When to Trim or Prune a Tree – Tree trimming is the key to a beautiful property, is the maintenance of its trees. During the year wind storms, ice and snow can take a toll on trees. Yearly you should take a survey of your trees, to determine how many broken, dead or damaged branch need attention. Trimming makes a tree more attractive and keeps them healthy.

Pruning also takes care of possible hazards of a dead branch falling and hurting a person or property. If you are familiar with the safety and techniques of pruning, you make want to take this on yourself. Most people work hard all week and would prefer a professional take care of this work.

Reasons for Tree Trimming

Trees are generally trimmed for appearance, safety or health of the tree.  For example:

  • Insects or disease
  • Lightening heavy branches
  • Branches blocking light
  • Dead, or decaying branches
  • Branches next to utilities or building
  • Branches blocking street signs or walkways

Appearance  – Tree trimming is a proven way to maintain the appearance of a tree.  Pruning does not necessarily make the tree symmetrical, but will main the natural growth pattern or design of the tree.

Safety – Dead or broken branches and tree limbs can be a danger of snapping and falling on your family, friends, and strangers who walk or drive past your property.  If not pruned it can be an accident waiting to happen.

Limbs – that block traffic signs or the right of way, need to be removed or cut back to allow unhindered vision.  Limbs that grow close to utility wires can cause problems such as loss of lights or cable.  The good news is, the utility provider will remove these hazards at no cost to the homeowner.

Health – It is sometimes possible to save an infected tree by strategically pruning away affected branches and limbs. Thinning the crown of a tree improves airflow, which can be very beneficial.  If branches are crossing or rubbing together, they should be trimmed so that they don’t fall unexpectedly.


International Society ofArbroriculture


30 Replies to “Tree Trimming Tips – When you Need to Trim your Trees

  1. Safety is important to consider when you own a tree, if a dead branch brakes off and falls on someone it could be bad. This can be seen as not taking care of your tree, and you could get blamed. If you don’t know how to trim, you can always call a company. They know the tips and tricks, they can do it without causing harm to anything you own nearby as well as not harming the tree.

    1. Tree trimming is not as easy as it seems. You are right, and expert know just how to cut, and where to cut to make sure he/she and the client’s property is safe.

  2. Nice article! Might I add that heavy trimming of your trees is best done in the fall time as to avoid pest and disease infecting exposures to the tree from trimming and pruning. Less sweating involved as well! lol

  3. Great post Treeman. I have to agree with sarah safety is very important even some of the pros mess up every now and then but practicing good safety habits will definitely keep your incident rate down. I’m a part of a forum of arborist and tree fellers and it’s always really sad when we get news of someone getting seriously injured or killed while trimming. Anyway thanks again great post. Safe Trimming!!

  4. A common mistake is to remove too much inner foliage and small branches. It is important to maintain an even distribution of foliage along large limbs and in the lower portion of the crown. Overthinning reduces the tree’s sugar production capacity and can create tip-heavy limbs that are prone to failure. BTW, very nice content here. Good tips.


  5. It’s interesting to read about some of the reasons for tree trimming. It makes sense that looks are a big reason for trimming them but I didn’t realize it could actually be beneficial to the surrounding area. It’s something to keep in mind because the limbs on my trees are rather large and trimming them could be a good way to improve visibility.

  6. I didn’t realize that you can save a sick tree with trimming it. I have noticed a few of the trees in my backyard aren’t doing too well. I wonder if getting a professional to come trim the trees would help them last longer.

  7. I saw your link to the ISA site but didn’t see it mentioned in the post. Be sure to hire an ISA certified arborist. You can have some assurance that they know what they are doing and won’t harm your tree or property. Often they can even just consult with you. That’s my recommendation.

  8. I appreciate you mentioning that you need to trim dead and broken branches so they aren’t in danger of falling on people. I didn’t realize they could be so dangerous. I have a lot of trees in my yard, and I never get around to trimming them. I will have to make sure I am better about it in the future.

    1. Yes, Burt, dead branches are extremely dangerous. For the property owners, it can lead to someone being hurt or worse, killed.

  9. I like how pruning doesn’t focus on symmetry, but on the tree’s health. Some of the trees in our yard have started to show signs of drying and sickness. I definitely think that we should have them trimmed in order to help to improve their health and our home’s overall curb appeal.

  10. There are a few trees in my backyard that are starting to grow out of hand. The limps are getting pretty close to the power lines, so like you suggest I am going to trim them back a few feet. Last thing I want is for the branches to hit the lines and start a fire. Thanks for the advice.

  11. I thought it was interesting that you talked about trimming trees so branches don’t block traffic signs or the road. My house has a blind driveway with a big oak in front of it, and I hadn’t considered that the tree might need trimming to help drivers see the driveway. It’s good to know that trimming my trees can keep them healthy and keep other people safer too.

  12. Thanks for going over some tree trimming tips! I actually had no idea that trimming the crown of a tree could actually improve it’s airflow. My wife has been thinking of adding a tree to our yard, so these tips may be useful in the future.

  13. I’m so glad you mentioned that limbs that are too close to electrical cables can cause lights to go out. The lights in my kitchen have been flickering and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized that some branches from my oak tree are in the way. I should probably call a tree lopping service to take them down before they cause a serious problem.

  14. I appreciate how you brought trimming your trees when dealing with branches blocking street signs or walkways. Lately, I’ve been concerned about the branches in my yard starting to block a stop sign next to my home, and I don’t want to get in trouble over that. Perhaps I should look into hiring tree trimming services to take care of my tree.

  15. I like that you mentioned that a utility provider will remove branches that are close to utility wires for free! My parents have a rather large and old tree in their backyard that’s been there since I was a kid. Now, it’s growing near the utility wires behind the yard. I’ll be sure to let them know that their utility provider can take care of that without them having to pay!

  16. My husband is planning on hiring tree trimming services after winter, in order to beautify our property while keeping our trees healthy. Thinning our tree’s crown will improve airflow to our property which is beneficial. However, I didn’t know that tree trimming can also save an infected tree! Thanks for such information.

  17. I like how you talked about how the branches would block light. There are some trees that are blocking precious sunlight to our home and it always makes the winters colder. I’ll have to remember to hire someone so that my trees get trimmed.

  18. My wife and I can’t see all that well out of our window anymore because a tree is blocking our view I liked that you had mentioned that trimming can help maintain the appearance you’re going for. We’ll have to start looking for a tree service company that can help us out and we’ll be making sure we can avoid the view blocking.

  19. I am glad you mentioned that dead or decaying branches are a sign that you need to service your tree. My mom recently had to lop and prune her old oak tree in her backyard. Thank you for the tips on tree trimming.

  20. I’m sure it’s time for me to trim my trees again, especially with the weather warming up. I have noticed some dead branches that might even look diseased. It’s good to know that infected trees can be saved by pruning away affected branches. I’ll have to try this.

  21. I like how you listed the reasons for tree trimming. It’s good to know what I should look out for. My wife and I have a few trees in our backyard and we’ve been wondering when is the right time to trim them and how to properly manage them. We’ll probably have to get in touch with a local tree service that can help us with it.

  22. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned that it should be taken care of if it is blocking any light or signs. I used to live in this neighborhood that had a lot of problems with this, but I didn’t know it was something that a utility provider would take care of it. If I see something like that again, I’ll be sure to contact someone so that it doesn’t continue to be a hazard.

  23. There is a tree in front of our house that has never been trimmed or maintained before. And I think that it has grown to a point where it can damage a property or injure a person who might be passing by. So I agree that it is important to prune it or call a tree service company to prevent dead or broken branches from falling on anyone. Thanks!

  24. From my point of view, I would not know the first thing about trimming trees. I think it is an extra smart idea to clean shears before trimming. When working on multiple trees I imagine that you could accidentally spread something that might not be the best for a tree. Finding trimming service with employees that are aware of details like cleaning sheers would be wise.

  25. We have a lot of trees lining the street that we live on. I have been noticing that some of them are starting to block certain signs. It’s good to know that tree services can take care of this safely and that our street can be more secure again.

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