Pruning vs Trimming Trees: The Differences Explained

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Pruning vs Trimming Trees: The Differences Explained

The oldest trees still alive started growing around the time the pyramids were built. Although most people don’t need the trees on their property to live that long, they do want them to live a healthy life.

One way to keep your trees healthy and looking their best is by pruning and trimming them. Many people use pruning vs trimming interchangeably, but they have different effects on trees.

We break down the differences between tree services in our guide below.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Tree pruning helps with your trees and shrubs’ overall health. When you prune a tree, you are getting rid of diseased or dead branches or shaping a tree to grow a specific way. 

This can help support the tree’s structure and make it more sturdy. A structurally sound tree has less of a chance of having weak branches that could break later on.

Pruning a tree is not only helpful for your tree, it can keep you safe when you are around it. If you neglect to prune a tree, any dead limbs could fall at any moment. A fallen tree branch can injure a person, your house, and even the power lines near you.

Pruning and Tree Heath

Pruning a tree can help keep your tree safe from pests and get your tree growing tall and strong. A dead or diseased branch that isn’t pruned can impact the rest of the tree if it isn’t taken care of.

Remember that less is more if you are taking on the tree pruning yourself. You can always prune more off a tree, but you can’t add a branch once it’s removed.

When pruning the tree’s crown, keep it on the fuller side. If you prune too much here, you could fatally injure your tree.

When to Prune Your Trees

Unless there is a broken branch emergency, it’s best to leave the pruning of your trees to the colder months. Trees with no leaves are dormant. This means you have a smaller chance of damaging the trees should your pruning go awry.

A dormant tree will lose less sap during the pruning process. Pruning during the fall or winter also means less of a chance for insect or fungus damage.

What Is Tree Trimming?

If left to their own devices, trees can become large, with branches that can grow out of control. Trimming a tree can fix that by thinning and shaping the branches so the tree has a better aesthetic. 

For example, you may want to thin the crown of your tree by getting rid of the smaller branches at the top. This type of tree trimming would let more light into your space.

An expert tree trimmer can shape a young tree as it grows to end up with a specific look. Refined trees can add value to your property as they look clean and balanced.

If you live by a lake or other beautiful location, chances are you will trim those trees for the sake of the view. When you cut the trees back, you’ll get to see more of the scenery around where you live.

Tree Trimming and Tree Health

Although tree trimming aims to improve the tree’s look, it has some health benefits too. When you trim a tree, often you let more light in. This can help the tree grow taller and stronger.

When you reduce the number of tree limbs, the tree can absorb more nutrients from the soil. Trimmed trees can grow stronger as a result.

When to Trim Your Trees

Like with pruning, it’s best to trim dormant trees. Tree trimming at the end of winter will give the freshly cut limbs a chance to start to heal. Trimming a leafless tree is also easier because you can see what you are doing without the foliage in the way.

Trimming a tree in the summer can invite unwanted disease and infection in your trees. If you are hoping to trim in the fall, you can disrupt the growing cycle of your trees.

You’ll only have to trim your trees once or twice a year at most. It’s a good idea to go out at the end of winter and survey your land to see which trees need maintenance.

Pruning and Trimming Equipment

You’ll need to gather several types of tools when it comes time to prune or trim your trees.

Lopping shears are shears with a long handle that you’ll need two hands to use. The long handle lets you put more force behind the cut. This leverage helps when removing thicker branches.

Hand shears are smaller shears that you can use with one hand. They are perfect for thinner branches that need removing.

If you need to remove very thick branches, make sure to have a saw handy. Both electric or hand saws will do the trick.

Pruning or trimming smaller trees is something you can usually do without incident. If you need to prune or trim a larger tree, you’ll need to call the experts in. It isn’t safe to be on a ladder or high in the trees without the knowledge and equipment to do so safely.

Pruning vs Trimming: What Is Better?

When it comes to pruning vs trimming your trees, both have their benefits. You can keep your trees healthy by pruning and looking their best by trimming.

It’s important to understand the types of trees you are working with and what equipment to use before starting. If you aren’t sure, call the experts in to help get the job done right.

Here at P’n’D Logging and Tree Service, our professionals can help you with any of your tree needs.

Contact us for your free estimate today!