Tree trimming is an important part of property management. Trees are wonderful and they add tremendous value when maintained appropriately. Here are some thoughts on how to trim trees. Of course, we would love the chance to help you, but generally we care for the trees in Central Texas. Hopefully this helps.
How to trim your trees – Start with the Right Questions
First, “Know Thy Tree”. You want to ensure you know the type of tree you want to trim. It is important to trim an oak different from a Bradford pear, and different from a Crape Myrtle. Is this a deciduous tree or an ever green? (If you are asking what deciduous means, then we recommend stopping here and giving us a call). Is the growing season in the spring? Has the tree reached its full maturity?
What is your goal? People trim trees for many reasons. Know what you are trying to accomplish. Different goals may result in different trimming. Are you just looking for aesthetic appeal? Is this for safety? Are you just trimming the tree as an excuse to bust out a chain saw? Are you looking to maximize long term value of your property?
How often should we trim our trees?
Most trees will benefit from an annual trim. An annual trim generally consists of a couple of things – raise the canopy (remove the low hanging branches), remove any dead wood / damaged branches, and prune away from the house or roof.
Trimming the trees helps them look great, but it’s good for the health of the trees too. When we trim trees we remove unhealthy growth. This includes dead/damaged branches, weak limbs, crossing and rubbing branches, and removing suckers / water sprouts – those little branches popping up all over the main trunk and the base of the tree.
If you ignore routine trimming, trees will actually self-prune. Branches will die and eventually fall out of the canopy by themselves. Usually with the help of a strong storm. The results are typically less than ideal, with masses of dead wood raining out of the trees whenever a storm rolls through. The broken branches can also cause large ragged wounds in the tree that can take a long time to heal. The wounds make a great home for unwanted insects, can lead to disease or rot, and in some cases the trees can even die.
Common issues we see include damaged limbs, safety hazards, and damage to structures. Earlier we mentioned Bradford pear trees. They are notorious for dropping large mature limbs in windstorms. We often encourage clients to remove mature (20-25 year old) Bradford pear trees or, at minimum, remove large “at risk” limbs – any limbs over a car, sidewalk or roof. When a tree is properly trimmed, the wounds are minimized. The branches are cut in a way that encourages the trees to heal cleanly. It also helps avoid damage to houses or property caused by branches flying around in heavy wind.
Trimming also helps keep our landscape usable. We often trim up the tree canopy so we can walk or drive under the tree. Yards with a lot of trees can feel small and enclosed, but raising the canopies can open up the space and make the yard feel larger and sod installation much more doable. It will also open up the space so air can circulate freely. The air helps dry out the space some, which limits mosquitoes, and helps limit the spread of fungi.
Best Practices for Tree Trimming
Safety! Ladder + Chainsaw + Inexperience = Recipe for disaster. Many people get hurt on ladders. Please be careful. Don’t let the branch fall on you or a car or a kid or your favorite lawn gnome.
But secondly, don’t forget about safety for the tree! Make sure that you take precautions to preserve the health of the tree.
With oak trees we have to be a little more careful. To keep our oaks healthy we have always avoided is trimming our oak trees in the Spring. Spring is the danger zone for the spread of oak Wilt. Oak Wilt is a fungal disease that can destroy oak trees, spreading from the original infected tree to other trees in the yard and neighborhood. Oak wilt is bad news.
What can be done about this horrible disease? The best medicine is prevention. In this case, clean and sanitize the tools regularly, paint the wounds on the oak trees to seal the pruning cut closed from outside pathogens, and only prune oaks from July through January. As the summer heat settles over the Austin area, and we start trimming oaks again. If you want additional info on Oak Wilt, then visit this site.
Hiring a Tree Company
Be careful and thoughtful. The temptation is to take the low bid, but we caution you to do your homework and ensure that the company is fully insured. This is a dangerous business and if someone falls on your property, you are putting yourself at risk (and that contractor). Secondly, ensure they use best practices in the industry and train their team rigorously. Finally, reputation is key.
What can Top Choice do?
We trim a lot of trees. We have an arborist on staff and we care tremendously for the trees in Austin. As a company we focus on the annual tree maintenance. We will do just about anything that we can reach from a ladder or with a pole saw. We will not climb any trees or do any work in the living canopy. If you aren’t sure whether we can help, give us a call and we will help you or point you to someone who can help.
A poem about tree trimming to make you smile
This poem is bound to win several very lucrative prizes.
My name is Jimmy and I’m a live oak🌳 ,
Yes, I can write, this isn’t a joke.
I’m writing to ask that you take just a minute
To as Top Choice for a quote…right now…I mean it!
I am drooping and stooping and need a good trim
So I can stand tall and upright again.
Remember last week when my branches hit you in the face?
Or when I smacked the passing 🏃 jogger? What a disgrace!
My branches are heavy and I am feeling overweight
I want some good service to make me feel great.
My friend, it is already past July
So get a quote…please…please…(sigh)