees is what you'll do with the clippings afterward. Lots of people utilize their downed branches by chipping or mulching them so that the nutrients of the wood can feed the bugs on their property and help enrich the soil or beautify their garden beds.
Pruning can seem difficult or daunting, and if you truly feel like you aren't up to the task then research tree trimming services in your area. Just keep in mind that it should be done yearly to keep your trees looking their best.