Top Mistakes to Avoid When Pruning

July 17, 2017

(NOTE This blog had a video

We’ve discussed at length the importance of keeping your trees healthy with routine trimming and pruning. However, when it comes to pruning, there are specific techniques that must be used to avoid compromising the tree’s well-being. In this blog post, we will go through some of the mistakes to avoid when tackling pruning on your own.

  1. Not pruning at all – This article from HGTV emphasizes several pruning no-no’s, none more significant than this one. Keep in mind that overgrown trees can pose safety hazards to your property. Not to mention, trees that haven’t been pruned look less than attractive. A reliable tree company will use the proper pruning techniques to promote better shape for the tree, as well as the ideal long-term growth.
  2. Topping – As we mentioned in a recent blog post, topping should be avoided at all costs when pruning and trimming your tree. Our tree care experts advise against this destructive tactic because topping stimulates multiple secondary leaders that grow naturally in the same way as the original but with a weaker structure. The result is a negative effect. If you have a tree in your yard that’s outgrown its space, then it should be removed.
  3. Improper tools – Here’s a mistake that just about every homeowner makes in terms of tree trimming and pruning. While you may have pruning tools, take a closer look at them. Are there dull blades, stiff, loose or rusty moving parts? These tools can lead to ugly, ragged cut edges or even spread of tree disease. In many cases, the wrong tool can result in user injury. It’s best practice to keep pruning tools sharp, clean, well-oiled and in overall good working order. Be sure to properly repair or replace them if they become damaged. Lastly, store them in a dry location.
  4. Poor technique – It’s one thing to decide that you want to make your tree pruning a DIY project. It’s another to take the time and do it the right way. Far too often, homeowners simply cut off branches at random in the hope that the end result looks decent. But taking this approach can result in the unsightly cut ends showing for an extended period of time, heavy production of water sprouts producing an unbalanced look, as well as nasty scars. When you’re ready to remove branches, watch closely that you make the final cut at the top of a branch collar (the swollen area where the branch meets the main stem) or at a node (where lateral branches or leaves generate from the branch). The article explains that you should avoid hard cutbacks as much as possible, but that these cuts are necessary where the cut will be hidden within surrounding foliage. It’s also important to take into account that the larger branches be slightly undercut prior to removing the bark from tearing when the wood breaks midway through cutting.
  5. Lack of attention to detail – Do you see tree pruning and trimming much like mowing the lawn or watering the garden? It’s no secret that a number of yard maintenance tasks can be completed without much thought involved. But that’s not the case with tree care. Our tree service often sees that the most mistakes come from folks who are bit careless. Again, if you choose to handle these projects on your own, please keep good pruning practices in mind. Do your best to not rush through it just so you can move on to the next item on your weekend’s to-do list. In contrast, always work patiently and methodically. Be sure that you’ve done plenty of research ahead of time before proceeding to cut. The harsh reality is that, once a tree is pruned or trimmed, you can’t revert back to how it looked before.  


For nearly three decades, Chicago residents have trusted the professionals at Pro Tree Service. Our company mission is simple: to offer the most affordable, reliable, and highest quality of tree care in the area. But with so many other tree services around, how do we stand out from the crowd?

  • Experience – We can’t believe how much this industry has changed since we founded Pro Tree in 1989. Today, it seems as though new companies pop out of nowhere just about every day.
  • Affordability – Along with experience comes the affordability of Pro Tree. We are proud to be cost leaders in the industry, making professional tree service a reality for so many residents. When you call us, we will always offer our best price guarantee so that you can take advantage of the most competitive prices from us every time. We don’t believe in trying to trick potential customers with gimmicks or hidden fees. You can count on us to provide straightforward and honest pricing right from the start.
  • Reliability – Summertime may be when homeowners pay the most attention to their trees. But we aren’t one of those companies that pack up and leave residents high and dry during the rest of the year. If it’s the middle of winter and you need tree service, we can help. Plus, we offer 24-hour emergency response service for your convenience. Simply put, our tree company is 100 percent committed to ensuring you receive service in a timely manner.
  • Fully licensed, insured, and bonded – You’d be surprised at how many tree companies don’t have the proper licensing and certification. There’s no need to worry about that with Pro Tree, as our team is legally incorporated and carries commercial general liability and workers’ compensation. Plus, we are fully bonded and licensed.

So if your tree could use some pruning, don’t try to handle it on your own and risk putting your tree’s health in danger. Instead, choose Pro Tree Service. Call now for a free estimate.   

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