Pruning vs. Trimming: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to pruning vs. trimming, is there a difference? The short answer is, yes, although the difference is subtle. In this article, Empire Tree Experts, who offer trusted tree trimming in Santa Rosa, CA, explain more. 

pruning vs trimming

What is Trimming? 

Trimming refers to aesthetic cuts that change the tree’s shape and promote healthy growth. You might trim your tree or shrub to make it more symmetrical or remove untidy branches. Professional trimming and pruning services often remove excess green shoots to promote stronger growth.

What is Pruning?

Pruning trees goes beyond simple maintenance in removing dead or diseased limbs. Professionals may also refer to pruning during the process of removing roots. The reason for pruning is to preserve tree health rather than to improve its shape. 

You should remove dead or damaged branches so that the tree can focus on new growth. You may also prune your tree to improve fruit production and keep excessive new shoots in check. 

When it comes to pruning vs. trimming, think of pruning as a surgical procedure that’s essential for the tree’s health. While trimming can also improve health, its primary purpose is cosmetic. 

What Equipment Do You Use? 

You can use the same equipment for either task. However, professionals usually use lopping shears or saws to cut through branches. With trimming, they use saws or trimmers to get quick results. 

Whatever tools you use, you need to make sure that they are clean and sharp. It’s worthwhile to clean the blades before you start to reduce the chances of a bacterial infection setting in. 

Using sharp tools not only speeds up the process but also leaves cleaner cuts. The cleaner the cut, the easier it is for the tree to heal. 

When Do You Trim or Prune Your Trees and Shrubs? 

As trimming is a cosmetic procedure, it’s best to work when the tree is dormant. In the cooler months, there are fewer pests and diseases that can enter the wound. By trimming during winter, you also give the tree plenty of time to recover before the spring growing season starts. 

Pruning may be necessary year-round due to storm damage and other injuries your tree sustains. While it’s better to prune during the dormant season, this isn’t always possible. 

You would generally trim or prune your trees once a year or every other year. However, once the tree takes on a pleasing shape, you may only need to prune it to remove dead wood. 

Should You Trim or Prune? 

The answer is not as complicated as you might think. The techniques in both cases are much the same, so it boils down to the time of year and your goals. If you are unsure, consult a professional arborist. 

Contact California’s Tree Specialists Today!

Now that you understand pruning vs. trimming, what other help do you need? Are branches falling off your tree, or do you have other issues? Call Empire Tree Experts at (707) 521-2151 to schedule a visit from one of our arborists.

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