Four D’s of Tree Trimming

Why Trim A Tree – The Four Ds of Tree Trimming

ArborScape focuses on tree trimming for the health of your trees and uses the four Ds: Dead, Dying, Damage, and Disease. The objective ‘weak’ is also a reason to consider the service.

Let’s investigate these five reasons for tree trimming. That way, you know when to consider pruning services on your property:


If you have a dead tree or parts of it are dead, tree trimming is crucial. You may think it doesn’t matter because it’s already gone and can’t be saved. However, you must remove the deadwood before it falls or flies around during a storm.

When you don’t trim dead trees, the limbs and branches could break off during high winds and damage your home or things on the property.

Many times, arborists trim dead branches to promote more healthy growth. Sometimes, the dead branch gets entangled with live parts of the tree, causing them to become damaged or diseased with time.


Tree trimming is crucial for dying branches and trees, as well. That is true for young trees and more mature ones. Typically, you want to trim the tree a few years after planting to help it develop a sturdy branch structure and reduce the risk of death or damage.

You may not realize it but chopping off that dead limb can help your tree immensely. The other branches can grow even when you cut away the dying parts.

That dead branch is still trying to get nutrients to heal itself, even though it can’t. That could cause the other limbs to start dying because they can’t get the nutrition necessary.

Some people think they should wait until the branch is fully dead. However, that often leads to more problems down the road. That limb isn’t doing its job, so the rest of the tree must take up the slack. This can lead to disease, damage to other tree areas, and even death to the tree itself.


There are five types of damage to trees, including:

  • Blow-over – Your tree gets pushed over by the high winds of a storm. There’s little that can be done here.
  • Crown twist – The tree crowns are the leaves, branches, and twigs. Though trees aren’t perfectly symmetrical, they often grow well with routine tree trimming. If the wind blows on one side more than the other, it could twist the branches, creating weaknesses and collapse.
  • Stem failure – Trees can’t heal their own wounds, though they may grow over them and seal them. Therefore, the tree carries each injury in its wood. Those injury sites are weaker, making the new wood around them more vulnerable. Such damaged areas could cause the tree trunk to break.
  • Branch failure – Branches can often break during high winds. However, the limbs stay strong and don’t become diseased or damaged over time with routine tree trimming.
  • Root failure – Each tree has absorbing and structural roots. Absorbing roots are weak and have larger surface areas, while structural roots are stronger and smaller. Tree trimming ensures that the roots have the nutrients necessary to keep the tree upright.


Damaged and dead parts of a tree are access points for disease. Therefore, tree trimming works best when you’re at that stage to prevent infection. However, if you notice that your tree seems ill, you can prune those areas to promote new and healthy growth.

It’s often easy to see the disease because of wilted leaves or branches with no bark. However, you may not notice the issue and should call an arborist to determine if the tree is diseased or not.

Objective Weak

Though objective weak trees aren’t considered part of the four Ds, it’s something that arborists take into account. This means that the overall tree appears weak and could fall over during a storm or become diseased if things don’t improve.

Tree trimming for weak branches can include removing:

  • Thin growth
  • Wayward branches
  • Suckers (the stems growing up the roots)
  • Water sprouts

This can improve the shape of your tree, increase the sunshine and air amounts in the canopy, and promote more growth.


Tree trimming using the four Ds is a great way to promote healthy growth. When you remove the dead, dying, damaged, and diseased branches and limbs, you’re allowing the tree to get the right nutrients to grow strong and tall.

Let ArborScape help! Call for assistance, today!


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