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Why You Should Make Tree Trimming Part of Your Lawn Care Routine

Whether it’s to provide shade, increase curb appeal, or simply to bring nature closer to home, having trees in your yard is great! However, without proper maintenance, they can become distracting and even dangerous. That’s why the experts at Tree Triage put together this guide about how to keep your trees looking beautiful while also keeping your property safe.

The Dangers of Overgrown Trees

Nearly all homeowners throughout the United States have trees in their yards, but most don’t understand the importance of trimming them. The problem is, if left to their own devices, trees will grow uncontrollably and erratically in an attempt to get as many leaves close to the top of the canopy as possible. Overgrown trees are dangerous for several reasons, the most important of which is that overgrowth limits the resources available for healthy growth. Your trees absorb nutrients and water from the soil and use those to heal trunk damage, maintain leaf growth, and extend more foliage toward the sun for energy production. However, there’s only so much each tree can intake from the surrounding soil, which eventually limits where the tree can continue to grow. Uncontrolled growth often leads to limbs whose leaves get blocked by others and no longer receive adequate sunlight. The tree then struggles to keep those limbs and leaves alive, but the lack of sunlight means they don’t produce adequate energy for the tree. The result is limbs that can potentially die off, putting your home, family, car, and other personal property at risk.
Additionally, unmanaged growth will almost always lead to an extremely dense canopy. While this may or may not look appealing, it puts your tree at risk of toppling over in storms or heavy winds. The bigger the tree and its canopy, the more surface area there is for strong winds to move through it, leaving it more likely to resist the force and remain standing. Dead or dying limbs from uncontrolled growth are far more likely to fall in a storm as well, so calling in a professional like Tree Triage to prune and trim your trees is essential for maintaining healthy growth and safety for your family and home. This is why performing tree trimming along with your seasonal lawn care will help keep your trees healthy and safe year-round.

How Do You Trim A Tree?

When you decide to trim a tree on your property, your first step will always be to prepare the site around your tree to maximize safety. Ensure that no children, pets, or other adults are anywhere near the tree you’ll be pruning. Keep an area about double the diameter of the canopy around the tree clear.
Next, you’ll want to decide which limbs and branches should be pruned. Generally, your goal should be to maximize the amount of sunlight getting to the crown. You can do this by removing any potentially dangerous branches and removing any limbs that compete with others.
You can start by removing branches that are downward-facing, cracked, and dead or dying limbs. Taking these out will reduce the risk of them falling in an uncontrolled manner, either naturally or during a storm.
Once the dangerous limbs are pruned, move your attention to any branches that cross over others or entirely hide lower branches from the sunlight. This will help ensure there are no branches competing for sunlight that ultimately waste energy. It will also help avoid dead branches in the future, which will limit the risk of falling limbs that can be damaging and deadly.
Keep in mind, it is possible to over-prune your tree! If you remove a large enough portion of the tree’s canopy to limit its energy production or render the internal transportation system for water and food inefficient, this can damage its ability to thrive. Generally speaking, you should aim to remove no more than 20% of a small tree’s foliage during pruning and a maximum of about 10% of a large, well-established tree’s foliage.

When Is It Time To Call In a Professional?

Tree pruning might seem like an easy task, but doing it safely and maintaining the health of the tree can be very challenging. There are plenty of situations that could benefit from a little DIY tree pruning, but make sure you call in tree experts like Tree Triage in any of the below circumstances.

Power Lines

One of the most critical times to call in the help of a professional tree trimmer is if the tree in question is anywhere near power lines. Electricity can arc from live power lines to trees within 10 feet, so you should never attempt DIY tree trimming on any trees within 15 feet of power lines to be safe.
Trees near electrical lines can very easily become electrically charged, and you might get electrocuted if you touch the tree or bring metal pruning tools within a 10-foot radius of the line. Electrocution can cause very severe injury and even death, so professionals should always be called in for trimming in these circumstances.
For lines running from pole to pole, you should call your electric provider for assistance. In most areas, your utility company will complete trimming or tree removal near power lines. For trees near service lines, you should engage a professional tree trimmer.

Large Trees or Limbs

A good rule of thumb when it comes to pruning trees is that you should call in an expert if your feet need to leave the ground. Trees under 15 feet can often be pruned safely by homeowners if proper precautions are taken. If you need to climb the tree or a ladder to reach the branches, it’s best to leave the job to professionals who have proper safety equipment and experience, like Tree Triage.
Additionally, if the tree in question has large limbs or thick branches that are hanging, consulting a professional is best to keep yourself and your family safe.

Proximity to Personal Property

If the tree that needs pruning is anywhere near personal property, you should avoid a DIY pruning solution. Generally speaking, you should avoid trimming trees yourself if personal property like your home, your car, landscaping features, or your neighbor’s home is within 15 to 20 feet of the outer edge of the tree’s canopy.
Not only do you risk severely damaging personal property, but you’ll be liable for the damages in most cases because you didn’t call in an expert. Neither your homeowner’s insurance policy nor your neighbor’s will cover damages due to negligence, so you might be on the hook for very costly property repairs.

On a Neighbor’s Property

Finally, you should always call a professional tree trimming service to trim branches on your neighbor’s tree that are hanging over the property line. In most areas, you have the right to cut these branches yourself. However, regardless of the size of the tree, you’re liable for replacement costs up to three times the value of the tree in some cases if you prune too much and harm the tree.
A professional tree trimmer will understand how much of the tree can be trimmed while still maintaining its overall health. Hiring a pro will not only lead to a better aesthetic result but will also help you avoid expensive replacement costs and possible legal action from your neighbor.