Got tree pruning to do? Don’t want to drag out the ladder and try to bring down branches while the ladder wiggles and waggles? There are ways to avoid that.

Actually there are several ways to attack those pruning problems, and they vary according to such issues as the height the unnecessary branches, thickness of the branches to be cut and whether the branch is composed of live or dead wood. Tools vary, too, from simple one-hand operated pruning shears, to long-handled loppers, to pole saws with fixed blades or lightweight motorized saws.

Safety is an issue in pruning as well. Limb loppers eliminate much of the need for climbing a ladder. Most safety studies place falls from ladders among the top causes of injury. When dealing with sharp tools, caution is always advised, along with a good pair of gloves, safety glasses and a hard hat. Also, don’t stand directly under the branch you’re cutting, in case you suddenly find out why you need a hard hat.

Here’s a short list of good horticultural reasons for trimming and pruning trees:

  • Young trees especially need pruning and or trimming to develop a strong structure. Landscape trees such as autumn blaze maples and little leaf lindens can be prone to poor structure. Taller apple trees need to be trained to a central leader.
  • Remove dead wood before it decays, and rot enters the tree.
  • Remove hazardous dead branches.
  • Provide clearance for outbuildings, sheds and power or telephone lines.
  • Trimming and pruning decreases risk of storm damage. It is better to trim a limb now than to have the tree suffer a split limb or fork due to an ice storm or high winds.
  • Proper pruning ensures that trees will have a long, healthy life.
  • Trimming will help to provide a safe environment for yourself, your workers and your neighbors.
  • Well-cared-for trees are aesthetically pleasing.