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Sandra Novoa, MMC
Public Records Custodian
Town of Surfside
9293 Harding Avenue
Surfside, FL 33154
Telephone: 305-861-4863
Fax: 305-861-1302

Under Florida Law, e-mail addresses
are public records. If you do not want your
email address released in response to a
public records request, do not send
electronic mail to this entity.
 Instead, contact this office
by phone or in writing.

Trimming Trees Appropriately
Trimming Trees Appropriately
Take pride in keeping your Surfside property’s appearance.  Creating a healthy tree canopy is not only instrumental in keeping a safe and beautiful environment but also beautifies your home and the Town. Sometimes, residents do not make this connection or realize all of the many benefits trees have, like providing shade that cover the roof of homes, that in turn, creates a cooler ambiance, up to 20 degrees less on the roof of homes and thus reducing the usage of the A/C. Trees play a critical role, assisting to alleviate  global warming and flooding.

While it is important to trim your trees, it should be done appropriately.   When trimming is not properly executed, it may harm the trees health, stability and overall appearance.  The benefits of appropriate trimming reduces the risk of branch and stem breakage, provides for better clearance for vehicles, homes and power lines, should improve the health and appearance of trees, enhance views and increase flowering.  Excessive over-trimming, also known as Topping or Hat-Racking.  A professional arborist should be consulted if you are inexperienced in this area, or if you have any doubts on how to proceed.

Here are some tips on how to properly trim:
1. Always make cuts on the outside of the branch collar to avoid increasing the risk of decay. Do not leave branch stubs, living or dead. Use sharp tools designated for trimming and always wear safety equipment.
2. Homeowners should never climb a tree to trim or to attempt to trim tree limbs near overhanging power lines.
3. Never remove more than 25% of a trees canopy in a single trimming.

Trim for strength by removing:
1. Co-dominant leaders to encourage the growth of one man single “central” leader.
2. Injured, diseased, rubbing and dead branches.

Trim for form by removing:
1. Excess lateral branches to produce a ladder at maturity
2. Water sprouts and root suckers.
3. Limbs that turn inward, cross or extend.

Trimming methods to avoid:
Topping, Hat Racking and Excessive Lifting
1. Topping or Hat Racking a tree causes excessive sprouting of weakly attached new branches, and increases wind resistance by creating denser branching patterns.
2. Excessive lifting creates a condition where trees become top-heavy.
3. Both of these methods of trimming increase the chance of wind damage in the long run and should be avoided.

Proper Tree Trimming
1. Regularly scheduled tree trimming will improve the trees health, growth, and will improve fruiting, flowering and overall appearance.
2. Take a look at the tree that is going to be trimmed. Try to imagine what you want it to look like when it becomes larger. Remember that tree limbs increase in diameter and length but will not move up with the trunk as the tree matures.
3. Trees should be trimmed for the first time between two to five years after it has been planted. Inspect for trimming needs every five to seven years afterwards. Bear in mind, younger trees require more trimming than older mature trees.