How to Trim Large Branches – A Complete Guide

Pruning is a crucial duty for the tree’s health and the safety of those who live and play in its shadow. Pruning supports a robust, healthy branch pattern in the first few years following planting, laying the groundwork for decades, if not centuries, to come.

Damage and disease concerns may necessitate the pruning of large branches later on. As necessary, doing it incorrectly will face severe consequences as we talk about how to trim large branches. In rare cases, for example, when a limb is dead, sick, or storm-damaged, the work is critical that has to complete quickly. In terms of a regular, winter is the optimum time to remove it.

At that moment, the tree will have a reserve of energy, allowing it to begin curative progress in a few weeks. Trimming large tree branches requires extreme caution to avoid damaging the bark or interfering with the tree’s natural healing process. When it comes to how to cut large branches off a tree, doing it poorly is no more difficult than doing it perfectly.

How to Trim Large Branches

Plant Trimming Safety:

  • In each pruning circumstance, examine the requirement for a skilled arborist. Leave these tasks to the experts, that have the appropriate tools and abilities for intricate cutting work.
  • Trees around opened electrical chords must be pruned.
  • Large dead or drooping branches must be removed.
  • Large branches near homes or constructions.

When Should You Prune Your Trees?

The optimum periods to trim deciduous trees are late fall after the leaves have fallen and early winter. The most evergreen trees should be lightly pruned in late January. The plant structure is immediately discernible because of the limited branching. In most locations, avoid vigorous cutting from January through early March. From late spring to June, beetles that attack oak trees are busy. Avoid trimming your oaks at this period if oak wilt is present in the area.

When you see diseased branches, trim them away. If the branches are affected, waiting until autumn or winter to cut them may result in more tree damage or infection. To avoid spreading sickness, while clipping unhealthy branches, dip the cutting tool in a 10percentage water solution between cuts.

How to Trim Thick Branches Tools:

The depth of the branch determines the tool used. Handheld bypass pruners or loppers can easily remove little branches less than an inch. Medium-sized branches 1 to 4 inches must be cut neatly with a sharp pruning saw, or bow saw. A chainsaw is the best tool for removing branches 3 to 4 inches or larger. In addition to the proper trimming tool, don’t forget the following essential equipment:

  • Protective eyewear
  • Gloves for work
  • The hard hat
  • Hearing protection 
  • Chaps with chainsaws
  • Work boots or shoes with non-slip soles
  • Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt

How to Remove a Large Tree Branch Safely

The larger the severed limb’s diameter, the more difficult it will be for the tree to heal over. Assize rises, and more area is exposed to the danger of pest infestation and sickness. Furthermore, because larger branches have more foliage than smaller branches, removing them significantly impacts the tree’s energy production and growth (healing) rate. The danger and margin for error increase as the size expands.

The final goal is to create a smooth, clean-cut that cures swiftly. This activity may complete in three simple stages.

  1. Step 1: Notch cut

    Make a 2-foot-long partial cut away from the trunk. To make the notch, begin on the bottom of the branch. It cut upwards a fourth of the way through the branch. This first trim separates the branch’s bark and outer growth rings, preventing it from splitting and ripping when the second cut is done, but the stem links safely.

  2. Step 2: Make a relief cut.

    Following the notch, the next cut eliminates the entirety of the downward pressure caused by the branch’s weight. Cut through the branch, beginning on the upper side and ending a fraction of an inch past the notch. You will be left with only a short section of the tree getting stuck out from the trunk.

  3. Step 3: Make the final cut.

    The last cut separates the remaining branch’s root from the trunk neatly. Find the branch collar, a thickening zone with a firm bark surrounding the trunk-to-branch communication link. Cut across the top of the branch collar, taking care to keep the angle of the collar itself in mind. Cutting into the branch collar will result in the formation of a callus that will heal over the incision. In many cases, chopping from the bottom-up may be more convenient.

How to Get Rid of a High Branch

To remove high branches, employing a tree service is usually preferred. A bucket lift provides a safe, stable working platform that is simple to maneuver into place. It helps to clear the heaviest limbs in a series of smaller, lighter pieces rather than a few large, heavy chunks. Climbing a tree to cut a branch introduces new risks, for example, falling, a higher chance of life-threatening injuries, damage to persons or property from a falling branch, etc. Consider the following safety precautions if you must remove a branch from a height:

  • Work from the ground and extend your reach using a pole chainsaw.
  • Never carry a chainsaw that is in use up a ladder. Instead, use a rope to pull up a non-running one. Then, before you begin, secure yourself in a safe posture.
  • If utility wires are running through the canopy, contact a professional.
  • Consider where the branch will fall before climbing and after you’re in the tree. Ensure there are no people, pets, or damaged property in the vicinity. Keep in mind that big branches that fall through a tree canopy can cause harm to other branches.
  • A branch may look manageable from the ground until you climb the tree. If the work proves to be more than you planned for, don’t be afraid to hire a professional.

These three procedures are intended to simplify things, but it’s just as easy to do more harm than good, so we’d like to offer some typical tree trimming blunders to avoid.

  • Make sure not to cut the branch too short.

It may appear that chopping the branch straight off the tree with the trunk is the correct course of action; however, this is not the case. There should be no holes in your tree trunk after cutting, preventing the callus tissue from correctly forming. Trees have a challenging time healing from rotting holes or leaking wounds, which are frequently caused by cutting branches too short.

  • Do not leave the branch for an extended period.

In contrast, leaving the branch too long will also harm your tree. The callus tissue cannot mend because the healing region is still covered if the cut is not done on the branch collar. The callus tissue cannot heal. If you leave the branches for too long, the healing process will be hampered.

  • Don’t forget to make some relief cuts.

If you don’t make the relief cut, you won’t be able to eliminate the majority of the weight before trimming. This will cause the branch to split off, which should not happen. A split branch can cause harm to the trunk, which is critical to the tree’s general health. Damage to the trunk might make the tree more susceptible to disease and result in a lengthier recovery period.

As you can see from the above, chopping off a large branch is laborious. The limbs must be chopped appropriately for your protection and the safety of your tree. If it is not done correctly, the tree’s healing process may be hampered, resulting in future difficulties for your tree.

Additionally, before attempting to chop a tree branch, ensure that you are experienced using a saw.

Pruning Suggestions for Difficulties

Actual growth cycles, storm surges, and specific environmental requirements can all result in unique pruning challenges. Here are some of the most common situations to cope with them.

  1. Branching in a V-shape: Some trees develop thin, V-shaped junctures independently. While these narrow branch patterns may affect the tree’s structure, they may not necessarily demand corrective pruning. Native elms, hornbeams, serviceberries, hickories, and Osage orange trees are typically sturdy enough or tiny enough that structural trimming is minimal, exception of removing irritated crossed branches. Other plants, especially maples, flowering pears, ashes, willows, and basswood, check regularly and managed from small to avoid difficulties while those are getting larger.
  1. Suckering: As a survival mechanism, some trees send up new shoots from the ground. These rapidly developing stems have the potential to weaken the primary plant during the period. Cut suckers off at ground level before they reach a height of six to twelve inches in length. Avoid planting trees that produce suckers often to reduce yearly suckering problems. A good nursery may be of great help.
  1. Trunks with Forked Trunks: Forked branches are less robust than single trunks and commonly grow together, creating a hollow region where insects and rot can further harm the tree. The plant will eventually split maybe one of its trunks may break off. Because avoid this, prune one of the plant’s split trunks while it’s growing. Cut as near to the ground as possible, with a little incline to allow rainfall to drain off the stump. Take care not to damage the bark of the remaining trunk.
  1. Branches that are clustered: Too many intertwined branches may quickly damage a tree. Tiny, feeble branches suffocate the growth of larger, stronger branches. Removing extraneous branches, which often grow horizontally, lets the surviving branches obtain good airflow and sunshine. This is especially the case for trees that like to produce several branches at a specific point on the tree, resulting in a poor region.
  1. Stubs: If branches fall off in the storm or are cut beyond where it joins the tree, a stub remains. Stubs should be removed as soon as they are found. A stub prevents the wound from being sealed by a protective callus and provides an entry point for insects. After insects have made advances, moisture and rot can take hold. Take care not to cut into the expanding callus tissue forming around the trunk while removing an old stub. It is necessary to seal the lesion.
  1. Wounds from Trees: Dressings can occasionally inhibit the formation of callus tissue (the swollen region) and preserve moisture, allowing rot to occur. The majority of arborists now only utilize tar-like wound treatments as a last resort. It is not essential to seal pruning wounds or broken branches. Allowing damage to breathing is the most efficient method to hasten to healing.