What’s the Difference Between Tree Pruning and Tree Trimming?

Date May 19, 2022


Author TreeNewal Staff

When it comes to taking care of your trees, there are two main tasks that you need to perform: pruning and trimming. Many people confuse the two, but they are actually quite different. In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between tree pruning and tree trimming and explain both why it matters for the health of your trees and why it is important to know the difference.

What Is Tree Trimming?

Tree trimming is the process of removing tree parts for reasons other than the health of the tree. This is usually done to improve the tree’s appearance and functionality within the landscape. Trimming is most often used to maintain the overall size or shape of a tree or shrub or to increase light to the lawn.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Tree pruning can include the same objectives as trimming but also includes the health of the tree. Carefully and strategically cutting back live branches to improve tree structure, cleaning deadwood for health and safety, or removing diseased branches are all good examples of pruning. This helps trees establish a strong structure for growth and keeps them looking their best. The frequency depends on objectives, expectations of the client, and the location and type of tree, but most trees will need to be pruned every one to three years.

Tree pruning is a more complex task than tree trimming and should only be performed by a qualified arborist.

Is Tree Pruning a Good Idea?

Pruning is very beneficial for the health of your trees. Pruning helps to encourage new growth and can also help to shape the tree. Additionally, pruning can help to remove any hazardous branches before they have a chance to fall and cause damage.

Pruning stimulates new growth. It also increases air circulation and sunlight penetration to the center of the tree. These things help to make trees healthier and less susceptible to disease and pests. Without pruning, trees can become overcrowded and unhealthy.

The Differences Between Pruning and Trimming

The biggest difference between tree pruning and tree trimming is the objective. Tree pruning involves the removal of live branches, as well as dead, diseased, and damaged branches for the health of the tree, while tree trimming only involves the removal of branches that interfere in some way. Tree pruning is a more complex task that requires a higher level of skill than tree trimming. As such, it is important to only have tree pruning performed by a qualified ISA-Certified Arborist.

Why Does the Difference Matter?

It’s important to know the difference between tree pruning and tree trimming because each task serves a different purpose. Tree trimming is mostly for aesthetic reasons, while tree pruning is more for the health of the tree. If you only ever trim your trees, they may eventually become overgrown and unhealthy. On the other hand, if you only ever prune your trees, they may not grow as full or as lush as you would like. The best way to keep your trees healthy and looking their best is to perform both tree trimming and tree pruning on a regular basis.

What Kinds of Tools Are Needed to Prune or Trim?

You can trim most trees with a good pair of pruning shears. For larger branches, you may need to use a saw. When it comes to pruning, you will need a variety of different tools, depending on the size and type of tree that’s being worked on. It’s always best to consult with an arborist before pruning any tree, as they will be able to recommend the best tools and techniques for the job.

How to Know Whether You Need Tree Trimming or Tree Pruning

The general rule of thumb is that

  • tree trimming is mostly for aesthetic reasons, and
  • tree pruning is more for the health of the tree.

If you’re not sure whether your tree needs to be trimmed or pruned, the best and safest thing to do is to consult with the qualified ISA-Certified Arborists at TreeNewal. They will be able to assess the health of your tree and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, trees will need both trimming and pruning on a regular basis in order to stay healthy and look their best.


To learn more about What’s the Difference Between Tree Pruning and Tree Trimming? Why Does It Matter?, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at (817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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