Tree Trimming Mistakes to Avoid

tree pruning mistake

Tree pruning is best left to experienced professionals. It’s a dangerous job, climbing trees, wielding chainsaws and dropping heavy branches to the ground; and it is sometimes dangerous for the tree as well. Trees that aren’t pruned correctly can experience a lifetime of damage.

Rather than putting yourself and the tree itself at risk, hire a professional who is trained and experienced to do the job for you.

This will lead to stronger trees and a safer environment around your house for several reasons:

  • Healthier trees are sturdier and less likely to cause damage during severe storms
  • Maintained trees won’t attract or spread parasites and diseases
  • Trimmed trees produce more flowers or fruit
  • Pruned trees offer shade while still allowing air to flow through their canopies and your property

IN Tree Trimming highly suggests trimming trees that are very close to your house or all that are a focus of your landscape.

Is Tree Trimming Necessary?

It is not required. But it is important. Trees are very hardy and survive on their own everywhere in the world, in a variety of different climates and regions, without being pruned.

However, there are many benefits of professional tree trimming, so it’s recommended for trees that you value. This can include sentimental trees, fruit trees and blossoming trees or trees that offer an important job for your house, such as shade or wildlife habitat.

Tree Pruning Gone Wrong

Pruning a tree is a complex project. You are going to need the right equipment and a lot of information to guarantee the project is done correctly. The vast majority of homeowners don’t have any of these!

But that’s alright, because there are many services out there who know exactly how to correctly prune trees for an affordable price to you including all arborists throughout Indiana we work with!

Below are the 5 most common mistakes people make when they attempt DIY tree trimming that can lead to many tree problems. These are things that a trained arborist from IN Tree Trimming will know, and that’s exactly why their services are worth paying for!

Pruning Too Much

When done properly, tree trimming is an ongoing process. Beginning when your trees are just 2 or 3 years old, they should be maintained by an arborist if you care about them and desire to keep them healthy.

A huge mistake that people often make when trimming trees by themselves is trimming too much of the tree all at once. This occurs because they have let the tree’s growth get out of hand and try to fix it all at once. Ideally, you should only cut off 5-20% of the tree’s crown at a time. It is much easier to do this during a season that there are no leaves, but a certified arborist is able to safely prune trees any time of year.

Removing Tree Bark

After you cut a tree limb and gravity starts to pull it down, it can rip bark from the tree trunk right along with it. This exposes the tree’s inner layers, leaving the tree in danger of attracting diseases and making it easier for pests and rodents to find their way in.

To guarantee this doesn’t happen, a trained arborist will make special cuts beneath larger branches before making their final removal cut. Knowing how to place these initial cuts takes pressure off the branch collar and reduces the stress at the exact point of the main cut so the branch doesn’t tear.

Trimming in the Wrong Place

An experienced tree specialist knows exactly where to cut each limb to protect against damage. This cut should be done just beyond the branch collar, the specific place where the branch connects to the tree trunk.

Cutting too close to the branch collar exposes the tree to insects, decay and mildew. Cutting too far away from it leaves a stump when the tree has recovered. Most DIY tree trimming leads to an improper cut, leaving either aesthetic or structural issues.

Pruning Large Branches

Branches any larger than 4 inches in diameter really shouldn’t be pruned unless it is absolutely necessary. Cutting off a branch this large can lead to imbalance in the tree and expose it to pests and rodents and decay as the tree recovers from losing such a big branch.

Conservative pruning once each year ensures that your tree trimmer only has to cut off branches that are 2-3 inches in diameter, which results in a more attractive shape for the tree and less risk of harming the tree or exposing it to disease and pests.

Topping the Tree

Tree topping is an outdated type of pruning, and for good reason! During this process, arborists would cut the top off of the tree to achieve the desired height. It was not attractive nor beneficial for the tree, so the majority of tree care companies do not practice tree topping currently.

During DIY tree pruning, you may think this is a good way to reduce the height of your tree with just a single cut, but once you have cut the top of a tree off, there’s virtually no chance that it will ever return to a natural shape.

The Solution? Call IN Tree Trimming

Let’s face it. Your tree may never recover from bad pruning.

Performing this job yourself might seem like a way to save a little money, but you could end up with way more cost trying to revive damaged trees, so it’s a lot safer (and more economical in the long run) to hire a certified arborist in Indiana from IN Tree Trimming.

Limbs aren’t going to grow back. The tree will grow more, but it will not grow back in the same places, which causes strange shapes that could take years to fix. The tree could end up looking bad for the rest of its life, all because of just one pruning error.

Improper pruning could also result in death of the tree. Cutting off too many branches (and, therefore, leaves) can inhibit the tree’s photosynthesis process, which means it won’t get all of the water it needs or enough sunlight and carbon dioxide to continue healthy growth.

Cutting off too many branches can also send the tree into a state of shock. Shock can be overcome, but it takes a great deal of patience and care. Even with proper care, a tree experiencing shock may still die.

Avoid all of these tree trimming mistakes and call IN Tree Trimming to speak with a tree care specialist in Indiana able to come up with a long-term plan to ensure your tree continues blossoming and looking beautiful for years to come!

7 Common Tree Problems & Diseases

Trees are living things, so that means that they can get “sick” just like humans and animals can. A disease or other tree problem may take a while to show appear because of the overall size of the tree, and once symptoms become clear, it could be too late to restore the tree.

A professional arborist from IN Tree Trimming can diagnose and treat tree issues so that there is a much greater chance of saving the tree. Learn about our service here. Not only can an arborist help to stop a tree from dying, but they are also able to help trees get healthier growth and more flowers or fruit with professional tree trimming.

Have you noticed a tree on your lawn that has always seemed OK but all of the sudden looks like something is wrong? In the next blog post, we’ll describe some of the most common tree problems and what these symptoms mean for a tree.

If you see any of these things on any of the trees on your property, act fast to have the best chance of saving the tree and the ones around it.

Tree Diseases & Common Problems

These 7 things are the most typical issues addressed by certified arborists in Indiana. Once you think one of these things might be wrong with your tree, call someone with the training and equipment to help!

Tree Diseases

Leaf Rust – Leaf rust is actually a fungus that is very common in both trees and plants. The name comes from the yellow and brown spots this disease creates on the leaves.

Leaf rust is bad because it inhibits the leaves’ photosynthesis, the process by which it breathes. Leaf rust can be treated with fungicides and selective trimming of the affected leaves. It may be recommended to remove whole branches with leaf rust.

Witches’ Broom – This common disease creates a large clump of twigs, dead leaves and branches that look like a broom shape. It is caused by insects, unusually wet weather or fungus. The formation of a clump of twigs and leaves is the tree’s reaction to infection or harm.

Some cases of Witches’ Broom are deadly for the tree, others are simply considered a growth malformation. An arborist can diagnose the issue.

Mildew – Mildew is a type of fungus that grows on almost anything in wet conditions, but even after the wet conditions are over with, mildew can continue to thrive. Mildew appears as a powdery substance, typically white, and it often appears on the leaves of a tree first.

The the best method for eliminating mildew is to use a fungicide that contains sulfur. This will treat the existing mildew and help to stop future mildew on the tree. You might also need to prune the tree to remove limbs, fruit, flowers and leaves that have been affected by the mildew

Gall – Gall is a type of tree disease that occurs when insects build small nests on the leaves or twigs of a tree to lay their eggs in. Most galls are not dangerous for the tree, but none of them are attractive.

Gall will appear as bumps on the tree, in varying sizes. They can be white, brown, gray or some color in between.

You do not have to treat the tree if there are galls, but they can limit the growth of new trees. Treat galls by killing the pests. You should also clean out from under the tree when the leaves fall off, since this is where the pests survive during winter.

Other Tree Problems

Poor Pruning – There’s a science to tree trimming, as well as many types, and if you aren’t sure what you’re doing, you could damage the tree past the point of recovery. Consider the type of tree, season and other factors. Under-pruning (or not pruning at all) is just as big of a problem. Only a certified arborist should be trusted to trim trees in order to keep them healthy.

Lack of Water – Young trees can be significantly affected by drought. If you plant new trees, you will need to supplement the amount of water they get from rainfall. A tree that doesn’t get enough water can have its growth inhibited. The first sign you are likely to see is scorched, dry leaves. Find more tips for new trees here.

Too Much Sun – Do your initial research before planting trees in a full-sun area. Most species of trees can handle it without issue, but too much sun can happen to any tree if the sun is harsh for a long period and rainfall is light. A tree that is getting too much sun needs extra water to prevent wilting, drooping leaves.

Certified Arborist Services in Indiana

A certified arborist from IN Tree Trimming will quickly diagnose what’s going on with your sick tree and formulate a plan to save it if at all possible.

Here is what an arborist is trained to do:

  • Review trees from below and from the branches of the tree if necessary. Getting into the canopy is often necessary to identify exactly what is leading to the symptoms.
  • Treat your tree with additives and fertilizers in the soil or products applied to the leaves. The arborist will have expert knowledge about the disease impacting the tree and the best treatments for it.
  • Trim trees to eliminate dead or damaged branches and to help healthy growth. Even if heavy pruning is needed, they will know how to remove branches so that the tree can survive both the problem and the trimming process.
  • Remove the tree from your property if there is no chance to save it. The worst case is that the tree is dying, and cutting it down is the best way to protect your home and surrounding landscape.

They can also educate you about the other trees that you have and how to best care for them so you don’t find yourself in the same situation in the future.

Some tree diseases look similar to one another, requiring a professional opinion to accurately diagnose and correct the issue. If your trees appear to be dry, unhealthy or disfigured, call a certified arborist from IN Tree Trimming for an inspection before it’s too late.

What is the Best Season for Tree Pruning?

seasonal tree pruning in indiana

When it comes to the question, “What time of year is best for tree tree pruning?” The answer will likely be vague.

The type of tree will determine when many species can be pruned, along with pest population and activity, local tree and plant diseases and other types of plants and trees in the landscape.

With the assistance of a certified arborist in Indiana, you can decide which season is optimal for trimming your trees to prepare them for success next season and beyond.

Best Season to Trim Trees

Without any other information, IN Tree Trimming recommends tree trimming in the winter. This would be sometime within November to March in most areas. Winter is best because trees are mostly dormant, so trimming will lead to the least amount of harm, if any.

There are a lot of benefits to pruning trees during the winter:

Less risk of insect damage and disease – Insects and plant diseases are mostly inactive during the winter. Throughout the rest of the year, everything from insects to fungus can harm a freshly trimmed tree because the tree will be the most vulnerable and these issues are more common when there is warmer weather.

Easier to see the shape of the tree when the leaves are gone – Leaves get in the way of your arborist from seeing the complete shape of a tree. When the branches are bare, it is a lot easier to see dead or diseased branches and branches that are touching versus those that are just close together.

Trees can heal before spring – By performing major tree trimming during the winter, your trees have several months to build up callus tissue on the tips of the remaining branch collar. By the spring, you’ll barely be able to notice where the branches were removed, and the tree will be able to devote its energy to produce brand new, healthier leaves, fruit or flowers rather than healing new cuts.

Less chance of damaging nearby landscaping – Most of the surrounding trees and plants will also be dormant during this time, so there is a lower risk of doing damage to them. Many times, a tree is surrounded by annual plants in the spring and summer, but there are no plants to be disturbed in the winter since these annuals already died out.

Do All Trees Need Pruning?

Yes, all trees will benefit from routine pruning. Tree pruning every winter is good for the trees, but it is also a precaution for the safety of your property and your family. Let us explain:

Trimming Makes the Tree Healthier

Dying and diseased limbs are cut off, as are stubs that are prone to pests and disease. Branches that can rub against each other are also pruned so that they don’t weaken one another or create an open wound on the tree.

Trimming trees each year is also a great way to get an expert’s opinion on your trees so that early signs of decay, disease and pest problems can be identified and responded to right away.

A Well-Maintained Tree Serves Its Purpose Better

When a tree is overgrown, it starts to be hard for water and nutrients to get to every branch. This can leave the tree looking weak and sick and definitely not doing what it’s intended to do.

Trimmed trees, on the other hand, blossom more fruit, healthier leaves and provide better shade. They are much fuller and healthier and less likely to cause landscaping problems. So regardless of why you planted a new tree, pruning each winter will maximize the results you want from it.

Trees are More Attractive After Trimming

If the view of your landscaping is important to you, tree trimming is important! Pruning trees results in an attractive, uniform shape and size. This is very important if you have a lot of identical trees on your property.

Cutting off lower branches and upper branches that grow at improper angles improves the overall beauty of the tree while also promoting tree health.

Less Chance of Falling Branches

Tree pruning – from an arborist – helps the remaining branches to grow healthier and stronger. Therefore, storms and other inclement weather in Indiana won’t damage your trees the way they would an unkempt tree. Your home and family will be safer living under and around pruned trees.

Another safety issue for large trees is that they can impede the view of traffic lights, road signs and driveways. Tree pruning, crown raising and other specialized tree care services will keep the tree at a manageable size and stop it from blocking various views.

Call IN Tree Trimming for Tree Pruning

Working with a professional arborist in Indiana gives you access to their knowledge on tree pruning. We highly recommend relying on their expertise if you have trees on that you’d like to keep healthy for a long time.

An arborist won’t just look at the immediate situation. Instead, he or she will take the time to inspect your trees and study their unique scenario (including their location and factors that may put them at risk of disease or infestation). After gathering all of the information, an arborist will create a long-term plan based on your trees’ unique needs and stick to that course of action until the goals for your trees are achieved.

This plan could require many years to implement, but rest assured, it will result in healthy trees that you and your family can enjoy for generations.

This type of ongoing care will result in healthy tree growth, help your entire property resist plant diseases and improve fruit or flower production from your trees. It will also strengthen your trees so there is not as much risk of falling trees or branches.

Being proactive about tree care will save you a lot of money over time as well. Preventative care is far more affordable than paying for emergency tree services, storm damage cleanup or restoring an ill tree from a disease that has gotten out of hand (and one that was easily preventable).

If you care about the health of your trees and the beauty of your property, trust a certified arborist for tree trimming and maintenance from IN Tree Trimming. Find our service area here. We work with arborists across the entire state of Indiana. Call now!

Types of Tree Pruning

tree pruning types

Tree pruning in Indiana is an important professional service that beautifies and reinforces trees so they will fight off insects, diseases and inclement weather – and look breathtaking doing it!

Pruning needs to be done if you want a healthy tree, but it has to be done carefully by someone who has experience in what they’re doing. Like a certified arborist from IN Tree Trimming. Homeowners may be able to prune and trim trees safely while they are still small, but you also may be doing irreparable harm to the tree.

To safely prune trees, you need to know all of the following:

  • When to prune your species of trees
  • How much of the tree should be trimmed at at once
  • Where to cut the branches so you do not harm the tree

Cutting too much from a tree can kill it or cause structural damage, but minimal pruning done each year benefits trees in several ways. Pruning improves the appearance of trees, makes them healthier, eliminates dying or diseased limbs and expedites fruit or flower production.

Ideally, pruning should be performed every year, but as trees get older, you may be able to go two years between pruning services. Regardless of how routinely you have your trees pruned, be sure your arborist is qualified to do the type of tree pruning your trees need. This won’t be an issue if you call IN Tree Trimming in Indiana!

Types of Tree Pruning Methods

There are 7 different ways to properly prune a tree so that it grows healthier and stronger every year.

Depending on the shape, type and health problems of your trees, one method may be more beneficial than another, but each technique has distinct benefits to consider.

Crown Thinning Your Trees

Crown thinning is common for older, overgrown trees in Indiana. This technique eliminates weak branches within the crown to allow more light and air flow through the crown. Air flow is especially important for disease prevention.

This pruning method also eliminates branches and limbs that are touching so they do not rub against each other and snap or cause weaker areas that can be an access point for insects and pests. Branches that grow at strange angles are usually removed during crown thinning.

Crown Raising Your Trees

This tree pruning method removes branches and limbs at the lower part of the crown so new limbs start higher up on the trunk. Letting low branches get too big makes them very difficult to cut off, and they can pull nutrients from the top of the tree, which leads to less fruit and a weak tree.

There are a variety of reasons you may choose to raise the crown of a tree. Frequently, it is done to clear the line of sight for automobiles and pedestrians, but it can also be done to make space for landscaping underneath the tree.

It is a common method for large trees that are close to homes and other buildings.

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction lowers the overall size of the tree’s crown from its exterior edge. It shortens branches vertically and horizontally to keep the tree at a manageable size. By reducing the size of the crown, you can eliminate the need to chop the tree down because it won’t come into contact with traffic lights, power lines or street lights.

Even if the tree isn’t close to structures like these, crown reduction will make the tree look neater because it removes irregular growth. This is a good idea for trees that are a variety of ages but are supposed to look uniform.

Crown Cleaning

Also referred to as deadwood pruning, crown cleaning is a minimally invasive trimming method that gets rid of dead, broken or diseased branches so that the rest of the tree may grow normally. These limbs can only cause problems over time.

Crown cleaning helps to make the tree look much better, and it prevents branches from rubbing together. And it is a safety practice that lowers the chance of branches falling, because healthy branches rarely fall.

Crown Restoration

Crown restoration is an intense trimming process used on trees that were severely damaged (either by pests or weather). It should be performed by a certified arborist who knows how the tree is likely to grow over time and how long it’s restoration will take.

Unlike other tree pruning services, crown restoration occurs during an extended time period with conservative pruning that reshapes the tree. Your arborist should have a plan to restore the tree, but also be flexible as the tree grows and reshapes on its own, working with the tree’s new growth.

Vista Pruning

If you want trees to help improve curb appeal, you are probably interested in vista pruning. The intent of vista pruning is to help to make the tree more aesthetically pleasing from a particular viewing point.

It encompasses many tree trimming techniques including crown thinning, crown cleaning and crown reduction – any technique that helps the trees look prettier. Remember, though, that an arborist is not going to jeopardize the health of a tree, so the focus of vista pruning is still to create strong, healthy trees.

Espalier Pruning

Espaliered trees are pruned heavily to grow flat up against a wall or a trellis. It is a different style of pruning that will draw a lot of attention to your lawn. Espalier pruning needs to be started when the tree is young and then done consistently throughout the tree’s life span.

Some of the benefits of espalier pruning include facilitating maximum sunlight to get to the trees, as well as making it much easier to produce fruit.

Professional Tree Pruning in Indiana

Tree pruning can be dangerous for a tree, your lawn, and, of course, for you! IN Tree Trimming highly suggests professional tree trimming over DIY.

Besides the possible dangers of tree trimming, you can do a lot of harm to a tree if you don’t prune it correctly. Excessive pruning is one of the most typical mistakes made by homeowners caring for their own trees.

Trees in Indiana that get routine care from a professional are usually much better off, and hiring an experienced arborist from IN Tree Trimming to prune the trees on your property is a choice you won’t regret. Locate your city in our service area. We work with arborists throughout the entire state of Indiana!

How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has several benefits. Trees offer summer shade, filter polluted air and increase curb appeal. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, trees are pretty easy to care for: another benefit! Trees are durable and tend to grow despite minimal care. But, if you want to ensure your trees reach their full potential, they need more effort.

Lack of care for new trees could result in rotting, disease, under watering or pest issues.

The good news is that tree care isn’t all that difficult, but you will want a little information to do it right. Research the trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll outline the five best practices on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely know the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and explain how to complete each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only keep your trees alive, they’ll help them grow much faster, stand up to strong winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and produce more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than well-established ones. The trees you plant on your property are no exception.

The root ball of the tree and the soil surrounding it need be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, as this can cause the roots to rot.

The rule of thumb is 4-10 gallons of water every week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to add the remaining gallons. Your new trees need this much water for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive lawn care material. It helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that the new tree will not survive.

Place mulch 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it around to completely cover the ground under the longest horizontal branch. For new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will also grow as well.

Keep the mulch at least 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be attentive in keeping it spread out consistently and far enough away from the tree trunk so it does not stop air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides nutrients that your land’s soil may not have naturally. Most new trees can benefit from fertilizing, but you have to use the correct products and do it at the right time for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

The ideal season to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer provides the right conditions (mild temperatures and moist soil), but don’t count on it.

If you are uncertain about which fertilizer to use, consult a tree care professional for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed trees over a period of time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these tasks in the initial growing seasons after planting a tree, and then reevaluate your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree gets older. As time goes on, there will be tree care projects that are more important for your young trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very tricky – in the early years after you plant a new tree. As the tree grows, you may see a lot of little branches take off, attempting to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually result in a very weak tree over time.

Early pruning helps to shape the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it is much larger. As small limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they must be cut off so they don’t steal water and nutrients away from the upper branches.

As long as there are trees growing on your land, they need to be pruned regularly. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can rely on IN Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and insect problems. But you’re never completely safe from these issues. As your tree grows older, watch it closely for evidence of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf drop, despite whether these leaves appear healthy or sick
  • Withering, regardless of proper watering
  • Single branches or limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

These signs likely mean a health issue. It is likely going to need professional care if your hope is to save the tree. An experienced arborist can diagnose the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will do testing whenever necessary.

If you catch the issue quick enough, you will likely be able to save the tree. Being proactive is the best way to protect new trees.

The steps above are basic but effective. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics! When your new trees have proper care, combined with sunshine and barring any severe, damaging weather, the odds are good that the tree will survive and will look beautiful too!

Of course, you could already have a very busy schedule and don’t really want to perform these additional lawn care projects. In most cases, homeowners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their growing trees the appropriate care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to contact a tree service for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Indiana can consult with you about the course of maintenance for each tree species you plant. They enjoy sharing their expertise and skills with people planting brand new trees, and they can be the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

Call IN Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Indiana – including tree trimming – for newer trees and older trees. An arborists will determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.