Trees are an important part of any landscape. Not only do they add to the beauty of your property, but they also provide much-needed shade when the temperature heats up. They also offer wildlife a safe haven, such as birds and squirrels. If you have fruit trees, such as apple, peach, plum, or cherries, they can also deliver a healthy, nutritious, and free source of sustenance.
No matter what type of trees you have on your property, you need to make sure that they’re properly maintained, and trimming the branches is one of the most important parts of tree maintenance. Routine tree trimming prevents limbs and branches from becoming overgrown. This is important, as it not only ensures that the structures remain aesthetically pleasing, but the process also prevents the tree from becoming a liability; it keeps limbs and branches from growing too large and damaging your house or knocking down wires, and it also prevents the tree from becoming top-heavy, which can increase the risk of toppling.
Is Trimming Good for a Tree?
In short, trimming is very good for trees. The process is intended to enhance the aesthetics of the structure, as it maintains the shape and appearance of a tree. Tree branches grow continuously, and if left unattended, the tree will start to look misshapen and imbalanced. Branches could start sprouting out in strange directions, which can make a tree look scraggly, bedraggles, and just unattractive. Think of trimming as a haircut; just like a haircut improves the look of your hair, trimming improves the look of your tree. With routine trimming, not only will the tree itself look better, but so will your entire landscape.
In addition the aesthetic benefits that tree trimming provides, it also helps to promote a healthier tree. When trees become overgrown, they branches can become too heavy for the trunk to support, and eventually the structure could topple. In addition to that, when your tree is overgrown, vital nutrients may not be dispersed throughout the structure, the roots may not be able to receive the amount of moisture and sun that a tree needs to remain healthy.
Another benefit of routine tree trimming is safety. Trees that have dead, diseased, or branches that are infested with spores can pose a significant risks; not to mention the fact that oversized trees can pose serious dangers on their own. Large branches could snap off in heavy winds or severe storms, and fall onto your roof, into a window, onto a car, onto electrical or phone wires, or even on a person. These potential hazards that overgrown branches can cause is, without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons to have your trees trimmed on a regular basis.
How to Tell If Your Trees Need to Be Trimmed
Given all of the benefits that tree trimming provides, you definitely want to be sure that you get into the habit of having them trimmed whenever it’s necessary. But, how do you know when a tree needs to be trimmed? Examine them every once in a while. If you notice any of the following, you’re going to want to have them trimmed:
- Broken branches. Do you notice any broken, snapped, or limp branches and the interior of your tree is exposed? If so, that’s a surefire sign that it’s time for a trimming. Broken or damaged branches are often the result of storm damage, such as heavy winds, snow, or ice. No matter the cause, and no matter the extent, if your branches are damaged, you need to have them attended to right away. Those broken, snapped, or limp branches can become a serious danger, as even a gentle breeze or the effects of gravity could pull the branches down and potentially damage your property or worse, injure someone.
- Crossed branches. Does it look like any of the branches on your tree are crossing? If so, that’s a definite sign that a trimming is an absolute must. When a tree is left to grow without being attended to, the branches can start crossing over one another, and then they do, they can start rubbing together. This can damage the bark, which can lead to the decay of the branches, and that decay can spread to the rest of the tree. Furthermore, as the bark wears off, the affected branches will become weaker, which can increase the risk that they’ll fall off.
- Deadwood. Another sign that it’s time to trim a tree is the appearance of deadwood. Like broken branches, deadwood – especially in large quantities – can be a sign that your tree is dying. If that’s the case, the decay will spread throughout the rest of the structure; however, if you have the affected branches trimmed, you could potentially save the tree.
- Excess greenery. If the branches on a tree in front of your house have become so dense, that’s a telltale sign it needs a pruning. The denser the branches, the less nutrients will be delivered throughout the entire structure; plus, the tree can become top-heavy and could potentially topple.
- Misshaped trees. If your trees aren’t pruned on a regular basis, they’re bound to become misshapen. Take a step back and look at the overall appearance of your tree; if it seems like it’s bulging out in certain areas or it appears denser on one side than it does on the other, you’ll want to have your tree trimmed as soon as possible. Not only will the aesthetic appeal of the tree be negatively impacted, but other problems could arise.
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Is There a Difference Between Tree Trimming and Tree Pruning?
While similar, there are some notable differences between tree trimming and tree pruning.
- Tree trimming. Tree trimming is mainly intended to maintain and improve the aesthetic appeal of a tree. It involves removing branches and limbs, giving a tree a more natural and aesthetically pleasing shape. When left alone, trees will become overgrown and the branches can start growing in various directions or can become extremely dense. Trimming addresses this problem.
- Tree pruning. Pruning is intended to not only improve the shape and aesthetic appeal of a tree, but it also helps to improve the health of a tree. It primarily involves the removal of dead, loose, or diseased branches, which can not only detract from the look of the tree, but can also interfere with other parts of the structure.
How Often Should a Tree Be Trimmed?
The answer to that question really depends. There are several factors that will impact how frequently a tree will need to be trimmed, including the type of tree, the age of the structure, and where it is located on your yard. Generally speaking, a tree should be trimmed once or twice a year; however, it may need to be done more frequently. To determine when you should have your tree pruned, examine it every once in a while – especially after storms – and if it seems like the density of the foliage has increased, the branches are overgrown or are crossing over each other, or if it seems that the structure looks misshapen, you should consider having it pruned.