Around the Yard

Trimming Tree Limbs

By: Danny Lipford

Removing limbs from trees and shrubs is a necessary part of gardening, but you must do the job correctly. To avoid splintering the cut, make a relief cut a foot or so outside the branch collar. This will remove the weight of the limb so you can make a cleaner final cut. The final cut should be just outside the collar or wrinkled area where the branch and the tree join.


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8 Comments on “Trimming Tree Limbs”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    December 31st, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Hi, Mark,
    Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. You didn’t include the location, so we would suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association.
    Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
    Thanks for your question, and good luck!

  • Mark Falk Says:
    December 28th, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    I have a pin oak I planted from seedling about 25 years ago. My local power company says its too close to electric lines and must be trimmed.
    They say they’ve a 40ft. easement and my tree is about 8-10 feet from the wires…not even close to touching them! Can this oak tree limbs be cut shorter in length, or is it required to trim all the way to the branch collar at the trunk?

  • Tom Surlas Says:
    September 3rd, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    We have a Big Maple (35- 40 ft) tree that has limbs that appear to have died, meaning that they are without leaves and bark looks bad, mostly on the east side .
    Sorry but I don’t know how to address the problem.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    September 6th, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Hi, Denise!
    Here’s a resource that might help with this matter:
    Good luck!

  • Denise Henderson Says:
    August 27th, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Is there any way to keep new limbs from growing where you trim limbs? Seems like when we trim there is more new growth! Help!

  • Robert Smith Says:
    May 27th, 2018 at 7:46 am

    We love to do backyard gardening, but each year there’s less sun exposure due to a maple tree in the corner that grows over our backyard. The limbs are a story high, very full of leaves, and healthy. We can’t afford to hire a helper, so realistically and logically, what are our best tool options? ). Our sun availability on the land is a third, and no noon sun. Thanks for concerning me and my wife, we hope to do this as soon as possible. Robert and RITA Smith

  • Sue Mitchell Says:
    August 1st, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I have about 25 sawtooth oak trees that were planted from seedlings one year ago. They have done really well. But I want to trim the lower branches to make them look more like a tree and not shrubs. Is it ok to trim them in August.

  • Carol Says:
    June 17th, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you! Just the information I needed!

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Trimming Tree Limbs