How to Trim a Tree

By Benjamin Hardy
12/13/2014 3:42:19 PM

Whether cutting storm-damaged branches and dead limbs, regulating growth or shaping a tree for aesthetic purposes, regular trimming is important to promoting a healthy, good-looking tree.

Always work from the ground when trimming or pruning trees. Never prune trees from a ladder. When cutting, always stand to the side and away from an overhead branch. If a tree requires heavy trimming or working up in a tree, a tree service professional is strongly recommended.

Step 1: Prune small shoots.

This apple tree has shoots growing along the branches that are robbing energy from forming buds and, in turn, fruit. The best tool for nipping off small shoots is pruning shears. Remove shoots that are growing straight up, and cut back the shoots that are growing on the insides of the branches. Use shears to remove shoots growing straight up.

Credit: Renovate Your World

Step 2: Leave a collar when pruning and trimming.

When you cut the shoot, make an angled cut just above the collar, which is the swollen area where the branch meets the trunk. Leaving a short stem protects the tree against disease. Leave a collar to protect the tree against disease.

Step 3: Clear the trunk area of trees growing in fields.

For trees growing in fields, keep the foot of the trunk free from brush and weeds. If the tree is in a landscaped area, don't use a weed wacker to clear undergrowth for the plastic cord will damage the trunk. Either pull the weeds by hand or wrap the foot of the trunk to protect it. Pull the weeds by hand.

For the remaining steps, continue reading on Renovate Your World.

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