How to Trim Trees Yourself: A Simple Guide

Any type of landscaping can be intimidating, but trying to shape a tree brings it to a whole new level, Trim Trees Yourself

Do the trees in your yard need a little TLC?

Any type of landscaping can be intimidating, but trying to shape a tree brings it to a whole new level. It’s very important to get the right technique, or you could harm yourself or your tree. But with a bit of research and practice, you can see rewarding results.

Read on for our simple guide to learn how to trim trees yourself.


Do It At the Right Time

The best time to trim your trees in winter, when they are in a dormant state. By doing it when they’re dormant, you can help your trees avoid disease and pests better. They’ll heal before it’s that time of year again.

Have the Right Tools

It’s essential that you kit yourself out with the right tools for the job before you start. These include:

  • rubber outdoor gloves
  • safety goggles
  • harness and ropes
  • scaffolding
  • loppers
  • hand saw
  • pole saw

If you don’t feel confident, then call in professionals to help you like Alberta Arborists.


If you want to give it a go yourself, then here is how to do it.

  1. Remove Unwanted Bits

The best place to start your trimming is the dead branches. It’ll make the rest of the job easier too. Dead branches aren’t serving a purpose, so it’s better to cut them loose.

Check the trees for wear or damage as these are the ones most at risk of disease and pests. If you keep these alive, it could cause issues for the rest of your trees so it’s often better to get rid of them. You also should remove overlapping branches at this point too.

  1. Find The Branch Collar

Now, with the way clear, you’ll find it easier to decide what to trim. Once you know the limbs you want to cut, you need to find their collar. This is the swollen area where the branch comes out of the trunk.

It’s easy to spot in most cases. But if you’re finding it tricky, look for thicker bark or a ridge/circle near the trunk and branch join. Make sure you cut the outside of the collar as it will make it easier for your tree to heal.

  1. Make The Cut

If the branch is less than 1 inch in diameter, you want to make the cut a little in front of the collar. And make sure you cut at a 45-60 degree angle.

If the branch is thicker, then you need to use the 3-cut rule. The first cut must be at least 10-15 inches in front of the collar. Then undercut halfway inside the branch. This will prevent the collar from tearing.

The second cut should be a few inches away from your undercut. And you should cut down from the top, this way gravity and the undercut will allow for an easy fall.

The last cut is right in front of the collar. Allowing you to take out the remaining part of the branch without harming the collar.

  1. Sealing the Stump

Once you’re done trimming, you need to work out if the stump needs sealing. In most cases, it’ll heal on its own. But with some cases like elms and oaks, they need help. Use a non-asphalt sealant to seal up the stump and protect the tree.


How to Trim Trees Yourself Made Easy

So, there you have it! Now you know how to trim trees yourself, you’re ready to give it a go.

Slow and steady wins the race here, you don’t want to rush it. Take your time and take care when choosing the limbs to trim and preparing them. The more precise you are the better. And if you’re not confident, then it may be better to call in the professionals.

If you found this article helpful, check out our other blog posts today!


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