The smaller the tree, the easier it is to trim. Most people can trim a medium-sized apple tree without much struggle. However, the huge oak tree at the back of your property is another story. Does it even need pruning? How do you know which branches to remove? How can you access a high-up branch that needs to be removed? Discover the answers to these and other questions as you read the tips below.
1. Only prune for a reason.
Large, mature trees do not really require regular pruning for ongoing health. Whenever you do trim the tree, it should be for a reason. That reason can be to remove dead or dying branches, to keep the tree from interfering with your home, or to remove a large branch that you're afraid might fall. Don't just trim haphazardly to remove a branch here and there as you might do with a younger, smaller tree.
2. Only trim what you can reach from a ladder.
If a branch needs to be removed but it is too high up for you to comfortably reach from a ladder, then you should leave that branch in place. Hire a professional tree trimmer to come take care of the issue. They have harnesses and platforms that can use to trim those taller branches safely, and it is not safe for you to use this equipment yourself without the necessary training.
3. Cut branches in pieces, when needed.
Ultimately, you should be cutting all branches off about an inch from the trunk. This ensures the tree does not waste resources trying to keep part of a branch alive when it will ultimately die. It also ensures you do not cut through the branch collar — the sensitive tissue right where the branch meets the trunk. You may, however, want to cut off chunks of a larger branch rather than cutting the whole thing off all at once. This is safer since you won't have a huge branch falling to the ground all at once.
4. Trim before the tree gets its leaves.
The best time to trim a big tree is really early in the spring before it gets any leaves. This way, you will have an easier time seeing where the branches are. The branches won't be so heavy, either, so they won't cause as much damage as they fall to the ground.
With the tips above, you'll have better luck taking care of your big trees. Contact a tree trimming service if you need any help.