How to Trim Tree Branches Yourself

Owning a beautiful garden seems cool. But, it comes with the cost that you have to take good care of the trees. Likewise, trimming tree branches is one of the essential tasks for a gardener. It’s better to know how to trim tree branches yourself than always paying a professional for the task. 

However, if the tree is too tall to trim for an amateur, you can hire a professional. But, cutting small trees or trimming branches of it is a super easy job. Just follow the step-by-step guideline.

Tools for Tree Trimming

Before we can go into details, let begin with the standard tools for tree trimming. Some of them are very popular among professionals as well as DIY enthusiasts. For example, the battery-powered pole saw. Besides, you may need other tools, such as:

Hand Pruners
Safety Goggles

Read more: 6 Must-have Tree Pruning Tools

When to Prune Trees?

Generally, the ideal time for pruning trees is in the winter. It’s the season of dormancy for most of the trees in your garden. However, the spring season is also suitable for pruning. Make sure you don’t choose a time when it often rains or the weather is too humid. This type of weather is wrong for the wound of a trimmed branch. 

But, there is no reason to cut off dead or partly damaged tree branches. 

Use Proper Techniques

To keep the tree in good health, you have to trim its branches using proper techniques. Here some strategies to follow: 

Spot the Branch Collar: Before cutting a branch, you need to spot its collar. 
Downward Angle Cut: Cut the branch at a downward angle. This way, you can make sure that water doesn’t stick into the wound. 
Leave the upward growing branches: Many newbies make this mistake. They trim the upward growing branches. But, trimming those branches will cause the water to settle into the wound. 

Caution! Never try to work on a tree that has electric wires around. That may be a risky job for you. Instead, call for a professional or wait for the municipality workers to come.

How to Trim Tree Branches Yourself: Easy as Pie

Starting with a small branch, we’ll learn more about trimming and pruning. Here is the step-by-step guideline:

First thing first, you need to have a clean and sharp trimming tool. 
Spot the branch you will cut. Make sure you cut past the collar. It would help if you didn’t miss the collar itself, nor should you leave a stub on it. 
If you have to deal with a skinny branch, find a spot beyond the collar and cut at a 45-60 angle to the bark ridge. 
When you cut a thicker unit, you should use this method: start cutting from around 1 foot up beyond the branch collar and go halfway into its bottom. Then, set your tool two inches up from the previous cut, and let it go into the top of the branch. After the unit is fallen, make the last cut near the branch collar. 

How to Trim a Tree Step By Step

After knowing how to trim tree branches yourself and the proper techniques required, it is essential to learn the steps of pruning the whole giant tree. 

Step1: Get Rid of Suckers

Suckers generally grow in the trunk area. They are flimsy and trashy. So, don’t let them steal the energy of the tree. Get rid of those unwanted suckers. 

Step2: Cut Off Dead or Dying Branches

To help the tree live longer, you need to cut off the dead or dying branches. Getting rid of those branches will help the tree stay healthy and look beautiful. 

Moreover, once you’ve done cutting the dead branches, it will be easier for you to spot the other areas. 

Step 3: Carefully Prune the Hazardous Branches

Some branches only pose a threat to your house or other property. They are the next to be trimmed. 

It’s okay to leave the limb uncut if they don’t pose any risk. Yet, you have to trim the small branches so that the canopy can go higher. 

Step 4: Remove Weak and Damaged Branches

Now see if there is any damaged or weakened branch because they cause pests and disease. Some of them may form a place where water can quickly settle.

Moreover, they could fall anytime on anyone’s head. So, remove them even if they are not yet dead. 

Step 5: Trim out Overlapping Branches

You can quickly locate the overlapping branches after cleaning up most parts of the tree. Remove those branches as they cause damage to each other, or keep them from growing thicker. 

Cut off both branches if they are damaged alike. If one of them is okay, then remove the damaged one. 

Don’t Kill the Tree by Trimming! 

You may kill the tree by trimming it now and then. To avoid the risk, you can start with small branches. Remember, you don’t want to cut one-fourth of the tree at a time. If you have to do so, trim some of it this year, and wait for the next year to come.

Besides, it would be best if you used the pruning tools with care. Make sure you sharpen them before you can start trimming. A dirty and dull pruning tool may hurt the tree. 


Trees need time to take the desired shape. You have to work on them for years, and someday it will look the way you once expected. Please wait until the day comes, and don’t hurt trees by trimming them all the time. Now that you know how to trim tree branches yourself give it a try. If you feel nervous, start with a bit of a step like cutting small branches. As for the giant trees, let the professionals deal with them.

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