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


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.