While many people hire professionals to trim their trees, it is possible to do a good job of tree trimming on your own. You do, however, need to be careful that the trimming techniques you use don't cause more harm than good. Here are some key tips to follow to ensure you don't injure or harm a tree while trimming it.
Protect the leader
This tip mostly comes into play when trimming young trees in which the central trunk is not yet too different-looking from the other branches. Before you start trimming, identify this trunk, which is also known as the leader. This is the main branch from which all other branches will grow, so you do not want to trim it at all. You also want to make sure any other branches that look like they're getting big and starting to compete with the leader do get trimmed away. This will prevent the young tree from developing an undesirable and unhealthy split trunk shape as it grows older.
Use sharp shears
A jagged cut is a lot harder for a tree to heal. It will lose more sap. You want to make your cuts as clean as possible, and the best way to do that is to only use sharpened shears. Take your shears to a local hardware store or knife shop for sharpening before you start to trim.
Remove crossed branches
If you see any branches that are directly crossing each other and rubbing on each other, trim one of the branches away. Otherwise, friction between the branches is likely to cause a wound on one or both of them. That wound could attract insects or become infected with fungi.
Leave a nub
Do not trim branches flush with the trunk. It can be tempting to do since it creates a smooth, cohesive look, but you actually want to leave a nub behind from each branch you trim. This reduces the amount of sap that a tree loses since trees "bleed" a lot from the part of the branch closest to the trunk. Leaving a nub prevents you from having to cut through this part of the branch.
Trimming a tree is meant to improve its health, not take away from it. If you follow the tips above, you can accomplish that. And if you're worried you may not be able to follow these tips, remember that there are tree care professionals available who can do a good, thorough job of trimming for you.
Contact a local tree trimming service to learn more.