Guide to Trim Excessive Trees and Branches

Trees growing on your property offer appealing levels to your landscape, energy-saving shade, and homes for a variety of wildlife. While beneficial and beautiful, trees grow quickly and their branches can quickly take over an area and cause problems for you and your yard.

Unruly tree branches have the potential to bring down power lines, damage your roof or siding, and even injure you or your neighbors. To keep your trees healthy and your property safe, it’s important to properly trim them and their branches.

This post will act as a guide to properly trimming your trees and branches to keep your yard looking great and your property safe. Paired with the experts at Northside Tool Rental, this job can be handled on your own as an outdoor weekend project.

Why Should You Trim Your Trees?

In addition to keeping your landscaping looking its best and keeping everyone safe, there are many other benefits to tree trimming. Trimming a tree influences the way the tree grows. The tree’s structural integrity is protected when the branches are properly trimmed to grow in a beneficial pattern. When excessive branches aren’t weighing down a tree’s structure, there are fewer broken limbs and falling branches. 

When Is the Best Time to Trim Your Trees?

The ideal time for tree trimming is the late fall or winter, during the dormant season. While dormant, or not actively growing, trees are less susceptible to potential damage from trimming. Trees can experience stress, and removing branches does damage the tree. Trimming during dormancy reduces the damage and encourages healthy growth.

What You’ll Need


Electric or manual pole saw



Safety glasses

Tips Before You Start

  1. Locate the branch collar

            A. This is the area where the branch is coming out of the tree

                  – Look for a circle, ridge, or an area where the bark is thicker

           B. Making the cut outside of the collar will ensure proper healing to prevent possible rotting

      2. Make your cuts at a downward angle

     3. Do not trim branches that are growing straight up

     4. Do not leave long branch stubs. Trim as closely to the trunk as possible.

Steps to Properly Trim Trees and Branches

  • Trim off suckers growing at the base of the trunk
    1. Also called offshoots, these are weak growths on a tree that will never form into proper branches. They suck energy and nutrients from the tree and should be removed to allow the nutrients to get to the healthy growth.
  • Remove dead or dying branches
    1. Use your Electric or Gas Pole Chain Saw to remove any branches that are dead or dying first. Removing these branches will help with the overall shaping of the tree and show you where to focus your trimming next.
  • Trim unwanted or dangerous branches
    1. Next, remove any branches that pose a threat to people or your property. Anything low-lying or close to your house or driveway should be removed to protect your family, neighbors, and property.
    2. You may want to utilize a manual Pole Pruner and Saw for this step for better control and slower cutting speed.
  • Remove any weakened or damaged branches
    1. Storms and wind can damage or weaken branches without killing them. Carefully trim these branches, taking care not to kill the area. These weakened branches are susceptible to water or pest infiltration.
  • Trim overlapping branches
    1. Now that the tree is mostly cleaned up, it’s easier to identify branches that are rubbing against each other. This friction can damage branches over time, so make sure the healthy growth has plenty of room. 

Final Tips

  • Start small: You can start with the first few steps and add the next the following season. You don’t want to over-trim!
  • Take care with large branches: Only remove large branches if they are damaged, diseased, dead, or causing a direct hazard.
  • Step back and look: After each step, look at the progress of your trimming to make sure your tree isn’t looking lopsided or uneven.
  • Keep it under ¼: Only trim your ¼ of a tree at a time. If more trimming is needed, wait until the following season to continue to protect your tree.


Now is the perfect time of year to begin planning your tree-trimming projects. Northside Tool Rental has everything you need to get your yard looking its best this season and next. Contact one of our experts today to find everything you need for your project. Let us provide the equipment so you can be a DIY expert in no time. We have convenient locations in Marietta, Gwinnett, Doraville, and Buckhead. Call us at 404-233-6722 to get your project started today.