Tree Care Services of Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR

4 Signs Your Tree Needs Trimming

By AK Timber in Tree Care

Your trees are living, breathing things and sometimes they need to be taken care of properly. Whether you think about it like a haircut, something necessary to make your trees healthy or like getting a manicure, something that makes your trees look beautiful, you need to allow your tree to get these little luxuries. Much like split ends or nail ridges, your tree gives off signals that it is time to get some work done.

Trees don’t always give off subtle hints that something needs to happen, but that doesn’t mean people respond in the best ways. Too often, they try to take care of their trees by themselves when, in reality, they need a professional to help them. If you do it yourself, you might cause even more damage and spread the reason the tree needs pruning in the first place.

Here are four signs your tree is ready for a trimming:

4. Branches Are Crossing

  • Biggest sign that a tree isn’t taken care of properly
  • One of the branches (at least) needs to go
  • Rubbing needs to be taken seriously

If you don’t take care of your trees properly, one of the biggest tells that we see is the crossing of branches. This is when branches grow so closely together that they rub and cross, wearing away at each of them. If you see this, you absolutely need to cut at least one of the branches and then treat the one that remains, especially if there are any wounds.

According to Texas A&M, you have to be extremely careful about when and where you make these cuts. Doing something at even the slightly wrong angle can open up your tree to many diseases and infestations. After these branches have been pruned and trimmed, you need to take care of them like you would any other wound.

3. You Have A Lot Of Deadwood

  • A sign that tree is near death
  • Decay sets in quite quickly
  • The tree might need to be removed

One of the most obvious signs that you need to take care of your tree and have a professional come in to prune it is that it has deadwood. No, not like the television show but like wood that is rotting and decaying away. This is a cry for help from your tree and requires immediate action.

Check your tree to see if it is actually dead. According to The Spruce, you can do this yourself: “Just beneath the outer layer of every branch and twig is the cambium, a thin green layer. It is green in every season, even winter, but it turns brown when the plant dies. This is the most decisive way to test young wood, with an outer layer thin enough for you to scratch with pruners, a knife, or your fingernail on the youngest wood. On old branches with thick bark, you may need to slowly use a saw or another method of checking the wood.”

If you think that there is deadwood, it doesn’t mean that it is the end for your tree. Instead, professional trimming can save its life. Once again, you need to act quickly. This is not a time to drag your feet.

2. The Leader Branch Is Dead

  • The main branch of the tree dies
  • There may be more than one leader branch
  • Pruning may make your tree more viable

Many trees have what we call a leader branch, which is one of the main branches at the stem of the tree. There can be quite a few leader branches or there can be one. When a tree has more than one, the branches will compete for dominance and that can cause problems.

You need to prune your tree so that you only have one leader branch and the rest of the tree will be healthy.

If you only have one leader and it dies, pruning the tree might help it to survive. You can help a new leader emerge if you know what you are doing, but it requires quite a practiced hand. This isn’t something you can do yourself. According to Gardener’s Path, you may have to wait out the new leader, but one should emerge in an otherwise healthy tree.

1. Tree Is Misshapen

  • Helps to keep certain trees small
  • Will keep trees from growing wildly
  • Reduces weight

Just like everything else, trees sometimes need a little trim just to look their best.

According to the Heritage Arborculture Center, “Regular tree management maintains the health of the tree and provides a more distinct environment. Recommended works will depend on many factors including whether there are any nearby hazards, evidence of decay or disease, species etc,” but the biggest reason to trim a tree is because it is misshapen and that causes problems throughout all stages of the tree’s life.

Of course, it will also help to give your trees more of a uniform look that most homeowners really want.

Misshapen trees are more likely to have health problems, more likely to fall during storms, and are even less likely to recover from any problems that emerge. It is just part of a healthy life for your trees.

Contact AK Timber Services for all of your tree care needs – we can help you at any stage of the tree process, from planting and taking care of your tree to pruning and cutting it down to watering. Of course, we can also help you with any questions about whether or not you can remove trees or debris from your yard. Call us today at (360) 635-1076 for all of your tree care needs – we offer free estimates. No matter what, make sure that you do not take tree trimming into your own hands, as this can cause quite a bit of damage.

Header photo courtesy of Scott Costello on Flickr!