What is Tree Pruning? (Your Comprehensive Guide)

November 16, 2022

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Are you a homeowner asking, what is tree pruning? This is a vital question, as professional tree services ensure healthy, strong trees. Additionally, pruning and trimming remove branches getting dangerously close to wires, roofs, and other obstructions.

However, property owners should also note that pruning is not a DIY job. Improper pruning techniques can wound trees, stunting their growth. Above all, pruning and cutting are often dangerous jobs! To help you keep yourself and your property safe, note some added information about pruning. Then, call a tree contractor near you as needed for tree care services.

what is tree pruning

What’s the Difference Between Tree Trimming and Pruning?

An easy way to remember the difference is that tree trimming is completed to improve the tree’s aesthetic, and pruning is done for tree health and to promote growth.

Tree Pruning:

  • Pruning is generally used for structural and health purposes.
  • A tree should be pruned if it has dead or dying branches, crossed branches that rub together, heavy limb growth near the trunk, damaged branches due to storms or other damage, and diseased branches.
  • Pruning can also help open up a tree’s canopy to let more light into the interior of the tree, allowing for better air circulation.
  • In some cases, pruning can even help reduce the risk of a tree falling in windy conditions by reducing its weight.

Tree Trimming:

  • Tree trimming is used mainly for aesthetic purposes and often involves removing smaller, unwanted branches to shape or thin out the canopy. This can be done to give a tree a cleaner, more uniform look.
  • Trimming can also be done to remove branches that are blocking views or appear unsightly. It is important to note that over-trimming can cause irreparable damage to the tree, so it is best to consult an arborist beforehand to determine how much trimming is needed.

Tree trimming refers to shaping the tree, typically to create a certain appearance. For instance, trimming might cut back “straggly” or misshapen branches. Also, a contractor might trim branches blocking your view of the horizon.

Additionally, tree trimming creates a specific shape for the tree. As an example, you might want a more triangular shape for evergreens. Trimming can also create a rounded look for oak or maple trees. Contractors might also trim several trees to make them the same height!

On the other hand, pruning addresses the tree’s health or condition overall. A contractor prunes or removes diseased or decaying branches. This process keeps that condition from spreading throughout the entire tree.

In some cases, a tree infestation might be so extensive that a contractor prunes branches rather than treat those pests. Overgrown or overly heavy branches also put excessive weight on a tree. In turn, pruning or removing them helps the tree grow healthy and strong.

Also, pruning removes branches getting too close to overhead wires and cables, nearby roofs, and the like. A contractor can also prune away branches hanging over a pool, porch, carport, or other fixtures. Pruning branches over a neighboring property can also prevent damage from falling branches!

Do I Really Need to Prune Trees?

Pruning is an excellent investment for any tree you want to keep over the years. Overly heavy branches or too many branches weaken a tree. Also, dead or decaying branches often attract pests that can kill that tree. Additionally, removing some branches allows for more healthy sunlight and air circulation around the tree.

Above all, it’s vital that property owners cut away dangerous overgrown branches. Snapped power lines risk fires and shock and, of course, interrupt power to nearby properties! Falling branches can also injure anyone in the vicinity. Moreover, tree branches scraping on roofs mean costly damage.

It’s also vital to note that homeowners are usually liable for damage caused by a falling tree branch. While an insurance carrier might cover some or all costs, they might also raise your rates! Also, pruning branches hanging over a fence or neighboring property can help keep the peace between households.


How Often Do Trees Need Pruning?

Pruning and trimming schedules vary from property to property. For instance, a tree might need trimming twice per year, to keep it neat and manicured. Also, some flowering or fruit trees might need pruning more than once per year, to keep them healthy and blossoming.

An arborist can recommend the best schedule for your tree. Additionally, they might adjust that schedule over the years as the tree responds to regular care. A tree might also need trimming or pruning after a storm if it’s suffered damage and the like.

How Is Tree Pruning Done?

One reason to leave tree pruning to the pros is that the process requires more skill than you might assume. First, an arborist inspects the tree as completely as possible, making a pruning plan. Second, he or she determines which branches to prune and where to make cuts. Additionally, he or she determines the “skeleton” or major branches the tree needs to retain.

Typically, the arborist or contractor then makes cuts where two smaller branches meet. Also, they will cut downward and outward, so as to avoid wounding the branch. This allows the branch to keep growing rather than getting damaged or rotting away.

The Best Way to Prune a Tree

The best way to prune a tree is to leave this work to the pros! Cutting away main branches often weakens a tree. Also, improper cutting can risk permanent branch damage, which then might spread to the rest of the tree. Professionals also have the necessary tools, including lopping shears, hedge shears, and hand shears to complete the job.

Above all, tree trimming and pruning are dangerous jobs even for seasoned professionals. Without the right cabling and bracing, branches can slide in any direction. It’s also not unusual for a cut branch to fall without warning. To keep yourself and your property safe, rely on a pro for expert tree pruning services.

experts complete tree pruning services

How Do You Know If a Tree Needs Pruning or Trimming?

Regardless of whether it’s pruning or trimming, both techniques should be done carefully and with the correct tools to ensure that the tree remains healthy. An experienced arborist can provide advice on which branches need to be removed and how best to do it without compromising the health of the tree.

First, consider tree trimming for any tree that’s overgrown or that needs a more manicured look. Second, always schedule professional pruning and other services for flowering or fruit trees. Pruning and other care ensure healthy growth and regular blossoms!

Additionally, call a tree care specialist if you notice signs of damage to your tree. This can include missing bark, sagging or cracked branches, or failure to grow leaves. You might also notice an obvious infestation, which needs immediate correcting.

Schedule pruning for dangerous branches. This includes any scraping on nearby roofs or getting close to wires. It’s also vital to remove branches hanging over a fence or other outdoor features. You might also prune away branches that drop sap, moss, and other debris onto roofs, pools, or patios.

Young Trees and Tree Pruning

The pruning of young or newly transplanted trees should be limited to only dead or damaged branches. If they are pruned too early, before the second or third year, this can cause irreparable damage to the tree’s life and prevent new growth.

Ann Arbor Tree Trimming & Removal Service is happy to provide this information to our readers. Hopefully, we helped answer your questions about pruning trees? If you’re in the area and need professional services, call our Ann Arbor tree care contractors. We offer FREE inspections and price quotes for trimming, pruning, and full removal. Also, ask us about cabling and bracing as well as shrub trimming and land clearing! To find out more or to schedule your no-cost appointment, contact us right now.

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