To Trim or Not to Trim

To Trim or Not to Trim

When it comes to trimming trees, I often get asked, “Should we cut that limb?” or, “wouldn’t the tree be healthier if we removed the dead wood?” It truly depends on the needs of the tree and the wants of the customer, which at times can be a hard balance to juggle.

For the most part, trees do not need people. Just take a walk in the woods where there are no people, and you will see that the trees look quite healthy. It is only amongst human population that we see a tree growing in singularity. Out in nature we see trees growing in clusters. Which leads me to one of the reasons why people think trees should be trimmed: Is it okay that those trees are touching? My answer is simple: Go to the forest, and you will see trees of different varieties growing into each other that are vibrant and healthy. However, if the goal of the customer is that his crepe myrtle produce more flowers but is currently being shaded out by that oak, then I would suggest that the oak be trimmed.

What about all those dead branches? Are they hurting the tree? Those dead limbs are not causing pain to the tree, but if the limb falls on you or your house, the outcome may not be pleasant. Most of the time, a dead limb is present in a tree because the branch was not getting enough sunlight and was no longer producing photosynthesis, so the tree, in a way, pruned itself. I recommend cutting out the dead limbs for the safety of both property and people and because they are ugly.

“That limb is growing too close to my house!” I hear this all the time. How close is too close? I recommend a four to six feet clearance. The branches can still grow over your house as long as you keep them from touching your structure. I have seen many limbs rub away shingles. Some clients however are super paranoid that the tree will fall on their house and will have me cut the branch way back, leaving the tree looking very unnatural. I don’t like trimming the tree in a way that leaves it look funky, however we are here to serve the homeowner. Just remember once I cut it off, I can’t put it back.

Folks call Aabear Tree Care all the time to do a basic canopy lift up. I recommend lifting up the canopy so that you can walk around your yard and not knock your hat off. With that being said, some limbs that hang low may be offering privacy from your nosy neighbors. In that case, I would suggest that you keep those branches. Before you cut a certain branch, imagine the whole limb gone. What’s behind it?

Then there are low hanging limbs with cool curves that add character to your yard. They are perfect for hanging bird feeders or wind chimes. So the question I have for you is, “what do you want, and what does the tree need?” Clean up the suckers of the trunk, remove dead branches, do some light pruning to lift up the canopy, and you will have a picturesque tree, if that is what you want. Remember, a beautiful tree is in the eye of the beholder.