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03 - common tree trimming blunders

Steer Clear of Common Tree Trimming Blunders: Insights from Expert Arborists

Tree trimming is both an art and a science. Done right, it can enhance the health and beauty of your trees. Done wrong, it can lead to irreversible damage. At Joliet Tree Service, we have gathered insights from certified arborists to help you sidestep common tree trimming mistakes and ensure your trees thrive. 

In this article, we will break down their expert tips into easy-to-follow advice for homeowners. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting, these tips will help you nurture your trees effectively.

Understanding the Basics of Tree Trimming

Before diving into the tips, let’s first grasp the basics.
Tree trimming isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about maintaining the over all health of trees. Trimming involves carefully removing certain branches to promote healthy growth, minimize disease, and prevent safety hazards. Here’s how you can avoid common pitfalls:

Timing Matters


Trimming at the right time is crucial. For most trees, late winter or early spring, when they are still dormant, is ideal. This minimizes stress and helps them heal quickly. However, some flowering trees are best pruned after their blossoms fade.

Don’t Overdo It

Over-pruning, also known as “topping,” can harm your trees. Removing too many branches disrupts their natural growth and makes them vulnerable to diseases. Aim to remove no more than a quarter of the canopy in a single year.

Mind the Branch Collar


The branch collar is the swollen area where a branch meets the trunk. When trimming, cut just beyond the collar, not flush against the trunk. This allows for proper healing and prevents decay.

Understand the Tree Types

Different trees have different growth patterns. Some trees, like conifers, grow from the tip, while others, like oaks, grow from lateral branches. Understand your tree type to trim appropriately and avoid inhibiting growth.

Safety First

If branches are near power lines, it’s best to call in the professionals. Safety is paramount, and trained arborists have the expertise to handle such situations safely.

Expert Tips from Certified Arborists

Now, let’s delve into advice from certified arborists that can guide you in your tree trimming journey:

Choose the Right Tools

Using proper tools can make a world of difference. Invest in high-quality pruning shears, loppers, and saws. Sharp tools make clean cuts, reducing stress on the tree.

Have a Purpose

Before trimming, define your goal. Are you removing dead branches, shaping the tree, or enhancing sunlight penetration? Having a purpose ensures you trim with precision.

Consider Tree Health

Assess your tree’s health before trimming. If it’s stressed, it is advised to postpone trimming. Healthy trees handle trimming better and recover faster.

Follow the One-Third Rule

Avoid trimming more than one-third of a tree’s crown. This rule helps maintain the tree’s health and form.

Don’t Neglect Young Trees

Proper trimming during a tree’s early years sets the foundation for a strong structure. Focus on removing competing branches and ensuring a central leader.

Keep an Eye on Branch Size

If a branch is more than half the diameter of the tree trunk, it’s a candidate for removal. Such branches can become hazardous during

Say “No” to Stub Cuts

Leaving stubs when trimming invites disease and decay. Always trim close to the branch collar.

Balance the Canopy

A balanced canopy ensures even growth. Focus on removing branches that cross, rub, or compete with the central leader.

Seek Professional Help

If you are unsure or dealing with larger branches, consult an arborist. They have the expertise to ensure your tree remains healthy and safe.

Nurturing Your Trees in Joliet

Tree trimming isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about giving your trees the best chance to thrive. By avoiding common mistakes and following expert advice, you’re taking steps towards a healthier, more vibrant landscape. If you need assistance or have trees that require professional care, reach out to
Joliet Tree Service. Our team of skilled arborists is dedicated to ensuring your trees flourish and enhance the beauty of your property. Remember, proper tree trimming is an investment in the longevity and vitality of your trees – a gift that keeps on growing.

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