In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and certified arborist Matt Foti show how to trim back a wildly overgrown willow.
Steps for pruning a large tree
- Cut all the dead branches within reach using a pruning saw.
- Execute an offset cut to trim larger branches: Make an undercut first into underside of branch about 18 inches from the tree trunk.
- Then make a top cut about ½ inch beyond the undercut. Keep cutting until the branch falls to the ground.
- Now trim what remains of the branch by cutting close to the trunk, but not into the branch collar.
- Use a long-handled pole saw to trim branches that you can't reach with the pruning saw.
- Use a chainsaw to cut branches that are rubbing against other branches.
- Hire a professional arborist to trim branches that you can't reach from the ground.
- Cut small-diameter branches from the canopy with a snap-cut pruner. Trim them high enough to allow you to comfortably walk beneath the tree.