DIY Hand Pruning Vs Professional Tree Pruning: Which One is Better for Your Yard?

Pruning your trees helps maintain their health, control their size and density, encourage future flowering, and give new life to older trees. Not doing so can result in property damage, disease, less-than-desirable yard appeal, and even potential bodily harm.

But which approach is better? Do-it-yourself hand pruning, or a full-on professional job? It depends on the answers to a few important questions.

Do You Have the Tools?

If you’re thinking that all you need to trim your yard is, say, a hatchet or a pair of sharp kitchen scissors, the answer to this question is decidedly “no.”  In order to avoid injuring your trees and shrubs, or making them more susceptible to disease and pests, you really need the proper tools. This includes hand pruners (both anvil and bypass), a pair of loppers, a pruning saw, and either hedge shears or motorized hedge trimmers.

Beyond this arsenal, you’ll need a cool, dry place in which to store your tools to prevent them from rusting or damage to the blades. And don’t forget equipment with which to clean them after each trimming, to prevent spreading bacteria or other diseases to fellow trees.

Do You Have the Time?

In general, pruning is best scheduled between the last winter freeze and consistently warming temperatures that indicate spring is coming before too much longer. You want to make sure you’re pruning after the risk of hard freeze damage has passed, but before your trees are gunning up for springtime blossoms. Depending on how many trees and shrubs you have in your yard, that could mean a lot of trimming all at once.

Keep in mind too though that there are several tree types that you won’t be able to trim at the same time. Oaks, elms, and ash all need to be trimmed later in the summer or early autumn to protect them from invading pests. Several other popular flowering shrubs (including the hydrangea and gardenia) actually respond better to an early autumn trim. This means, depending on your landscaping, you could find yourself doing quite a lot of pruning more than once a year.

Do You Have the Knowledge?

Crossed branches. Suckers. Branches that are turning inward, and those that are dead or dying — you need to be able to identify all of these by sight in order to avoid cutting a limb that still has good life in it. It’s also important to know the difference between cutting away enough to encourage balanced new growth, versus hacking off so much that your tree (and your yard appeal) suffers. You want to make sure you’re cutting back old growth, but leaving enough to provide adequate sunlight and moisture absorption for optimal health.

If all of this sounds like a bit much to juggle, we suggest you reach out to the professionals at Premier Tree Solutions. Our experts can oversee all aspects of tree maintenance (including cleaning up our tools), so that you don’t have to. Book an appointment with us online or speak to one of our friendly, helpful staff members by calling 404-252-6448.

What to Look for (and Avoid!) in a Legitimate Tree Removal Company

Early in the new year is a great time to assess a lot of lists, including your list of service providers. Who’s retired or moved to other areas, for example? Who do you know you need but haven’t reached out to yet? Who’s unfairly raised their prices or been doing a mediocre job that leaves you wondering if you should find a replacement?

If a tree removal or maintenance company is on that list, here are some things we recommend you look for when finding a new one.

License and Insurance

Just like driving a car, tree removal professionals need licenses that demonstrate they have the right education and the right equipment — so make sure your service has one. Certified arborists are even better, as they’ve received years of education and passed rigorous exams to demonstrate their knowledge.

Insurance is even more important, because without it, you’ll be liable for any damage that occurs on your property, whether to your home, vehicle, driveway, yard, or other trees. Go to great lengths to get written proof that they have all the required insurance (worker’s compensation, general liability, auto, umbrella), that it is up to date.

Proposals and People

Like a contractor for your home, a quality tree specialist will scope out a job ahead of time and provide you with a professional, detailed description of your desired project, including line itemed costs and estimated labor times. If the proposal provided leaves you with not more than a price to base your decision on, you could be left with an unexpected mess. Get everything that’s included in writing, and ask questions so that you’re clear on what will and won’t be done.

Similarly, a good tree company will provide you with good people. This means experts who specialize in tree maintenance, instead of jacks-of-all-trades who do a little landscaping or yard work here, maybe some fence installation and gutter cleaning there. Trees and shrubs are living beings that deserve the same professional care and attention we’d give to a pet or another loved one, so make sure they’re in qualified hands.

References and Reviews

If a company of any kind is hesitant to immediately produce a list of three or more people you can call as a reference, you may need to find someone else. Quality references of former (or better yet — current) clients or other professional business partners not only help establish credibility, but can help you verify the quality of their work and their approach to business.

Internet reviews can also be revealing, especially if you’re a discerning reader. Though five stars are great, be cautious of anyone who has only stellar ratings, as they may be manipulating their information. Instead of turning down someone because they have a low rating or two, read their response to the negative review. Did they apologize and work to correct the problem? Or lay blame on the customer? Checking for professional, courteous language and their tone can also tell you a lot about who you’ll be dealing with.

If you’re looking for a new relationship with tree service professionals, we invite you to check out the gallery of our team at work, read through our process, and call us directly at 404-252-6448 to have all your initial questions answered by our friendly staff. If you prefer to contact us online, we’ll be following up with you personally to get things started.