Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Tree Trimming

Thinking you are in need of some tree trimming?? Before you begin, there are some very important points to mention.

Proper Tree trimming

First, if you have Oak Trees, read my blog about “Oak Wilt”  before you do any trimming and always follow the tips I give for your Oak tree trimming without fail.  As for all your other trees, there are some basic instructions to follow.

First, you need to have the right tools for the job. Bypass loppers, hand saws, chain saws and tree saws are great tools for tree trimming. Make sure your tools are sharpened and clean. You clean your tools with Lysol to prevent spreading disease.

When you trim small branches and twigs, you need to cut as close to the main branch as possible. You will notice a wrinkly part of the tree where the two branches meet, this is called the branch collar and you should cut just outside (away from the uncut branch or tree trunk) without cutting into it. You don’t want to leave a large nub here either, that will cause the tree to heal more slowly and can allow pathogens and diseases to enter the tree through this opening when it doesn’t heal properly. The tree collar sort of acts like a band-aid on the tree and if cut properly will close more quickly and look more natural once healed. If you are trimming a large limb, make a cut at the bottom of the limb first, so when you are cutting the top and the weight of that branch falls, it won’t be peeling your bark off with it leaving a huge wound for the tree to recover from.

Some trees like Apples, Pears, Crepe Myrtles and the like will produce “sucker’s” or new sprouts at base or trunk of the tree. This can be from stress, or naturally occur on some trees. Cut these off as they form to help the tree grow on the top where you want growth instead of using the trees energy to support branches on the bottom where they aren’t needed.

Be careful when you are cutting flowering and fruiting trees too late in the season as any cuts you make just prior to blooming will mean that you have lost those fruit or flowers. The tree’s set their fruit in the previous year, so cutting them too late in the season or just before they set fruit means you will have less production. It is never necessary to cut the tops of your trees, if you planted a tree that is too tall for the area it is in, replace it with an appropriate one. (read “Crepe Myrtles”)

Never trim your trees and shrubs when they are wet. The water on your trees can weigh the branches down making them lower than they would usually be, if you cut the branch too short and have now allowed your neighbors a view of your bedroom that they didn’t have before, you can’t glue it back on. Kind of like cutting wet bangs ( you ladies know what I’m talking about).

Finally, NEVER USE AN EXTENSION LADDER TO CUT HIGH LIMBS!! watch a few You Tube videos to see why. Basically the science behind it is the same as wet limbs except the opposite. You start trimming on a long heavy limb while on your trusty ladder, when all of a sudden the really heavy limb falls to the ground and snaps your ladder out from under you… OR… the weight of the tree limb had just gotten a lot lighter from the length you just cut and the limb springs up, leaving you without a limb to lean on, and you go falling to the ground with a sharp too or chainsaw in your hand. Lose, lose proposition from where I sit. If the task is too large for you call a professional and ALWAYS supervise the trimming of your large trees, never assume they know what they are doing. You need to be your own advocate on your properties. This is the responsible thing to do.

Finally, be sure you are trimming up the bottom branches of your trees to about 6′ from the ground. You don’t want your trees looking shrubby. This makes it aesthetically more pleasing, makes your home more visible and makes it easier to get around your tree with the lawnmower.  Additionally, the same principle applies as with suckers, the energy the low branches take from the tree could be better spent growing the top for height and width.

Happy Gardening!!
Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

“Saving The Planet One Yard at a Time”

Check me out on YouTube!

Quote of the day: “The history of every nation is eventually written by the way in which it cares for its soil.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt


  1. Theresa

    GREAT tree trimming info Lisa! Thanks so much!! =)

  2. As a tree service expert, I completely agree with your advice, especially the importance of having the right tools, cutting near the branch collar, and avoiding cuts during the wrong season to preserve fruit production. Safety is paramount, so homeowners should never attempt risky tasks with extension ladders and should seek professional help for large trees. Keeping the bottom branches trimmed up not only enhances aesthetics but also improves lawn maintenance. It’s crucial for tree health and maintaining an appealing landscape. Well said!

    • Hi Julio, thank you for your feedback and for all that you do. I always recommend that my clients reach out to qualified tree specialists and keep a relationship open for life. Our trees are a huge part of our home value and an invaluable asset to humanity.

  3. Sam

    You really have to consider a lot of things when tree trimming to avoid any accidents. This is a really good post, keep posting!

    • Thank you Sam, trees are the lungs of the planet and need to be treated with care and respect.


  1. Tree Trimming – California Tree Pros Santa Barbara

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