How to Trim Large Branches Safely – Tools Needed

By Alex
August 5, 2022

It’s important to trim the branches of a tree from time to time, as it helps the tree remain healthy. It is also important for the safety of the people, animals, and properties around the tree. A healthy and strong branch structure of a tree is encouraged when it is pruned within the first few years of planting. However, you can’t trim a tree any way you want. You will need to follow certain rules while trimming a tree, especially while trimming the larger branches. 

You will need to consider some things before starting the trimming work on a tree. You need to assess if the time is right for conducting the trimming and if it’s urgent to trim your tree. If your tree is storm-damaged, diseased, or dead, then you must trim it as soon as needed. Again, if you are going to trim a healthy and average branch, then it’s best to wait for winter. During winter, trees have a reserve of energy that helps them heal and grow again rapidly within a few weeks. Also, the trees remain free of leaves, so trimming them is easier. 

In this article, we will talk about how you can trim large branches safely and conveniently and which tools you will need to conduct the work.


Tools Needed for Tree Trimming

Your tool selection will depend on the thickness of the branches. If the branches are small and have diameters of less than an inch, then you can remove them easily by using loppers or bypass pruners. You can use a sharp bow saw or pruning saw to trim branches of medium size, which have diameters between 1-4 inches. And when it comes to large branches that have diameters of 4 inches or larger, you will need a chainsaw to trim them. 

Apart from a chainsaw, you will need to use some other essential gear, like-

  • Hard Hat
  • Work Gloves
  • Chainsaw Chaps
  • Safety Glasses
  • Non-Slip Boots or Work Shoes
  • Hearing Protection
  • Long Pants and Long Sleeve Shirt

How You Can Remove Large Tree Branches Safely

If the branch you are going to remove is large, it will be difficult for the tree to heal over. Since the size of the cut is bigger, more surface area will be potentially exposed to infection and insect infestation. Apart from this, these larger branches hold more foliage proportionally than the smaller branches, so it will have a greater impact on the growth rate and energy production of the tree if you cut the larger branches. It means the risk becomes greater, and the margin for error gets smaller when it comes to cutting large tree branches. 

Removing large branches is an integral part of tree management. The ultimate goal is to make a clean and smooth cut that will help the tree heal as soon as possible. You can trim large tree branches in just three steps. These three steps are-

Step 1: Notch Cut

AT first, you will need to make this partial cut at about 2 feet out from the tree’s trunk. Start cutting on the branch’s underside, and then cut a quarter upwards through the branch for creating the notch. The first cut or the notch cur severs the outer growth rings and the bark for preventing the branch from tearing and splitting when you will make the next cut, but the branch will still remain attached securely.

Step 2: Relief Cut

The next cut you’ll have to make after the notch cut is the relief cut. It will relieve most of the downward pressure that’s caused by the branch’s weight. To make this cut, you will have to start cutting at the upper side of the branch, which is placed a couple of inches past the notch, and then cut through the branch completely. After this, you will have only a short portion of the branch base remaining that’s sticking out from the trunk. 

Step 3: Final Cut

The remaining branch base that’s sticking from the cut will be removed cleanly with this final cut. For making this cut, you will need to locate the swollen area of the branch that has a rough bark, as it surrounds the connection point of the branch and the trunk. It’s also known as the branch collar. Then try making the cut across the branch collar’s top, and while doing so, be careful to follow the collar’s angle. Don’t cut directly into the branch collar, as it is going to produce callus that’s needed to heal the tree over the cut. It might be more convenient to cut from the bottom up in many cases. 

If you’re looking to trim large branches, the team at Atlas Tree can help! They have the tools and experience necessary to get the job done quickly and efficiently. 

Final Words

You will be able to safely and conveniently trim large tree branches by following these simple steps. You will need to get a chainsaw and other necessary equipment and start cutting the branches step by step. Soon all the large branches that are in need of trimming will be cut down safely. However, it’s always better to hire a professional arborist to do the trimming work for your trees, as they are highly trained in this matter. Also, it will save you a lot of time and hassle.


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