See all our prevention tips

How to take care of your trees, from pruning to felling

Published on September 28, 2022


Tree care starts with some pruning to encourage new growth.

Healthy trees can better withstand anything Mother Nature throws at them: wind, severe thunderstorms, blizzards, hail, etc.

You’ll kill two birds with one stone as you can minimize the risk of them causing damage to property or buildings.

Some green thumb basics

Not everyone is cut out to be a master gardener. Still, it’s a good idea to have some gardening basics under your belt and do your homework before pruning any trees. A little know-how can go a long way toward keeping your trees healthy. You’ll be able to identify different care options your trees may require, from pruning to felling.


Pruning is necessary to maintain a tree’s health and promote its growth. Dead or diseased branches, pest-injured or overgrown ones need to be cut.

This isn’t some random selection process at play and often requires help from a professional who knows what they’re doing.

Besides being up to date on what guidelines to follow regarding the amount to cut and technique to use, you should also pay attention to the timing. The ideal time to prune a tree varies depending on the species and desired goal.

If your cut is less than 20% of a tree’s leaf mass per year, you can go ahead and prune from spring to fall without any problem. Only exception to the rule: fruit trees. The recommended time to prune them is usually at the start of the spring. That should result in an abundance of fruit due to the sap reserve.

Avoid topping your trees, the process of shortening a tree’s height by lopping off the top. This extreme cut threatens your trees’ health because:

  • Removing a significant quantity of leaves negatively affects photosynthesis.
  • Lack of shade can cause burns.
  • A cut lays out the welcome mat for insects and disease.
  • New branches tend to grow weakly.

Before staging your own version of the Texas chainsaw massacre, check if your municipality requires a permit. Some of them consider this type of pruning to fall under illegal felling if no permit was obtained beforehand.


Often confused with pruning, trimming is associated with human and safety priorities rather than with preservation of vegetation. As an example, a tree needs to be trimmed if it grows too close to electrical wires or a building.

Cutting a significant amount off may come at the expense of the tree’s health.


The only option sometimes is to cut down a tree. Ask your municipality for more information. You may need a permit to do the work. A permit is usually issued for the following reasons:

  • Your tree is in decline, dead or dangerous.
  • Your tree is infested or sick and could contaminate healthy trees in the neighbourhood.
  • Your tree is infringing on the growth of others.
  • Your tree is in the way of construction, work or development for which a permit has been issued


Cutting down your tree is only part of the job. The other part involves getting rid of the stump.

Stump removal is a step you should not overlook for many reasons:

  • Roots keep on spreading. They can infiltrate your property and harm the foundation and other buildings.
  • The stump still receives water and nutrients. In other words, the tree keeps growing.
  • The stump is prone to fungus or disease. Healthy trees nearby could be next on the chopping block.

So, it’s win-win when you uproot your tree, no more stump and more space opens up on your property.


An eco-friendly action, chipping involves turning tree waste into wood chips after pruning, trimming or felling.

These wood chips are then sent to a composting facility.

Beware of work near power lines!

Is your tree less than three metres from a live power line? Any pruning or felling work must be done by a utility company or by a recognized tree care professional.

Put the ladder and chainsaw back in the shed and leave the job to the professionals.

Stick to what you know

It's recommended to deal with a specialized company when it comes time to trim your trees. They have all the necessary equipment, no matter the type of job they’re hired to do to care for your trees. This equipment goes hand in hand with the know-how to safely operate these machines.

Rely on their professional skills. They’ll be able to advise you about the best techniques to maintain your trees.

They also have insurance to cover incidents that happen to you or your neighbours, like falls, injuries or even damage to buildings.

If you neglect to maintain your trees

As an owner, you are responsible for maintaining the trees on your property. Weak or damaged trees can indeed cause significant damage to your place or the one next door.

Damage caused by your trees is generally covered by your home insurance. To be eligible, you must maintain them as proof of negligence could affect your claim.

Talk to our brokerto cross all of your T’s and dot all of your I’s.