Todd Carmody, foreman at BBS Tree Experts in Kingston, Mass., says don't cut too close to the trunk when trimming. If the cut is too close, insects can invade and cause decay, he warns.
Trees may not need a trim as frequently as people, but they still need to be tended. Smaller shrubs should get an annual pruning, said Paul Newcomb, owner of Newcomb's Tree Service in Pembroke, Mass.
Taller trees might need trimming only once every four to five years, he said. Oak, maple, ash and hickory tend to see new growth more quickly, compared with conifer trees, such as pine.
It's time to take a lopper to your tree when you notice dead branches, new growth where you don't want it, or to maintain the tree's aesthetic shape, Newcomb said.
When trimming, don't cut too close to the trunk, said Todd Carmody, foreman at BBS Tree Experts in Kingston, Mass. “A cut wounds the tree, and the tree could get hurt,'' he said. If the cut is too close, insects can invade and cause decay.
An ideal cut is a half-inch from the trunk, Carmody said.
For a long time, tree experts believed cutting branches flush to the trunk was best. But many experts such as Carmody now believe flush cuts can lead to infection and decay.
There is no need to seal the wound with anything, Carmody said. The tree will heal on its own.
Though it is possible to trim your trees year-round, Newcomb said late winter is the ideal time to do it.
“When the tree is dormant is the best time, because it can take more abuse,'' he said.
Trimming requires the use of tools with sharp blades, so if you're going to do the pruning yourself, be sure to wear protective eyewear, cut-resistant chaps and gloves, Newcomb said.
If you decide to hire professionals, about $100 per man per hour, including equipment, is a typical rate, Newcomb said. A day job usually requires three men.
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