Your Complete Guide To Tree Trimming & Pruning

Tree trimming

Utah is beautiful, but the desert climate can make growing non-native trees a bit more challenging. That said, planting trees around your home can help increase property value and provide clean air, and beauty. They also help lower the temperature by blocking sunlight and heat, reducing your air conditioning expenses significantly. However, to enjoy all these benefits, you must keep the trees in excellent condition. That’s where tree trimming and pruning can help.

Most homeowners are unaware of tree pruning. They often do not know when is the right time to trim a tree, what care should be taken during tree trimming, and how to prune a tree, among other things. There are several tree trimming techniques. Furthermore, even the most trivial trimming mistake can harm your trees. 

The following guide can help you learn the best tree trimming and pruning methods. Before learning these techniques, let’s see why tree trimming is critical. 

Why Prune or Trim Your Trees?

Trimming is a part of regular tree and shrub maintenance for a variety of reasons. The ultimate goal of pruning is to ensure the healthy and vigorous growth of the trees.

A few main reasons for tree pruning include the following. 

  1. Reduce Hazards and Risks 

Everyone knows that weakened tree branches are a huge safety hazard. If a tree branch breaks off and falls on your roof, you will be spending a lot of money on repairs. It also puts your family at risk. By trimming tree branches, however, you can reduce the risk of such hazards significantly. 

  1. Increase Foliage 

Utah Tree pruning also opens up the canopy, letting sunlight and air pass through. This increased clearance helps increase the tree foliage while reducing the risk of disease. 

  1. Reduce Shade and Wind Resistance

Tree trimming increases foliage and thins crowns, which helps improve wind resistance. Trees with thinned crowns will receive less damage in windstorms. 

  1. Improve Tree Health

Tree trimming also involves clearing weeds, suckers, and water sprouts at the ground level. As these compete for nutrients with the main tree, clearing them out can improve the health of your main tree over time. Healthy trees can withstand high winds and also look beautiful. 

  1. Manage Flower or Fruit Production

Removing spent flowers, foliage, stems, and buds, is also a part of tree pruning. It boosts the growth of healthier flowers and fruits. Furthermore, removing other dead and diseased parts of the tree can promote flower and fruit production. 

  1. Improve Aesthetic Appeal 

As said earlier, tree trimming removes dead and diseased parts, which can transform the aesthetic appeal of the trees. Regularly pruned trees are often healthier and more beautiful. 

  1. Improve Tree Structure

Structural tree pruning selectively favors a single and dominant leader. That, in turn, reduces the aspect ratio (the ratio of branch diameter to trunk diameter), resulting in better structural integrity. 

  1. Save Storm-Damaged Trees

If done properly, pruning can also help you save storm damaged trees. Pruning damaged branches to the trunk or a main limb can help promote healthy growth. It can also minimize the risk of decaying and diseased parts.

Tree Trimming Tools

To prune trees efficiently, you are going to need a few tree trimming tools. You will also need to know how to use them and when to use them. Here are a few of the must-have tools.

  1. Pole Pruner: The pole tree pruner is a must-have for pruning branches and limbs that are out of reach from the ground. The curved head comes with a second blade that you can operate from below. Most pole pruners can reach up to eight feet and more and cut branches up to 1 ¼ inch thick.
  1. Pruning Shears: Also called clippers or secateurs, you can use these for pruning small growths on trees, shrubs, flowers, and vines. They can cut through branches even an inch thicker in diameter.
  1. Loppers: You can use loppers to cut smaller branches and twigs easily. They are suitable for fruit and nut tree pruning. Given their size, you need to use both hands to operate a lopper.  
  1. Pruning Saws: Suitable for pruning large and medium branches, pruning saws come in different sizes. However, as you need your upper body strength to use them, running saws are suitable only for low-hanging and easily reachable branches.  
  1. Hedge Shears: With hedge shears, you can trim down hedges, small shrubs, evergreens, or even perennials. They can help you reduce and keep thick growth in check.  
  1. Chain Saw: Chain saws can cut through thick branches and tree even trunks. They are available in different sizes, and even come in battery powered versions. You can choose one depending on the size of the limbs or branches you want to prune.

How To Trim A Tree Without Damaging It

Now that you know why tree trimming is necessary and what tools you need to maintain your trees, let’s see the steps involved in the actual pruning process. It is essential to follow these steps correctly for efficient and safe tree pruning. Take a look at our tree trimming graphic to show how to make the best cuts.

  1. Decide When You Want to Prune 

Tree pruning depends on the season, which, in turn, depends on what your goals are for trimming. For example, tree trimming during the summer usually slows down the growth of the cut-down branches. On the other hand, pruning in winter will result in the rapid growth of the cut-down branches.

In other words, if you want to promote growth, do tree pruning in winter. If you wish to slow down the growth, summer pruning would be your answer. That said, late winter or early fall is often the best time for tree trimming if your goal is to prevent diseases and other problems.

As the disease-causing insects or fungus are less active during this time of the year, the wounds caused during trimming are less likely to be infected. Besides, as there are no or very few leaves during the late fall or early winter, trimming is easier. However, make sure to prune damaged branches immediately, regardless of the season.  

  1. Decide What You Want to Prune 

Before you start trimming trees in the fall, you first need to figure out which part of the tree you want to prune. Here is what you should keep in mind. 

  • Assess the entire tree carefully to identify the main branches that support the tree. You would never want to prune these branches as this will kill the tree.
  • When trimming tree branches, start with the ones showing signs of damage and infection. It’ll help divert the nutrients and water to healthy branches, promoting growth.
  • Next, trim the tree areas with thick branches. You should remove the branches growing inwards as they prevent sunlight and air from circulating. That, in turn, promotes fungal and bacterial growth.
  • You can also remove branches that are obstructing the growth or blocking the telephone or electrical wires.
  • Make sure to trim the tree branches that hang over your house. If such branches break down during a storm, it could cause significant damage to your property. 
  1. Trim the Tree Carefully 
  • When trimming a tree, you must do it properly. Take the following precautions.
  •  When trimming tree branches, make the first cut on the underside.
  • Make it on the branch side of the stem collar.
  • As this cut doesn’t go all the way through, it keeps the collar intact.
  • Next, you can make the second cut using a tree trimming saw further down from the first cut you made.
  • After making the second cut, you can remove the branch, leaving a stub on the trunk.  
  • You can make the third cut right against the stem collar.
  • Make sure to keep the collar intact as it will promote healthy growth.

Additional Tree trimming Tips

In addition to the above steps, you will need to remember a few more things. 

  • Although you can trim the tree any day throughout the year, pruning a tree in its dormant season is always the best time.
  • Never trim the branches with a sharp U-shaped angle. However, you can remove branches with a V-shaped and narrow angle.
  • Usually, you should avoid trimming branches with larger diameters unless you have a valid reason. For example, you can remove a damaged branch.
  • When trimming tree branches, don’t cut the branch collars or leave large stubs.
  • If you want to thin the crown, keep lateral branches as evenly spaced as possible.
  • Prune away branches that run against or cross other branches. 
  • Most importantly, never trim more than 25% of the branches.
  • Don’t remove too many branches near the bottom of the tree, as it can prevent the tree from developing a firm stem.
  • Instead of removing more than half the foliage from a branch, it’s better to remove the branch itself.
  • While crown reduction can be aesthetically pleasing, do it only if necessary.

Do You Need a Permit for Tree Trimming or Removal in Utah?

Usually, you will not need permission to remove a tree from your property. However, in certain situations, the state and local laws may prevent you from removing a tree. 

  • The Utah Heritage Tree Act, established in 1975, protects some species of trees in Utah. 
  • As these species are rare or have historical significance, you may need a permit to remove or relocate them. 
  • Also, state and local laws may protect some species based on their exceptional size, form, or age.

If you want to remove such a tree, you will need to contact a certified arborist or the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands. They can help you take the right course of action. 

  • In addition to these points, you also need to keep the following things in mind when tree trimming and removal. 
  • Always make sure to check local tree trimming and removal laws first. 
  • The local authorities include not only your city office but also the homeowners’ association. If you live in a community or housing development, you may need their permission for tree trimming and removal.
  • Make sure you own the tree before removing it. In Utah, if the tree trunk sits on your property, you own the tree, allowing you to trim or remove it as and when you like. 
  • However, if the tree trunk sits on the property line, you may need your neighbor’s consent first. 
  • If you cut down the tree without their permission, you may have to pay a fine (up to three times the cost of the tree). 
  • From an environmental point of view, removing a tree is never a good idea. In addition to increasing the property value, trees also provide you with free shade and protection from winds. So, unless the tree is significantly damaged or hazardous, try not to remove it. 

How Much Does Tree Trimming and Pruning Cost?

According to Home Guide, the average cost of tree trimming is: 

  • From $80 to $300 for a small tree under 25 feet tall.
  • From $175 to $800 for a medium-sized tree (25 to 50 feet).
  • From $300 to $1,000 for a big tree over 50 feet.

How Much Does Tree Removal Cost?

  • Small $150-500
  • Medium: $500-1,500
  • Large $1000-3,000 

You must, however, remember that the total cost of tree trimming and removal will depend on a variety of factors. 

  • For example, if you want to trim or remove multiple trees with different sizes, the total estimate will change accordingly. 
  • The location of your property and the tree itself may increase or decrease the tree trimming cost. 
  • Trimming easily accessible trees can cost less than the ones that are in hard-to-reach areas. 
  • Trimming a diseased tree may also cost more as you may need additional services to prevent fungal or bacterial infection and remove damaged branches.
  • Emergency tree trimming or pruning will also cost extra.
  • All of the above is the same for tree removal cost.

To get the best tree trimming and removal prices, you can call certified arborists for an on-site review. After a careful on-site inspection, most professional companies will offer you a detailed quote. You can compare the quotes and find a tree and bush trimming service provider that fits your needs and budget.

How to Find a Reliable Tree and Bush Trimming Company

Although DIY tree trimming is the cheapest way to take care of your trees, it may not always be the right option. Professional arborists often provide faster, more reliable, and safer solutions. However, you do need to find a trustworthy tree and shrub trimming company.

Asking the following questions can help you find one.

  1. What Is Their Reputation Like?  

First and foremost, make sure the tree trimming and removal company has an excellent reputation. You can check out third-party review sites like Better Business Bureau (BBB) to evaluate their online reputation. You can also ask your friends and family members if they have worked with the company and get feedback.

  1. Do They Have Insurance?

Although accidents are not common, they can happen when trimming a tree. If the tree trimming and removal company has no liability insurance and workers compensation insurance, you may end up paying for the worker’s injuries or property damage. Make sure the company has appropriate insurance before hiring them.

  1. Do They Have the Right Tree Branch Trimming Tools and Equipment? 

Even professionals can’t work without the appropriate tools. You can ask the company what tree trimming equipment and tools they use. Ask them to provide a list if necessary. Work with a company that uses the latest tools with excellent functionality.  

  1. What Is Their Work Experience?  

The online and offline reputation of a company needs to be backed by a proven track record. Experienced and certified arborists will do a better job than amateurs. Make sure to ask the company for referrals before hiring them.  

  1. Do They Have Appropriate Licenses and Certifications?  

You must always work with certified and licensed arborists. Ask the company to furnish their licenses and certifications. Check if they are in order (not expired).   

  1. What Is the Cost? Can They Provide an Estimate? 

A professional arborist will be more than happy to provide you with a detailed estimate. Avoid working with companies that don’t want to share an estimate. You should also not work with a company that offers the cheapest rates.

If the tree trimming prices are too good to be true, chances are the company has no insurance and certifications or is a total fraud. Likewise, a company offering too high a cost is probably trying to rip you off. Be sure to get quotes from at least three-four companies because it’ll give you an idea of what reasonable tree trimming cost is. 

In addition to these questions, you should also remember the following points.

  • Never work with door-to-door contractors. They can be fraudsters.
  • Make sure you are completely satisfied before hiring a tree and shrub trimming contractor.
  • Never pay the company until you are satisfied with the results. Also, always pay after the job is finished.
Contact Utah’s best tree trimming and removal specialist

Tree trimming and pruning play a critical role in improving the looks of your property and ensure safety. That’s why knowing as much about tree pruning and trimming as you can go a long way in helping you choose the best arborists and enjoy value for your money. Hopefully, this quick and easy-to-read guide will help you understand all the essential elements of tree trimming. If you need help or more information, feel free to reach out to our team at (801) 330-8861 or through our online form.