Now that winter is here, you can finally begin pruning and trimming trees. However, in order to keep your trees healthy you need to know the best way to trim your trees. Here are four tips on tree trimming:
1. Don't trim unless you have a good reason.
A little pruning helps bring out the natural beauty of your tree. However, excessive trimming will alter the tree's shape and leave it looking unnatural, especially when its leaves start blooming. You should only cut branches when it's necessary. Always cut branches that are dangerous. Cut dead branches that could fall, branches that obstruct your view when walking or driving, and branches that touch your house. You should also cut branches to limit the spread of disease.
2. Plan the cuts
Don't just start chopping with no plan in mind. Not only can this lead to a lopsided tree, but you can harm the tree and lengthen the amount of time it takes for healing. You need to make a plan before you start trimming. You always want to make the biggest cut, or trim the biggest branch, first. Making the biggest cut first limits injury to the tree. To find the biggest cut, you need to mark the branches that need to be trimmed. Use tape or paint to mark branches that detract from the beauty of the tree, tangled branches, and damaged, broken, or dead branches.
3. Know how to make the cut
When trimming trees it's absolutely essential that you know how to make the cuts. Improper cutting can damage the tree and leave it prone to infection. Here is a guide on how to make cuts:
- For thin branches, cut above the bud within a 1/4 of an inch. Never cut off the bud unless you want to prevent the branch from growing back.
- With thick branches you need to make at least three cuts.
- For the first cut, measure from the trunk about 18 inches and cut halfway into the branch from the bottom.
- Make the second cut further down from the first. Cut halfway from the top.
- To make the final cut, look for the branch collar. This is similar to the bud on a small branch, except that it's large and grows from the trunk. Cut in front of the collar and take care not to damage it.
4. Care for your tree
When you get cut, you put antibiotic cream and a bandage on to prevent infection. Why treat your tree any different? Your tree is prone to disease and infection after trimming. After trimming, looks for areas where the bark is stripped or peeled. Smooth these areas with a chisel or sandpaper. Apply nontoxic latex paint to seal the area around the bark. You don't need to apply paint to the entire wound. Give your tree extra water after trimming to encourage speedy wound healing. Till the soil and apply fresh fertilizer.
These tips will keep your trees healthy and naturally beautiful. For assistance, talk to a professional like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.