Keeping Trees Healthy: Pruning and Trimming

Keeping Trees Healthy: Pruning and Trimming

One of the most important things to the health of your landscape is keeping your trees healthy, and a big part of that is pruning and trimming. However, it’s highly recommended that you don’t just head out into the yard and start cutting at random.

The process of removing dead or diseased limbs and branches from the tree is called pruning or trimming. This can help your tree get more access to fresh air and light but cutting too much can make it sick. Think of it like surgery. If the surgeon cuts too much, the medical procedure can cause more harm than good.

So what are the best pruning and trimming practices? Here are some tips and tricks.

Pruning and Trimming Tools

At the very least, you will need a pair of shears and some working gloves. You may also need a larger pruning tool, and in some cases,  you will need a chainsaw. If you are using a chainsaw there are also other safety items to consider.

Depending on the size of the tree and where the branches that need trimming are, you may need a ladder as well. If you are climbing to any height, and especially if you are reaching out for branches or using a chainsaw, there are also other tools and safety items you may need. Here is a general list:

  • Hardhat or Helmet: This is in case you fall, or something falls on you.
  • Eye Protection: Safety glasses or goggles are essential to protect your eyes. Your gas station sunglasses are not good enough. Be sure you have actual safety rated eyewear.
  • Gloves: Protecting your hands from splinters and debris, along with the blisters you might get depending on the length of the job is essential. Thick leather full-fingered gloves are recommended.
  • Long Sleeves and Long Pants: This is why it is often desirable to do pruning and trimming in the spring or in the fall. Even if it is hot outside, you need to protect the skin on your arms and legs.
  • Boots: Wear boots or at least fully wrapped footwear with good traction on the soles.
  • A harness. If you are a great distance above the ground, even on an extension ladder, you may want to have and use a harness to prevent falls.

If you don’t have these items or feel uncomfortable about any part of the process, don’t do it. Call a professional first. No potential savings you might realize is worth the risk of injury or worse. Remember, safety first.

Planning Ahead

First, plan for the weather. Pruning and trimming is hard work, and you don’t want to be slogging through the rain or baking in the sun. Cooler temperatures but days when the weather is not foul are the best.

Even so, plan to have plenty of water on hand, and appropriate snacks and nourishment to keep your energy up and your mind focused. Human errors are the biggest contributors to both personal injury and harm to trees.

Make a plan for trimming each tree, working in a circular motion around the tree until you are back where you started. Also make a plan for your yard if you have several trees. While it might be tempting to take everything on at one time, that probably will leave you exhausted and won’t give you the best results.

Plan for what you want the tree or hedge to look like, and trim to that image, careful not to cut too much. If you are trimming from any height, lay down a tarp to catch any trimmings. That will make it easier to clean up at the end of the project.

And although we will cover clean up in a moment, be sure to budget time for it in your process. Don’t work until you are worn out, and then still have a yard to clean.

The Pruning and Trimming Process

Part of having a plan is to know the process of trimming a tree or bush. First, start at the outside, smallest branches first. If you are going to trim from a height, start at the top and work your way down. You can do things the other way around but be sure you have a process. It is usually easier to see the changes that need to be made working up to down.

Trim small portions first, until you find the healthy portion of the tree. You can always trim more, but you can’t put things back on that you have already removed. It is best to err on the side of caution rather than cutting large branches and causing damage to the tree. This also makes cleanup easier at the end of the project.

Cleaning Up

The difficulty in cleaning up depends on the size of your project, and you may be surprised by how much debris trimming even a small tree can create. If the waste won’t fit in your normal garbage bin, you’ll need to take it to your city or county disposal site or transfer station. Alternatively, some garbage companies will let you rent a larger yard refuse bin for the duration of your project.

Unless you are familiar with it, it’s not recommended that you rent a woodchipper or similar device. While very useful, they can also be very dangerous, and extreme precautions are essential to avoiding injury.

Lastly, understand that it is important to clean up thoroughly. While some small branches and leaves may be fine, larger debris can damage your lawn mower, injure a person or pet walking through the lawn area,

Hiring a Pro for Pruning and Trimming

Does all this sound like a bit too much work for you? Do the safety concerns or even the cleanup seem overwhelming? That’s where the pros come in. Rather than getting a crew of friends together, it’s often better to pay the pros to take care of your pruning and trimming for you. Give Acorn Arborists a call, book an appointment and they will happily come and prune your vegetation to your specifications. Call 916-717-8733.

One of the most important things to the health of your landscape is keeping your trees healthy, and a big part of that is pruning and trimming. However, it’s highly recommended that you don’t just head out into the yard and start cutting at random.


The process of removing dead or diseased limbs and branches from the tree is called pruning or trimming. This can help your tree get more access to fresh air and light but cutting too much can make it sick. Think of it like surgery. If the surgeon cuts too much, the medical procedure can cause more harm than good.

So what are the best pruning and trimming practices? Here are some tips and tricks.

Pruning and Trimming Tools
At the very least, you will need a pair of shears and some working gloves. You may also need a larger pruning tool, and in some cases, you will need a chainsaw. If you are using a chainsaw there are also other safety items to consider.

Depending on the size of the tree and where the branches that need trimming are, you may need a ladder as well. If you are climbing to any height, and especially if you are reaching out for branches or using a chainsaw, there are also other tools and safety items you may need. Here is a general list:
• Hardhat or Helmet: This is in case you fall, or something falls on you.
• Eye Protection: Safety glasses or goggles are essential to protect your eyes. Your gas station sunglasses are not good enough. Be sure you have actual safety rated eyewear.
• Gloves: Protecting your hands from splinters and debris, along with the blisters you might get depending on the length of the job is essential. Thick leather full-fingered gloves are recommended.
• Long Sleeves and Long Pants: This is why it is often desirable to do pruning and trimming in the spring or in the fall. Even if it is hot outside, you need to protect the skin on your arms and legs.
• Boots: Wear boots or at least fully wrapped footwear with good traction on the soles.
• A harness. If you are a great distance above the ground, even on an extension ladder, you may want to have and use a harness to prevent falls.
If you don’t have these items or feel uncomfortable about any part of the process, don’t do it. Call a professional first. No potential savings you might realize is worth the risk of injury or worse. Remember, safety first.

Planning Ahead
First, plan for the weather. Pruning and trimming is hard work, and you don’t want to be slogging through the rain or baking in the sun. Cooler temperatures but days when the weather is not foul are the best.
Even so, plan to have plenty of water on hand, and appropriate snacks and nourishment to keep your energy up and your mind focused. Human errors are the biggest contributors to both personal injury and harm to trees.
Make a plan for trimming each tree, working in a circular motion around the tree until you are back where you started. Also make a plan for your yard if you have several trees. While it might be tempting to take everything on at one time, that probably will leave you exhausted and won’t give you the best results.

Plan for what you want the tree or hedge to look like, and trim to that image, careful not to cut too much. If you are trimming from any height, lay down a tarp to catch any trimmings. That will make it easier to clean up at the end of the project.

And although we will cover clean up in a moment, be sure to budget time for it in your process. Don’t work until you are worn out, and then still have a yard to clean.

The Pruning and Trimming Process
Part of having a plan is to know the process of trimming a tree or bush. First, start at the outside, smallest branches first. If you are going to trim from a height, start at the top and work your way down. You can do things the other way around but be sure you have a process. It is usually easier to see the changes that need to be made working up to down.
Trim small portions first, until you find the healthy portion of the tree. You can always trim more, but you can’t put things back on that you have already removed. It is best to err on the side of caution rather than cutting large branches and causing damage to the tree. This also makes cleanup easier at the end of the project.

Cleaning Up
The difficulty in cleaning up depends on the size of your project, and you may be surprised by how much debris trimming even a small tree can create. If the waste won’t fit in your normal garbage bin, you’ll need to take it to your city or county disposal site or transfer station. Alternatively, some garbage companies will let you rent a larger yard refuse bin for the duration of your project.

Unless you are familiar with it, it’s not recommended that you rent a woodchipper or similar device. While very useful, they can also be very dangerous, and extreme precautions are essential to avoiding injury.

Lastly, understand that it is important to clean up thoroughly. While some small branches and leaves may be fine, larger debris can damage your lawn mower, injure a person or pet walking through the lawn area,

Hiring a Pro for Pruning and Trimming
Does all this sound like a bit too much work for you? Do the safety concerns or even the cleanup seem overwhelming? That’s where the pros come in. Rather than getting a crew of friends together, it’s often better to pay the pros to take care of your pruning and trimming for you. Give Acorn Arborists a call, book an appointment and they will happily come and prune your vegetation to your specifications. Call 916-717-8733.

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Acorn Arboricultural Services Inc. provides the Roseville, Placer County and greater Sacramento area with the highest quality tree care services available.
Our staff includes; I.S.A. Certified Arborists and Certified Tree Workers.
Our talented team has over 80 years combined experience in the tree care industry.

Tree Service areas include but are not limited to the following cities:
Roseville CA
Rocklin CA
Citrus Heights CA
Antelope CA
Granite Bay CA
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Orangevale CA
Fair Oaks CA
Mcclellan CA
North Highlands CA
Loomis CA
Carmichael CA
Folsom CA
Elverta CA
Penryn CA
Rio Linda CA
Rancho Cordova CA
Lincoln CA
Represa CA
Newcastle CA
El Dorado Hills CA
Mather CA
Pleasant Grove CA
Auburn CA
Nicolaus CA
West Sacramento CA
Elk Grove CA

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