Nobody should attempt a serious tree pruning project like crown reduction or root pruning without sufficient knowledge and experience to know what to trim and why. Crown lifting procedures have the potential to kill or disfigure a tree if not done correctly, so at least consult with a more experienced arborist before you cut.
A couple of basic ground rules of crown reduction apply. First of all, you should never remove branches above the one-third mark of a tree's height. Crown cleaning too high can seriously damage a tree. Second, if a branch is too big, too high, or poses a danger to a structure like a roof or power line, it's a job best left to the professionals. If you're not completely comfortable with any aspect of the project, don't get in over your head.
When you're making a cut, it's important to employ the natural target pruning technique. This tree-trimming technique protects the branch collar and trunk of the tree from bark stripping and structural trauma.
Start out by making a small cut about a quarter of the way through the underside of the branch (far enough away from the base to prevent the bark from stripping.) Next, cut all the way through the branch about an inch above the first, severing all but a few inches of the branch. Finally make a finishing cut from the uppermost point where the branch connects to the tree at a 30 to 45-degree angle.
Doing your own tree maintenance is a serious project that shouldn't be taken lightly. Even more delicate than crown cleaning is root pruning, which is done to prepare a tree for transplant or to keep its roots from growing beneath a path or retaining wall. If done correctly, root pruning can actually be very healthy, allowing a concentrated cluster of finer roots to replace larger tap roots (which are less efficient at gathering nutrients for the tree.)
Use a spade. Never trim back the roots of a tree beyond its circumference, and try to time the pruning to when the tree is dormant and not experiencing a lot of new growth. If you're planning to transplant the tree, give it a few months to recover before beginning the transplant process.
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