Tree Trimming Tips
by Evan Baker
Fall may feel like the perfect time to rest after a long summer working in your garden but there is still plenty of work to be done. Gardens need to be put to bed, grass needs to be fertilized and trees need to be pruned.
Many people tend to shy away from pruning their trees because they are unsure of what to trim back or how to do it. While you should leave major tree trimming and pruning to the professionals, there are still some things you can do yourself.
Properly pruned trees require less frequent pruning and will help keep your trees looking healthy year round.
The key is to focus on improving growing conditions for next year rather than shaping the tree.
1. Wait until all of the leaves have fallen. You can tackle a few of the smaller tasks earlier but it's best to wait until all of the leaves have fallen from the branches before doing any major pruning. Waiting until all of the leaves have fallen is beneficial for a couple of reasons; the most obvious of them being that you will be able to clearly see what needs to be pruned without of the leaves cluttering your view.
2. It's also best to wait because pruning too early will stimulate new growth which will have little time to harden before the cold weather comes. The cold weather can harm the new growth which will result in the tree needing more pruning come spring.
3. Use pruning shears as much as possible. Smaller cuts will heal faster leaving less time for fungus and bacteria to grow.
4. Remove any dead, broken, or diseased branches that you can see. This is especially important if you have trees close to your home or near the street. Dead branches are more likely to fall during harsh weather conditions so it's important to remove them to avoid potential damage or injury.
5. Avoid topping your trees. Cutting back large upright branches between nodes is damaging to trees and new growth will likely grow taller than the original branches you cut back. As a rule of thumb, never remove more than a third of the tree's crown.
6. Once your trees are pruned, it's best to skip tree paint or any other form of wound camouflage. While tree paint may look nicer while the wounds are healing, it actually slows down the process leaving your tree at risk for disease.
Evan Baker is a new homeowner in the Denver area. He is anxiously waiting for the leaves to fall so he can trim the trees in his yard.