Despite the critical importance of trees to your property, we've found over the years that when it comes to trimming, the majority of homeowners (especially new ones) have no idea where to start.
The team at Steadfast Tree Care wants to make sure you can benefit from trees that are healthy, attractive, and present a low level of risk to your home, your family, and even the other trees on your property. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about tree trimming services near you, including why it's important to choose a tree trimming company with experience and expertise, no matter the size of the job.
Trimming a Tree: What Does It Mean?
While trees are plants — not unlike the others in your garden — people don't tend to look at them the same way, and it's not hard to see why. Unlike many of the annuals in your flower beds, you don't have to replant trees every year. You won't have to water most trees (except when they're very young), and it's easy to just take them for granted. They change with the seasons, but they're always going to be there, right?
But that's not always the case. Sure, mature trees are more resistant than your other plants, but they still need to be cared for in order to stay lively and strong for years. That's why trees are pruned. At its most basic, “trimming” or “pruning” means cutting the limbs and branches back for a variety of different purposes.
The Different Times When Tree Trimming or Pruning Is Needed
There are a few different times when a tree needs to be cut back — some are more noticeable than others. Let's start with a few of the more noticeable times:
When Limbs and Branches Are Becoming an Obstruction on Your Property
Depending on your place of residence, trees growing close to power lines may be something you need to worry about, or it may be handled by the city. However, when trees start to obstruct things on your property — most notably, the structure of your home — you'll certainly need professional help.
Tree branches and leaves that touch your house are generally not something you want to disregard. They'll keep growing and potentially cause damage to parts of your home. Trees that grow their limbs over a roof present the risk of falling on the home when damaged. In less severe cases, they may cause damage by dropping leaves and debris on the roof and clogging the gutters and rainwater systems.
When The Tree Starts to Look Overgrown
In this case, trees need to be groomed and shaped, by strategically shortening and cutting certain limbs and branches. Trees, of course, are always growing, so this type of “cosmetic” trimming needs to be done by experts with the experience to understand how to keep the tree looking great right after it's trimmed as well as a few years into the future. Because this type of pruning is intended to remove dead branches and overgrowth, it's commonly called “cleaning”.
There are also cases where you may not notice the need for trimming or other tree care.
When Something Is Threatening the Health of a Tree
In Virginia, like in all other regions of the world, there are diseases and pests that can threaten the livelihood of a tree. Generally, these affect one region of the tree at first and then spread into the rest and the surrounding trees, harming the viability of a variety of plant life on your property. The earlier they're detected, the better the chances to save the tree, at least in most cases. Here are a few examples:
The emerald ash borer is an insect that originated in Asia but has made its home in the Eastern half of the United States. Feeding on and eventually killing ash trees, emerald ash borers are difficult to detect until their damage has become substantial.
Oak wilt is a fungus that commonly affects trees in the oak family. It has been linked to improper pruning in some cases, highlighting a reason why hiring trusted professionals to handle tree trimming branches and limbs is the safest choice you can make when it comes to tree care.
When the Tree Becomes a Risk
As trees grow, they grow heavier in the upper limbs and canopy. Often, this isn't something you'll notice because the trunk gets stronger with age, but in some cases, this becomes a potential issue without you noticing.
In fact, the weakened structure of a tree is extremely difficult to detect before it's too late, meaning that it will be hard to identify the right time to have a tree pruned if you're not already planning on having it done on a regular basis. But, how often should that happen?
How Often Should You Have Your Trees Trimmed?
We hope it's clear by now that if you're not planning to have the trees on your property pruned on a regular basis, you may be opening yourself up to some risk. Most experts recommend an inspection every 3-5 years — this way, trained, certified, and licensed professionals can assess the health and safety of your trees, decide when they need to be pruned, and if needed, handle the process of trimming right then and there.
Can You Trim Your Trees on Your Own?
In some cases, technically, you can trim your own trees. But even you have the proper tree trimming tools, you won't be able to accomplish what a trained tree trimming company near you can in a safer, more thorough way:
You Won't Be Able to Detect Risk Factors
It takes a highly trained professional to detect the presence of insects, fungus, blights, or microorganisms that may be threatening your trees. You should have regular inspections, even if you don't think your trees are ready to be trimmed.
You Won't Know the Best Way to Prune Different Types of Trees
Different trees need different types of care at different times of the year, and trusting a trained professional to do the job gives you the assurance that you need to know that it will be done right.
For example, trees that flower earlier in the year are healthiest when pruned after flowering, while trees that flower later in the year should be trimmed in the late winter or early spring. Trimming trees in the fall can cause fungus — like oak wilt — to develop and spread.
Even Some Professionals Make Mistakes
Even among tree service companies, tree “topping” is a common practice. This is when trees are cut from the top-down, with little control or discrimination over where and what gets chopped off. Unless it's absolutely necessary, this is not the best way to handle a tree trimming job, and it may be harmful to the tree.
This example is meant to show that it's not always enough to hire a professional tree trimming and removal service near you — you need access to the best, most reliable option in your area.
How Much Does Tree Trimming Cost?
There's no easy answer for the question of how much a tree service company in your area will charge for trimming — it depends on the size of the job, the number of trees, and other factors. The best way to get started is with a free quote.