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Prune your trees for fire prevention and defensible space

Nov 13

It’s the start of a new season and you’re itching to get outside, but first, you need to get your trees pruned before the summer winds come in. Pruning keeps your trees healthy and creates an open canopy that doesn’t block your neighbors’ views or sunlight, which makes everyone happy. In addition, fall is the perfect time to prune any dead limbs from your trees; this will ensure fire prevention and defensible space, making it safer and more aesthetically pleasing for you and your neighbors should a wildfire occur in your area.

What Is Defensible Space?

Defensible space is the land around a home that is free of potential hazards, such as tall grass or shrubs, which could conceal an intruder. The purpose of this space is to allow time for a person to react and defend their property in the event of an emergency. By pruning tall tree branches, you create a wider perimeter around your house that may be more easily seen from within the home. It's important to ensure these branches are at least 10 feet above the ground and 20 feet away from any buildings on your property. Limbs should not extend over sidewalks, patios, decks, or other structures that are frequently occupied by people when they are outside. When removing dead wood on trees with low limbs, make sure it is located at least three feet away from buildings so there's enough clearance when these limbs fall during storms.

Purpose of Defensible Space

Defensible space is an important concept in wildfire prevention. Defensible Space is defined by the National Fire Protection Association as The area between a structure and its property line that provides a level of protection from natural hazards, such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes. It also includes any structures within that zone. The purpose of this zone is to slow down the spread of wildland fires, providing time to protect a structure if necessary and reduce damage to it from intense heat or radiant heat. A 30-foot zone around the home is recommended for single-family dwellings. A 20-foot zone is appropriate for multi-family dwellings. Tree trimming and pruning near me can help you create a fire-resistant buffer zone on your property with trees trimmed away from buildings at least 10 feet away. Some even recommend removing trees entirely within 100 yards of homes on an interface with brush or forest.

How to Trim Trees

There are many ways to trim trees, but here are 5 methods that will help keep your property safe from wildfires.

Ladder Trim  

This method is best for high branches because a ladder can be used to reach the branch. The branch should be trimmed back from the edge of the tree's canopy by at least one-third the length of the branch. 

Chain Saw Trim

A chain saw can be used to cut through limbs up to 3 in diameter. Carefully use the chain saw to cut off any overhanging limbs extending into an area where people or buildings might catch on fire if it catches on fire during dry conditions. 

Tree Pruner Trim

Use this type of trimmer if you don't have a ladder or chain saw available or if you need a more precise cut than either of those tools provides. Choose pruners with blades that match the size of the branch being trimmed. To make sure they're positioned correctly, hold them against the bottom part of the limb being trimmed before cutting. After cutting, make sure there is no stub remaining. If you do leave a stub, paint it green so it blends in with the rest of the tree. Next year when leaves fall, that green spot will decompose and release nutrients back into the soil around the base of your tree. 

Hand Saw Trim 

You'll want to use this method if your tree has very low branches and/or softwood. Use a hand saw to create cuts just outside the branch collar (the ring of rough bark where the branch meets the trunk). These cuts should be made vertically down each side of the branch.

Brush Hook Trim 

If you have a dense brush near your home, it could present a problem during dry conditions. Use a brush hook, which resembles scissors with a long handle attached to one end, to cut away branches as close as possible to the ground.

Tips For Properly Pruning Trees

Use appropriate tools  

Make sure you have the right tool to complete the job. Some trees may require a chainsaw, while others can be trimmed with clippers or loppers. The type of tool will depend on the size of the tree, what kind of plant material it's carrying (branches vs leaves), how thick the branches are, and whether you're trimming back or removing them entirely. 

Know what you're pruning

Consider why you want to prune a tree before you do anything else! Sometimes it makes more sense to remove dead wood from a healthy tree than it does to cut off branches from an unhealthy one. 

Inspect before cutting

 If possible, look at what's beneath the tree before you start cutting into it! You'll want to avoid any underground power lines or water pipes that could cause serious problems later on. Always keep safety in mind when working around trees and other vegetation. Keeping your property well maintained not only ensures that you won't need landscaping services in chandler az but also keeps your loved ones safe.