In the language of landscaping, “limbing up” means pruning back a tree’s low branches – a gentle operation that benefits the tree and the landscape. Large, limbed-up trees, such as oak, elm or poplar, look more polished, and help give any yard a park-like appeal.
When you remove branches that grow within 12 to 15 feet from the ground, you help the tree grow straight and tall, and the area under the tree becomes a cool puddle of shade. No more bumping your head when you rake or mow. Plus, you gain an enhanced view of your yard.
Limb Up Trees for a Better View:
- Consider safety first. You will be handling sharp tools, so keeping your feet firmly balanced on the ground is best. Wear safety goggles and gloves. When using a ladder, enlist a helper to prevent accidents.
- Cut branches to a ¼- to ½-inch stub, which is easier to do if you first prune off the branch a few inches from the trunk, and then go back to make your finished cut. The stub naturally protects the trunk from insects and diseases, so you don’t need to paint the pruning cut to keep the tree healthy.
- Use pruning loppers to remove small branches less than 1 inch in diameter. You will need a pruning saw to trim branches 1 to 3 inches across, with larger branches requiring a chain saw. For landscape maintenance tasks like limbing up trees, lightweight rechargeable chain saws are quiet, safe and easy to use.
- Prune off all limbs within 12 feet of the ground, as well as any limbs that are growing downward. As you work, prune accessible branches that are broken, diseased or overly crowded. When you’re finished, you should be able to walk under the tree without bending over.
Tip: Avoid the temptation to prune palms because they obtain nutrients from failing leaves. Wait until old leaves dry to brown to remove them. Despite the popularity of palm pruning, it does not improve the storm-resistance of the trees.
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