DIY tree trimming tips

If the job is fairly straightforward and you are in good enough health to do your own tree trimming, it’s a DIY project that could save you some money. Instead of calling a tree trimmer for simple jobs, follow the pointers below to make the task safe and easy!

First, realize there is a big difference between trimming and pruning. Trimming is only meant to improve the overall look of the tree by maintaining its shape. It can also be a means to improve the tree’s health when you want to thin out the crown a little or to prevent the tree from becoming a safety hazard (lowering visibility or getting close to power lines).

Here are a few general tips to get you started trimming your trees:

  • Trim during the dormant season. Trimming a tree during its growing season stunts its growth, but trimming during the dormant season gives it a chance to recover before spring and summer. Evergreens can technically be trimmed any time since they don’t have a dormant period, but it is still better to trim them during cooler months.


  • Consider the size of the limb before trimming it. Anything smaller than 5 centimeters in diameter can be removed without much thought. If the limb is between 5 and 10 centimeters thick, think about why you are removing the limb before simply cutting it off. If it is larger than 10 centimeters in diameter,


  • Look at the angle where the limb is attached to the tree. If it is attached with a V-shaped angle, it should definitely be removed, but if the limb has a nice, strong U-shaped angle from the tree, try to retain it unless you have a good reason for removing it. If a limb is perpendicular to the trunk, make sure that has a strong point of attachment. If not, trim it away.


  • Cut at just the right place. You will notice a small raised area around the limb where it attaches to the tree’s trunk. This is called the branch collar. When you trim limbs, cut just past this, toward the limb. Cutting too close to the trunk can result in a permanent scar on the tree, and cutting it too long will leave a small limb and affect the overall look of your tree.


  • Learn about the type of tree you have. Trim it into the natural shape it is intended to have. Forcing a tree into an unnatural shape will not produce a beautiful or healthy tree. Trimming is only meant to maintain the tree’s shape anyway.

With these tips, you should be able to do regular maintenance on your trees. The important thing to remember is that trimming trees while they are small will train them so you won’t have as many problems later on. Each year, take a look at all of your trees and do trimming if necessary.

Above all, put safety first! Don’t attempt to do tree trimming unless you feel completely confident doing the project without harming yourself, anyone else or any property.