When to Trim and When to Prune: Taking Care of Your Trees

One of the best things about a summer morning is stepping out your door, breathing in the fresh air, and admiring the beauty of a perfectly kept yard, complete with impeccably trimmed trees. Of course, while people love the pruned trees, they don't often think about what it takes to keep the trees that way. Interestingly enough, proper tree maintenance isn't as simple as taking a pair of pruning shears and cutting off the excess branches. It's almost an art form, and — like any art form — there are multiple facets necessary to bring about the desired effect. Take, for example, trimming and pruning. Both are essential to the growth and beauty of the tree, but they each have a very different purpose.

Trimming Your Tree

When you trim your tree or have a professional trim your tree, you're basically maintaining its beauty and aesthetic value. This doesn't need to be done often — about once a year — but it's important for the tree's health and beauty. The best time to have your tree trimmed is during its dormant season; exceptions may need to be made if there is a health hazard at play such as a heavy, broken branch.


When you step into the role of pruning your tree, you'll discover that it's a little more complicated than it looks. You've seen the professionals out there with their pruning shears and equipment, cutting and snipping at the trees. It looks easy and it sounds easy, but it's actually somewhat involved. Take, for instance, your standard pruning. This type of pruning follows the same idea as trimming, which keeps the tree beautiful and maintains its aesthetic appearance. Standard pruning improves the tree's structure and makes it possible for the tree to be trimmed later.

Moving past standard pruning, you may have seen professionals removing branches or cutting away large portions of the tree. This is care or menace pruning, which is essential because it takes care of any and all potential hazards or dangers. These may include broken branches, low-hanging branches or branches and trees that are structurally weak.

The last type of pruning is crown reduction. This is important because the professionals eliminate potential hazards that the tree causes to the world around it. You've seen trees with branches cut out to avoid power lines. This is part of what it means to utilize crown reduction. Another aspect of it, however, is that it enables the proper amount of sunlight and air to reach the tree, which makes for a stronger, healthier tree.

Professionals at Work

While it's possible to trim and prune your own trees, it's a good idea to involve a professional who will prune them properly, avoiding potential damage to the structure. A professional tree pruner will avoid the use of climbing spurs and make sure the cuts that are made to the tree are adequately protected with the tree's own bark. It can be challenging to remove heavy branches. They have the ropes and equipment to do so.

It's also important to trim the tree at the right time. Trimming too early or late in the season can cause damage to the blooms or fruit. You want to trim at the right time because it ensures the health of the tree. Depending on the tree, you'll want to have it trimmed in early spring, right after a tree flowers or in late winter.

Contact a tree trimming company in your area for more information.