By Gene and Katie Hamilton
To improve the overall health and appearance of trees and shrubs, give them a good pruning and thinning. Just as we go to a hair stylist for shaping and styling, trees and shrubbery need that same attention to enhance their size and shape. You'll get the best advice about when to prune from a local lawn and garden center. They can tell you the most advantageous time to prune and thin specific trees and plants native to your area.
If you hire a landscape service to prune and groom a small tree and a couple of bushes, you can expect to pay $95 for the job, which includes labor and material. If you have a pair of pruning shears and loppers, you can do the job. Even figuring the cost of shears and loppers, which will run about $45, you'll save 52 percent on the first pruning project. Then you will have the tools and the next job won't cost you anything.
A pruning shear, also called a hand-held snipper, is the tool of choice for cutting away excess or dried ends of woody plants and shrubs. The tool's convenient size makes it easy to maneuver in the tight confines of an overgrown bush or shrub. The more heavy-duty long handles of a pair of loppers produce a strong cutting force at the blade so they ease the job of trimming and cutting heavy branches. Switch to loppers when pruning shears can't penetrate a thick branch. Each tool has its strengths, and when you use them together they'll get the job done year in and year out.
Here's advice from Precision Landscape andTree 5 Must Have Pruning Tools.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to prune trees and shrubs with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2018
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.