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Useful Tips For Do-It-Yourself Tree Trimming

There is a misconception on the part of some homeowners that tree trimming and tree branch removal should only be performed on an annual basis and customarily in the early spring. To the contrary, tree trimming can be done at various times throughout the calendar year depending on:

  • The reason for the tree pruning or branch removal
  • The specific type or species of tree
  • The dormant or non-growing season for each species

Although there are professional tree services available that offer care and maintenance programs and expertise, homeowners may elect to handle any tree trimming and tree branch removal on their own.

To begin, there are many different reasons for tree trimming or tree branch removal. These actions are performed to accomplish one or more of the following (i.e.: the why):

  • Improve tree health
  • Promote growth
  • Manage or maintain size, shape, or density
  • Enhance aesthetic appeal (tree and surrounding grounds)
  • Repair storm damage and/or address safety issues (roofing, wires, etc.)

When a homeowner is intent on do-it-yourself tree trimming or tree branch removal, knowing when to trim or prune is just as important as the reasons for trimming/pruning.

Ideally, tree trimming should begin when the tree is newly planted, as this plays a key part in developing an overall strong structure as the tree matures. Unfortunately, this may not always be possible as any trees in need of trimming or branch removal may have been pre-existing when the homeowner took possession of the property.

In terms of the best or most appropriate timing for these actions with established trees, it was noted previously that the type or species of tree and particularly its non-growing or dormant season will play significant roles in this regard. Although there will always be exceptions/gray-zones, the following general summary may be helpful (i.e.: the when:

Late Winter

  • Deciduous and fruit-bearing trees
  • To invigorate trees and promote new growth

Early Spring

  • Evergreens and early-flowering (before the beginning of June) deciduous trees
  • To maintain size, shape, or density (i.e.: thinning)


  • Fruit, flowering deciduous, and evergreens (if somewhat overgrown or neglected)
  • For aesthetic appeal and/or to improve tree health


  • Trimming as needed to repair damage and/or address potential safety issues

Of course, a notable exception to the above pertains to removing diseased and/or dead wood. This can be done at any time and it should be done as soon as possible after such situations are observed or identified to prevent any further harm or damage to the tree or its surroundings.

Tips For Tree Branch Removal (The What)

Beyond the non-negotiable aspect of removing diseased or dead wood, there are other situations that may necessitate tree branch removal. These include branches that are:

  • Broken (safety issues)
  • Crossed or rubbing together (tree health)
  • Growing back toward the centre of the tree (aesthetics)

Depending on branch size (length and diameter) and/or height above the ground, it may be prudent to call upon the expertise and experience of a professional tree service, such as DreamWorks Tree Services, to perform this task.

Tips For Tree Trimming And Pruning (The How)

Due to its paramount importance in augmenting tree health, growth, and/or aesthetic appeal, tree trimming should not be done indiscriminately. In fact, along with the fundamental understanding that this is best performed during the dormant or non-growing season, other general guidelines for the do-it-yourself homeowner include:

  • Only trim branches with narrow or V-shaped angles (these tend to be weaker)
  • Do not leave a long or large stub
  • Do not cut too close to the trunk/branch collar (can lead to infection/infestation)
  • Space out horizontal branches as evenly/equidistant as possible
  • Thinning out the crown is best done when branches are young
  • Thin out selectively – remove no more than 25% of the crown at any time
  • Raising the crown – live branches should be maintained on 2/3 of the tree height
  • Use appropriately designed and maintained tools/equipment

For all your tree care and maintenance requirements, call the experts at DreamWorks Tree Services today at 647-924-2627 or 1-800-407-9917 or contact us to arrange a consultation on how our programs can best support and meet your needs.

11+ years of experience maintaining trees the right way

We offer the best tree care services to maintain your property while ensuring the health of your trees by providing reliable tree care solutions.