Tree-Trimming Tips for a Safe Winter

| 10/7/2016 11:51:00 AM

Megan WildWinter is coming. That means big changes for the citizens of Westeros — Game of Thrones shout out! — and for your home. As a homeowner, you should have a winter preparation checklist. Along with inspecting your furnace, replacing your air filters, and cleaning out the rain gutters, you should also consider tree trimming. All it will take is one ice storm or heavy rain to turn a docile maple tree into a fierce, destructive force. Before that can happen, you should trim.

Trimming vs. Pruning

Is trimming pruning and is pruning trimming? A good way to think about the difference is that pruning is meant to protect the tree, while trimming is meant to protect your property. You can always prune dead branches, but if you're looking to reshape a tree by pruning, then you should wait until after fall. That is the time of year when the "wounding" takes a bit longer to heal. Your tree is already going through a lot by shedding all those leaves. It might be best to give it a break. As for trimming overgrowth, that can be done any time of year, but is best before the temperature drops.

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Source: Unsplash

Survey the Situation

Before you start trimming, you need to do a thorough survey of the tree and surrounding areas. Are power lines close or running through the tree? What is the weather like on your workday? If there is any chance of rain, strong winds, or other weather issues, it would be best to postpone the trimming. You should also step back from the tree to see how your trimming might impact the aesthetic. If you're protecting your roof or a power line, how your tree will look post-trimming might not be a primary concern. You should still consider the shape you're going to leave behind with any trimming project.

Protect the Drop Zone

As you climb up to trim a tree, you won't necessarily be keeping an eye on the ground. In fact, you shouldn't. That is why it is important to cordon off your drop zone. This is the area where your falling branches will land. A curious child could walk right up underneath where you're cutting. They can be stopped if you have traffic cones or tape surrounding your drop zone.

Work With a Trimming Buddy

If elevation is involved in your tree trimming, then you would be well advised to work with a tree-trimming buddy. This is someone who can stay on the ground while you're making the cuts up above. They can keep the area clear and help steady a ladder. They will also be a huge benefit in the event something goes awry.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

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