Pruning, trimming, or lopping trees often needs to be done in order to protect your property and the tree itself. Branches that are too heavy can crack and fall; if they're located over wires, a garage, or your house, they can then easily cause damage. Trees that aren't getting enough water and sunlight to support their branches can also get choked and eventually wither away. If you want to handle your own tree lopping, note a few mistakes that many homeowners make so you can avoid them yourself, or decide if a professional service is the better option.

1. Not leaving a stub

When lopping a tree branch, you always want to leave a healthy stub of the branch even if you don't necessarily want the branch to grow back. This is because trees get water, sunlight, and other nourishment, not just from their roots, but from their branches. Cutting or lopping a branch too close to the trunk means cutting off a tree's supply of nutrients. You may see your tree soon wither and dry up when you cut branches too close to the trunk, so always leave a good-sized stub when cutting them.

2. Just clipping the ends

Trimming just the ends of branches may not remove enough of their weight to keep them from falling away from the tree if those branches are diseased and decayed. You need to lop the tree branch behind the decayed area, and this decay may be inside where you can't see it. When a branch has decayed or is dead, trim the entire branch off and not just the end so that decay doesn't spread inside the branch and damage the tree trunk.

3. Trimming too much

Taking away too many branches can mean leaving the tree trunk exposed to too much sunlight and cutting off too much of its supply of nutrients, as mentioned above. While you may need to cut a certain number of branches to protect your home or wires under the tree, it's often better to trim the least number of branches needed and then wait until next year to trim any more. This allows the lopped branches to get strong and healthy again before you trim more away from the tree. In turn, you won't damage the tree itself from cutting too much and will have a healthy and strong tree that's always getting the nourishment it needs.