The Top Tree Trimming Mistakes to Avoid in Dallas This Spring: Expert Advice from Arborists

Date May 05, 2023

Author TreeNewal Staff

Annual trimming can help the trees on your property thrive. Done properly, tree trimming encourages healthy new growth and improves the tree’s appearance and integrity. Improper trimming, however, can have the opposite effect, damaging the tree’s structure. It can also pose safety risks and result in expensive repairs. In this article, we highlight the top six trimming mistakes to avoid this spring.

Using Improper Tools

The right tools can make tree pruning much safer and easier. Property owners should use high-quality pruning shears with sharp blades. Dull blades can damage the tree and create rough cuts that put the tree at risk of disease. Homeowners should also avoid using hedge clippers intended for smaller plants and shrubs.

Trimming Too Much Off the Bottom

Pruning a tree’s lower branches can remove unsightly limbs and increase clearance for people and vehicles. Removing too many lower branches, however, can make the tree less structurally secure and, during hot weather, cause sunscald damage. We recommend only trimming branches below the lower third of the tree. So with a 30-foot tree, property owners can remove the limbs growing lower than 10 feet.

Trimming Too Much Off the Top

Image via Flickr by photosofdelilah

Some property owners trim the branches at the top of a tree to control its height. This practice — called topping — can damage a tree significantly. It encourages weak branches to grow rapidly at the tree’s top. Topping can also impair the tree’s food production and put it at risk of developing disease. We recommend avoiding trimming the top of trees if possible.


Property owners should only prune dead or weak branches from trees. Removing too many healthy limbs can make a tree unstable and vulnerable to wind damage. Overpruning can also affect its ability to photosynthesize and produce food. The result is often an unhealthy, diseased, or stressed tree. Property owners should also aim to maintain the tree’s natural shape when removing branches.

Using the Wrong Cut

When removing branches, homeowners sometimes cut the branch off at the base, so it’s flush with the tree’s trunk. This practice is known as a flush cut, and it can leave trees vulnerable to disease, pests, and damage. Instead, we recommend using a collar cut, which leaves the base of the branch where it joins with the tree.

Not Staying Safe

Tree trimming can be a hazardous task that’s often best left to trained professionals. Property owners who decide to tackle basic pruning themselves can stay safe by wearing safety equipment, such as a hard hat, and avoiding climbing to the top of a ladder to reach high limbs. In addition, never trim branches within 10 feet of electrical wires or power lines.
Improper pruning can cause permanent damage to trees and pose safety risks to humans. By following our advice, however, property owners in and around Dallas, Texas, can care for their trees properly. If you’d rather leave the tree trimming to the experts, contact our certified arborists at TreeNewal. We can help maintain healthy and vibrant trees of all species.