Tree Branches Jutting Into Your Backyard? Here’s How to Prune Them

Do you have pesky tree branches in your apartment’s backyard? Then you might want to remove them. Reasons to remove them include the presence of dying tree branches, the potential for property damage, or eliminating pollen sources.

However, if you’ve never trimmed tree branches in your apartment’s backyard, you might not know where to start. With these tips, you’ll know exactly what you need to do – and how to do it safely without getting on your neighbors’ bad side. Tree Branches Jutting Into Your Backyard Here's How to Prune Them

Have you checked your lease?

Before doing anything to the tree in question, it’s good to know if you’re allowed to trim it. Check your lease to see whether the tree is your landlord’s responsibility. If it is indeed your landlord or leasing office’s responsibility, you should let them know about the unwanted tree branches. If it’s your responsibility, you may be able to trim your branches if you follow just a few basic rules.

Where is the tree growing from?

Before you take out your pruning shears, you’ll need to assess who owns the tree. If the tree is in your neighbor’s yard, your neighbor is the legal owner of the tree. In that case, you must ask your neighbor if they can trim the tree or ask for permission to do it yourself. 

If your neighbor or their landlord doesn’t trim the tree, you do have the right to trim any branches that hang over your yard, but you can’t trim parts of the tree beyond your property. In other words, you can trim your neighbor’s branches yourself, as long as you cut branches only on your property line. If you trim your neighbor’s tree, it’s important to make sure the tree’s structural integrity and overall appearance aren’t greatly affected. 

Is there a best time of year to prune a tree?

The best time to prune a tree, ideally with sharp tree pruners, is late fall and early winter when a tree has bare leaves. This way, you’ll have an easier time seeing which branches you need to remove. However, you should prune away dying or diseased branches whenever you notice them, as waiting to remove them can cause further tree damage. 

How can you avoid unsafe pruning situations?

To stay safe, work carefully and wear thick protective gloves and eyewear. With your protective gear on, you should slowly remove the tree’s small and medium-sized branches. If you want to trim a tree branch, you should trim it inside the branch’s node. To play it safe, it’s best to hire an arborist to remove large branches.

What should you do with the cut-off branches?

You might think you can compost your cut-off branches, but it’s best not to do so with large branches or twigs because they take a long time to decompose. However, if you can access a wood chipper, you can use the wood chippings as compost. Leaves, however, are generally compostable.

Will you be trimming tree branches in your backyard, or would you prefer to hire an arborist? Share your thoughts below!

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