New To Yard Work? 2 Trimming Mistakes That Can Damage Your Trees

If you are like most new homeowners, the idea of caring for a yard on your own can be a little overwhelming. As you look over your lot, you might notice a few trees that seem bulky or overgrown. Since you have no idea how to cultivate your ground for a garden or fertilize the lawn quite yet, you might figure that tree trimming is a task you can tackle. Unfortunately, pruning is more difficult than most people realize, and making these two simple mistakes can damage your trees:

1: Taking A Little (Or a Lot) Off The Top

Are those trees interfering with the skyline view out of your second-story window? If you are looking for a quick way to solve the problem, you might be thinking about trimming your tree straight across the top. This tactic, referred to as "topping," is severely damaging and can cause these problems:

  • Permanent Disfigurement: Topping will interrupt the natural growth pattern of your tree. Instead of branches growing in a normal, attractive way, your tree might end up looking botched. As your tree struggles to survive the pruning job, waterspouts might spring out all over your tree and make it look even messier and less kept.  
  • Reduces the Tree's Ability to Make Food: Your tree relies on easy access to sunlight to make the food that it so desperately needs. Unfortunately, if you take off the entire top of the tree, you will also be removing many of the leaves that it uses for this vital process.
  • Weakened Structure: Topping also interferes with the general strength of the tree. All tree limbs are not created equally, and some support more weight than others. However, if you cut them all in the same place, some might have to bear more of a burden than their neighbors, which can lead to serious tree fractures.

Instead of taking matters into your own hands, work with a professional arborist who knows what they are doing. Tree trimming experts can quickly determine which branches need to stay and go, while paying attention to the overall size and shape of your tree.

2: Ignoring The Weather

When you think about yard work, you might be more concerned about fitting things into your schedule than you are about how your timing could affect your trees. If you find yourself with a few extra hours on a Saturday morning, you might bundle up and brave the cold so that you can take care of that overgrown tree. However, most people don't realize that plants are sensitive to the weather too, and trimming during the wrong part of the year could be harder on their trees.

Your trees are large, living organisms that need a little time to heal after they are pruned. Although your trees might not seem affected as you haphazardly hack away branches, they will compensate for their injuries by flooding sap to the affected area, producing extra food, and taking a little time to recover. However, this necessary process can be hampered by extreme weather. If your prune in the middle of summer or in the dead of winter, it can shock your tree and make healing take much longer than it should. Unfortunately, unless your tree can bounce back, it can give insects and tree diseases time to infiltrate the area and wreak havoc.

To protect your trees, try to prune in the early spring or late winter, before the tree buds open. If you really want to protect your yard, have a professional take care of things. Professional arborists know when to trim, how much to take, and how to watch for problems.  

Not only will hiring a tree trimming expert help you to protect your trees, but it will also free up your time so that you can work on another part of your yard. Check out sites like for more information.