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19 Jan 2018
How To Trim A Tree - Large or Small

How To Trim A Tree

This guide will teach you how to trim a tree properly, big or small! Learn why trees should be pruned, the best time of year to prune them and steps to prune your trees properly.

When Is The Best Time To Trim or Prune Your Trees?

Fall or winter time is the best time to trim, prune or cutback your trees.

One of the major reasons is because most of the leaves are already gone from the tree, so you can see the scaffolding branches of the tree and also visually inspect some of the non essential branches.

Fall or winter time weather also helps prevent spreading of pathogens and insect investigations in some of the pruning cuts you will be making in the tree.

Why Trim Your Trees?

The biggest reason to prune your trees is to eliminate dead, or diseased or broken branches on the tree. There are many other great reasons to prune your trees including:

  1. For the trees health
  2. Safety for people below the tree
  3. To allow wind and light to penetrate throught the canopy
  4. Create elevation or clearance around structures
  5. To allow for better flower or fruit production

Tree Pruning Safety Tips

  • Use a rope and saddle
  • Wear a hard hat & safety glasses
  • Do not try this at home
  • If the limbs you would like to have pruned cannot be reached from the ground, please call and hire a licensed arborist
  • If the tree limbs are within range of utility wires, please call your power company first and have them come out and do the work

Tools You will Need For This Tree Trimming Project

Tree Pruning Tools You Will Need For This Project

Here are a few tools you are going to need to start this project:

  • Hard Hat
  • Tree Trimming Saddle
  • Rope
  • Safety Glass
  • Tree Trimming Saw

Which Limbs or Branches Do I Need To Trim?

Trim tree limbs that have dead, diseased or broken branches. Also be sure to identify and remove and suckers and water spouts.

Tree Pruning Tips

  1. Look for a strong leader and examine the branch and structure of the tree
  2. Directional prune to tree to make sure it maintains a strong healthy shape

How To Trim A Tree Properly

*Important: Far too often people make only 1 cut up against the tree trunk which results in the heavy limb tearing or ripping the bark at the trunk.

Here is how to trim your tree properly using the best tree cutting method; the 3 point cut!

Step 1. Start By Undercutting The Tree

Come out a little further from the tree, about a 1 foot or so depending on how large the tree limb is, then make your undercut first.

Step 1 - Start By Undercutting The Tree

Step 2. Make Your 2nd Cut 3 Inches Away From The 1st

Then come out about 3 inches away from your 1st cut and make a top cut. This way the branch will fall off cleanly and there is no chance of ripping or tearing at the trunk.

Step 2 - Next Move 3 Inches Away And Make Your Top Cut

Step 3. Make Your Final Cut Near The Trunk

Finally, come back and cut off the remaining stub right next to the trunk to make you third and final cut. Hold on to the stub while you make the cut to avoid any other potential damage.

Step 3 - Make Your Final Cut Right Next To The Trunk

*Important: Make sure you make the cut in the area called the branch bark bridge to allow for optimum healing after the pruning cut has been made

Conclusion

Proper tree pruning is not as easy as it may seem so if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact a licensed arborist. Liberty Tree Experts is Phoenix Metropolitan’s premier tree trimming company offering professional services for residential and commercial tree service customers.

06 Apr 2017
Why Topping Trees Hurts

WHY TOPPING HURTS TREES

When it comes to trees, topping is considered the worst thing to do. While in Hawaii, companies that would top trees would have customers asking if the tree topping was necessary and if it had to be so drastic. Because of no longer working for this particular company, I have the ability of being more honest and less evasive by saying, no. While topping the beautiful trees, it never felt comfortable, because it was causing a bunch of irreparable damages.

The truth is, there is rarely a situation that requires a tree topping. For instance, one of the exceptions is when the tree has naturally died, such as with frost damages which is more common with ficus trees. There are many who are simply scared of the large growth of their trees, requesting them to be topped.

Living within shadows of a giant tree can be intimidating for some. However, trees that have been topped are the most dangerous trees. This is because topping a tree, suckers growing from the ends of a cut will grow quickly. Typically, a topped tree will recover its height in less than 5 years from the tree topping. Generally, faster growth means weaker growth, while the opposite is true too. Suckers that grow frantically, are much weaker.

There are other factors contributing to the tendency of a sucker shedding, such as new growth only being able to attach to the outer section of a branch. Therefore, normal branches have formed a type of root within the trunk.

The larger the branch and trunk, the larger this attachment will be. When suckers begin forming on the outer part of a trunk, it results in a poor attachment, increasing the risk of failure. Storm damage and a trees capacity to withstand it is one of the most over-estimated factors.

There have been situations where an 80-foot high Eucalyptus tree has directly fallen on a house, but caused no structural damages. Although, I have witnessed properly thinned trees never falling over. The tree height, in my opinion, is a small factor associated with the tendency of trees falling over during a micro burst. Usually, it is thicker, overgrown trees that create more surface area and fall over.

What can be done if a tree was already topped?

The term “Crown Restoration” should be an area a professional arborist should be familiar with in the tree industry. Once a tree has been topped, an arborist with experience can try to elevate or repair damages. Generally, after topping, between 5 to 8 suckers try to become the dominant sucker at the top of a tree topping. Certain trees will attempt to self-heal by causing weaker suckers to fall, leaving only the strongest. However, there are safer ways to go about it.

The full process for repairing topped trees can take between 3 to 5 years. It requires a selective thinning of the growing suckers. For instance, the first year two suckers are removed. Year two, remove another two suckers, etc.

When finished, a repaired tree will have a single sucker with a thicker trunk. With time, a stronger attachment will develop between trunk and sucker. The number of pruning’s required to reach the final result will depend on different factors.

Additionally, around the time the crown restoration feels like it is finished, the height may need to be reduced using proper cutting reduction. Therefore, you should not allow anyone to conduct a tree topping on your trees. It is necessary as a consumer to understand the appearance of a nice cut, allowing you to make an informed decision about who you have working on your trees. There are numerous companies advertising ‘Tree topping’ services, you should be cautious when seeing this.

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Trimming in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you are searching for tree trimming in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree trimming quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

06 Apr 2017

When & How to Trim Citrus Trees in Arizona

 was taught the Five C’s of Arizona when attending Elementary school in Tempe, AZ. These were: Cattle, Copper, Citrus, Climate, and Cotton. This article focuses on the fourth factor in the list, climate. While the climate in Arizona is great for citrus tree growing, not everyone understands how to properly care for these trees. One of the largest and most common mistakes made, is knowing when and how to prune a citrus tree. While many stress over ‘when’ to prune a citrus tree, this is not the most significant question. There are some citrus trees that may never need trimmed. The real question may be ‘why should citrus trees not be trimmed?”

Why Citrus Trees Should NOT Be Trimmed

A garden expert with The Arizona Republic was asked by a Valley resident at what time her citrus trees should be trimmed, part of the response included “Homeowners often trim for appearance, but do not realize citrus trees are actually a bush with naturally low growing branches. This is the natural method for protecting bark and fruit…”.

People that drive by the old groves in East Mesa may see old citrus trees and consider them to be overgrown shrubs. It is a common misconception that trimming citrus trees is the same as another tree type, and can cause a shorter citrus tree lifespan in Phoenix.

For this reason, I prefer readers to begin asking ‘why’. What is the reason for trimming the citrus tree? This should be asked prior to ‘when’ citrus trees should be pruned. The overall health of the citrus tree should be considered whether the goal is fruit production optimizing, or just making it appealing to the landscape.

How to Trim a Citrus Tree

When trimming/pruning citrus trees, even at the optimal periods, it should be minimal. It was stated by ‘The Garden Guy’, Dave Owens that “Citrus trees prefer to grow naturally without trimming. The more deadwood and foliage, the better protection from the sun.”

Also, John Begeman, also an Arizona garden expert indicated “The more leaves a citrus tree has, the more fruit and better taste.” In addition, he recommended only pruning “If you must, and only with correct technique”.

A 1987 article from Lowell F. True outlined that while some trimming could be required, but the best approach is to leave low hanging branches, referred to as a ‘skirt’. If trimmed, it should only be enough to provide easier fertilizing and watering. Trimming of errant branches can be done, especially when rubbing against other branches. Meanwhile, the tree’s silhouette created by outer foliage can be ‘shaped’ for appearances, but proper techniques and care should be taken to avoid allowing too much bark to be exposed to sunlight.

There is a single pruning technique that should be used, no matter the time of year, even more important if citrus trees are maintained for fruit. This technique is known as removal of sucker growth. Also referred to as ‘water sprouts’, these suckers sprout out the tree trunk and sometimes the roots. While a layman might find it necessary from desire or intuition towards making the citrus tree more appealing, there are good reasons behind this. It was said by True to “Ensure all suckers are eliminated when developing under the bud union (site of grafting). These are rootstock variety which do not bear an edible fruit. If allowed to develop, suckers take control it will cause your edible fruit to revert into an undesired variety.”

A significant ‘when’ associated with pruning includes limbs which were killed by frost. These should not be removed until after the spring growth has begun, this way you’re sure how bad damage is.

When to Trim Citrus Trees in Arizona

Spring is the optimal time for trimming citrus trees. If they are trimmed between the middle of March to early May, it reduces the risk of the tree being damaged by extreme temperatures. The citrus fruit is ripened during late fall, with most varieties coming in between November to February. It is acceptable to do minimal pruning through this period.

During summer there is risk of heat damage, while winter can cause danger from frost. Citrus trees a very sensitive when it comes to sun damage, especially in the hottest months and days in Arizona heat. If your citrus tree is not properly shaded through the afternoon, any bare branches or trunks will need wrapping or painted (aka. Whitewashed) to add protection from the sun. The areas exposed to direct sunlight in the afternoon are the most vulnerable, these will be on the Southwestern sides. This is the reason over pruning your citrus trees should be avoided. Any branches in direct sun will be burnt, while direct sunlight exposure to the trunk can fully kill the tree.

These are the reasons I emphasize the importance of knowing how and why to trim citrus trees, instead of when you should trim citrus trees. The key factor for when to trim, is the sunlight. The key factor for how to trim a citrus tree is keep it minimal. After all, they are all simply large bushes.

Liberty Tree Care Offers Tree Trimming in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you are searching for tree trimming in ScottsdaleMesa or Tempe, Liberty Tree Experts can help! Get a free tree trimming quote by giving Liberty a call today at 480-482-9374.

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