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3 things to know about pruning in the summer

Tree-trimming tips for using the right tools and making the right cuts.

A pair of hands pruning a bush

Winter is typically the best time for vigorous pruning because trees are dormant. But minor upkeep on a nice summer day can keep your landscaping in top shape. Follow these tree-trimming tips:

Use and maintain proper tools

  • Know which is which: a hand pruner is for stems and small branches, a lopper is for thicker branches, and a pruning saw cuts through extra-large branches.
  • Always wear work gloves to minimize cuts and scratches. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from sawdust and debris.
  • Clean tools after trimming each tree to prevent the spread of disease. Disinfect with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, then wash in warm, soapy water and rinse.

Trim with purpose

  • Snip stray branches on a tree that's finished flowering to encourage more blooms next season.
  • Thin out branches to help trees get sufficient light and air, but avoid trimming more than 25% of a tree's green leaves.
  • Remove dead branches to keep them from breaking off and damaging your home.
  • Trim ornamental trees to help them retain their shape.
  • Remove new shoots growing out of the trunk or branches. They can zap the tree's nutrients.

Make the right cuts

  • For large branches: Cut a wedge underneath the limb about six inches from the point where the branch meets the trunk (the branch collar). A few more inches out, cut vertically from the top of the limb through the branch, then cut the stub parallel to the collar.
  • Smaller branches and stems: With pruning shears, cut at a slight angle just past a healthy bud or leaf.

Get additional pruning tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Arbor Day Foundation, and more summer home maintenance advice from State Farm®.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


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