How To Minimize Damage If You Have To Trim Trees In Wet Weather

Posted on: 13 January 2021


In a perfect world, you would not trim a tree when it's wet outside. Moisture increases the risk of disease spread, being that most tree diseases are caused by moisture-loving bacteria and fungi. There is also more risk of the trimmers slipping and making jagged cuts, which can be hard for the tree to heal. But sometimes situations are not ideal. Maybe your schedule is tight, or perhaps you're leaving town in a few days—and your only option is to trim the tree in wet weather. Here are some tips to help you minimize damage and risk as you do so.

Start with really sharp shears.

This is not a time to struggle through with shears that are barely sharp enough to cut. With dull shears and moisture, you're sure to end up with torn, frayed branches instead of smooth cuts. Take your shears to a local hardware store or home improvement store for sharpening before you start trimming.

Dry off branches before making a cut.

Bring a few towels outside with you. Stick one in your belt loop or in your tool belt. Before you make a cut, use the towel to reach up and dry off the part of the branch where you'll be making the cut. This will minimize the slippage that occurs when you cut, and it will also help keep moisture from dripping into the fresh wound for a while.

Sanitize your shears before every cut.

On a dry day, you can get away with sanitizing your shears just before you start. But on a wet day, when there are moisture and mold spores everywhere, you need to sanitize more often. The easiest way to do this is to prepare a big bucket of bleach water. Pour a cup of bleach into a 5-gallon bucket, and fill it up the rest of the way with clean water. Before each cut, simply dip in your shears. The bleach will kill both bacteria and fungi, helping to thwart the spread of disease.

Only remove branches that you really need to remove.

This is not the time to give your tree a total makeover or to remove branches that aren't exactly where you want them. For now, just remove branches that are dead, dying, diseased or a threat in some way. Leave the less-essential trimming for a later date when it's not wet, even if that means waiting a year.

Trimming a tree in wet weather is not a great idea, but sometimes you don't have a choice. Utilize the tips above to minimize damage. In addition, contact a tree trimming service for more information.