5 Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Trimming Their Trees

October 7, 2020

If you’re a homeowner and you have trees on your property, it’s important to maintain those trees to keep them healthy, growing strong and avoid having them potentially cause problems.

Some trees close to your home may eventually grow over your roof, garage or driveway. This can pose a huge hazard if those branches break and fall.

Keeping up with regular maintenance can help prevent damage like that, but only if it’s done correctly. 

We often see tree trimming mistakes that could lead to potential property damage or a dead tree. There is a proper way to do it, regardless of the size of the tree and it’s not the same as trimming small hedges or shrubs.

Here are some of the most common tree trimming mistakes we see made by homeowners.

Mistake #1: Only Trimming The Ends Of A Diseased Branch

If the branches you are trimming are old, decaying or already dead, just trimming the ends will do no good. The branches are still weak and need to be trimmed past the dead part of the branch so that you completely cut off the diseased or dying portion.

Trimming on the ends doesn’t remove enough weight off that branch which can still leave it to break and fall later.

You will also not remove the diseased branches if you don’t take off the whole thing. The disease can spread to the rest of the tree creating bigger problems later. 

Mistake #2: Not Leaving A Stub At The Base Of The Branch

It’s a common mistake that trees only get their water and nutrients from their roots. But in fact, they get sunlight, water and needed nutrients from their branches as well.

When you’re trimming tree branches you need to leave a stub at the end of the branch (also known as the collar) and not cut it off flush with the trunk of the tree.

If you’re cutting that branch to avoid having it grow back, you still need to leave the stub so the tree can continue to grow healthy and get what it needs to thrive.

You also run the risk of leaving a large wound on the trunk of the tree that could take a long time to heal leaving your tree more open to disease. 

Mistake #3: Not Properly Sanitizing Between Trees

Just like us, trees are susceptible to disease and bacteria. Many homeowners don’t take a second thought when it comes to trimming more than one tree. They grab the shears and just start chopping away.

But if one of the trees you’ve trimmed has a disease, fungus or bacteria growing, you will spread that to every other tree you trim.

Diseases like Black Knot are easily spreadable from tree to tree and suddenly you go from one ill tree to an entire yard of them.

Be sure to use rubbing alcohol to clean your shears between trees and avoid spreading any diseases. 

Mistake #4: Trimming Trees At The Wrong Time Of The Year

The majority of homeowners who are tackling their tree trimming on their own simply wait until the tree looks overgrown and then they go to work. But the truth is, it matters what time of year you trim branches.

Dead branches…it doesn’t matter when they go. You can remove them as you find them without fear of causing permanent damage to the tree.

Healthy branches however, need to be trimmed at the appropriate time of year to ensure your tree stays healthy and growing. 

Conifers and non-blooming trees are best trimmed in late winter, while blooming trees are best done in the spring after they have finished blooming.

Another huge tree trimming mistake is trimming at a time when certain invasive insects are active. The sap left behind after trimming is like a beacon to those insects and calls them right over to your tree. 

Mistake #5: Using Dull Tools Or The Wrong Tools For The Job

Trimming a full tree branch is not the same as snipping away at small shrubs. It requires better equipment and sharp equipment.

When you use dull tools, you create rough wounds in the branches that take a long time to heal from. Using sharp shears ensures a clean cut that should not require a ton of extra effort.

If you’re finding that you have to really work to cut the branch, they aren’t nearly sharp enough. Have your shears sharpened professionally every year to ensure a proper cut every time. 


Owning your own home means you are responsible for it’s maintenance, trees included. Putting off tree trimming is a bad idea as it can lead to more serious damage later on.

Large gusts of wind during a storm or lightning can leave you with a treemendous hole in the roof of your house, or worse. Keeping them trimmed can lessen the chance that your home, car or garage will be in their branches direct drop zone. 

If your property is home to larger trees that need trimming, the best way to have them trimmed is to call in a professional arborist. Look for a company with years of experience and top of the line equipment.

Pevach Corp has what you need for a job well done, with no mess and healthy, trimmed trees left behind. We have the equipment and training to trim or remove even the largest of trees and tallest of branches without damaging your property. 

Don’t ignore tree trimming, but avoid these common mistakes if you tackle the job yourself. Leave your trees happy, healthy and hazard free.