Tree Trimming vs Pruning: Is There a Difference?

Properly kept trees look appealing and neat. However, most people don’t realize that there’s a difference between trimming and pruning, both of which can be harmful to a tree’s health if done incorrectly and at the wrong time.

While taking care of the health of your tree may seem like a daunting task, maintaining your tree so that it grows to its fullest potential can be simple once you know how trees prefer to grow, and what they need to remain strong.

Here we will cover everything you need to know about trimming vs pruning, how and when a tree should get cut back, and the benefits of properly maintaining your tree. 

Tree Trimming Vs Pruning

Keeping your tree free of dead, crossing, or hazardous branches will keep your tree not only growing healthier but will keep you and the surrounding area safe from falling branches. 

Arborists are able to determine what type of need your tree has, and how to go about executing it. Every tree is different, which means that its trimming and pruning needs will vary with the type of wood and seasonal changes it undergoes. 

Tree Trimming

Trimming trees can encourage bushier growth, which is a positive thing when the tree is leggy or growing in an odd shape. Much like bushes, trimming trees often entails taking off just a slight amount of growth.

Trimming trees can also require clearing away smaller dead branches that are getting in the way of the growth of healthy branches. 

You can get your tree trimmed at any time of the year when there is a need for it. This is because trimming doesn’t interfere with the normal growth of the tree

Tree Pruning

Tree pruning is usually done once a year and should be handled carefully with the proper equipment. Pruning trees is often optimal in the winter when the tree is dormant and isn’t expending energy on growing.

You should only prune your tree when branches pose a risk to the safety of the community or are impeding the growth of other more important branches. 

Trees should only be pruned back to what is necessary. Pruning more than 20% of the branches can cause the tree’s growth the become stunted which can cause it to die early. Improper pruning can also allow disease and pests to find their way into the tree and infect it. 

The Benefits of Trimming and Pruning

When trimming and pruning are done right it can promote trees to grow healthier than trees that don’t receive care. Properly maintained trees help them from becoming too top-heavy and help to keep proper balance with their root structure. 

Trimming and pruning your tree makes it easier to spot infections and pests before they progress too far. It also allows for aeration and sunlight to reach into parts of the tree that might otherwise not receive it. This helps to prevent rot and harmful fungus from growing on your tree. 

Maintaining your tree ensures that branches grow strongly so that they are less likely to cause damage to themselves, nearby trees, and structures when storm winds test their strength.

How to Know When You Should Trim or Prune Your Tree

Although most pruning should be kept to the winter months, sometimes your tree needs to have a trim in between prunings and after events like storms.

You should trim or prune your tree if there are dead dry branches that don’t grow leaves anymore. Branches that are competing with each other or are crossed should also get pruned.  

If your tree is growing past your perimeter or is getting too big for your space in general then trimming back the extra growth is a must. 

When you’re unsure if your tree needs to be trimmed or pruned always consult with an arborist or tree specialist, as they will know how to handle any tree you have.

Make Sure Your Tree Is Healthy Today!

Remember maintaining a tree is important to its long-term health and integrity, not just its aesthetic appeal. Pruning a tree too often or too much can actually kill your tree. Knowing the difference between trimming vs pruning will ensure that you get the most out of your tree.

We here at Raleigh Tree Service have your back when it comes to keeping your trees healthy.

Click here to learn more about your trees and how you can keep them healthy!

You have come to the right place for expert Tree Removal, Tree Trimming, Stump Grinding and Friendly Service! At Raleigh Tree Service, we proudly provide Greater Raleigh, NC and The Triangle with safe, affordable and efficient tree service.

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5300 Atlantic Ave. Suite 106-4

Raleigh, NC 27609


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