back to blog

7 Big Mistakes Homeowners Make When Trimming Their Trees

Detached garage with fallen tree limbs on the roof

Proper tree pruning and trimming can keep your trees healthier and look beautiful year after year. Homeowners must realize that trimming trees is more than just lopping off branches. Improper trimming can damage or even kill your trees. Homeowners need to know some common tree-trimming pitfalls to keep their trees safe. Here are the seven big mistakes homeowners can make when trimming their trees.

1. Using the Wrong Tools

Homeowners do not always use the right tools to trim their trees. Using the wrong tools can create rough or improper cuts. These cuts are wounds in the tree. The larger or more significant the cut, the harder it is for the tree to heal. 

Using the wrong tools can also be a safety issue for homeowners. Professional arborists undergo training to use their tools properly. Tools like ropes, tree spikes, and large ladders pose falling risks. Operating other devices, like chainsaws or traditional saws, at a height can also be dangerous.

2. Over Trimming

For homeowners, “taking a little off the bottom” of a tree can quickly lead to over-trimming. Over-trimming branches lead to the tree having too few leaves.

Without enough leaves, the tree can starve. Too few leaves can also overexpose the bark to the sun, resulting in sunscald. Sunscald is damage to the growth layer of cells under the bark.

3. Trimming at the Wrong Time

Trimming at the wrong time is harmful to your trees and shrubs. Fall is one part of the year when you should avoid trimming your trees. Because trimming your trees stimulates new growth, your tree could create new growth before temperatures drop.

It’s also important not to trim leaf or flower buds. They can form during the summer and remain dormant during the winter. You could lose the new growth if you trim your trees during the fall.

4. Lion Tailing

Lion tailing is when only the inside of the tree is trimmed. It leaves the inside of the tree sparse and bare, while the outer layer of the tree is full.

Lion tailing can create many problems for your trees, including removing too many leaves and starving your tree, weakening the tree by putting most of the weight at the branches’ ends, and exposing your tree to sun scald and wind damage.

5. Tree Topping

Tree topping is another big mistake homeowners make when trimming their trees. Tree topping is when the main limb of the tree is cut to reduce the tree’s overall size. Tree topping can damage and unbalance the structure of the tree.

A stress response is activated when a tree is topped, and many new limbs sprout. Because the tree is trying to grow the branches as quickly as possible, they are often weak and unstable. This fragility means the weather can easily break them off.

6. Pruning Large Branches

Pruning large branches creates massive wounds in your tree. These wounds take a long to heal, and open wounds invite pests and diseases. 

Removing large branches also makes the tree unbalanced. It can ruin the tree’s overall aesthetic and decrease its stability. In most cases, a professional arborist must take corrective action to keep the tree alive and growing safely.

7. Random Trimming

Trimming a tree is more than just picking a branch to take off. The most essential part of trimming a tree happens before any branches are removed.

To keep your tree healthy and strong, you must have a particular goal in mind. Your goal may be to remove dead limbs, increase fruit or flower production, or create more air circulation. Whatever your goal is, knowing what you want ahead of time will help you choose the right branches to trim.

Keep Your Trees Healthy All Year With Bratt Tree Company

The ISA Certified Arborists at Bratt Tree Company are ready to help you trim trees. Our knowledgeable and skilled professionals will discuss your tree goals and expertly trim your trees to achieve those goals.

With our precision and safety measures, you can trust your trees will look great and stay robust. We deliver free estimates and upfront pricing, so you’ll know what to expect with every service.

Trust Bratt for expert tree-trimming services in the Twin Cities area. Schedule your appointment by calling 612-721-4153 or contacting us online today!

Tree Pruning Service $50 Off
expires 02/29/24
Fertilization 10% Off
expires 02/29/24
What To Expect

Discover the Difference

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Our job is never complete until you are 100% satisfied with our services.

Upfront
Pricing

We offer 100% transparent pricing to all our valued customers, so you know what to expect.

Trained
Technicians

Our ISA-certified arborists are trained in the most advanced industry tools and techniques.

Commitment
to Community

We’ve proudly delivered trusted tree services to the Twin Cities for more than 30 years.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Our job is never complete until you are 100% satisfied with our services.

Upfront Pricing

We offer 100% transparent pricing to all our valued customers, so you know what to expect.

Trained Technicians

Our ISA-certified arborists are trained in the most advanced industry tools and techniques.

Commitment to Community

We’ve proudly delivered trusted tree services to the Twin Cities for more than 30 years.

Don’t take our word for it

See What Your Neighbors Are Saying

Great, very professional service from Bratt Tree Company. Our tree was in a challenging spot, surrounded by buildings. They used a crane and cherry picker and didn't leave a scratch on fences, buildin...

Kristi

Bratt Tree Company is the best in the business — professional, appropriately priced, and great customer service.

Tom

Bratt Tree Company was amazing! We had three large and rather tricky stumps that they grinded out perfectly! They were professional, friendly and very responsive. I asked to keep the mulch and they ...

Kumar
Read our reviews