Pruning Vs. Trimming—What's The Difference And Why Does It Matter?

Maintaining a yard might look simple at first glance, but there's a lot involved to keep the plants on your property healthy and happy. Trees are often the most dominant parts of any landscape, so it's no surprise that they're also the most challenging to maintain. Keeping your trees looking good requires skill, care, and a surprising amount of technical terminology. 

"Pruning" and "trimming" are common terms you'll often hear when dealing with trees, and it's easy to think they mean the same thing. In reality, there are some notable differences between these two services and some good reasons why you may want a professional to perform both.

Trimming Keeps Your Trees Under Control

If you've spent some time in a forest, you've probably noticed that most trees can grow fairly large. Left to their own devices, the trees in your yard will inevitably sprawl out and develop some fairly impressive canopies. While crowns filled with foliage can be a majestic sight, they can also pose hazards and lead to an unkempt look.

Trimming involves cutting trees back to prevent them from growing out of control. Trimming is a relatively sophisticated process since cutting back too much can harm the tree. On the other hand, controlled trimming performed by a professional can promote new growth while ensuring your trees remain a manageable size.

Pruning Improves the Health of Your Trees

While trimming can improve the health of a tree, that's not its primary role. In fact, it's often important to take steps while trimming to minimize the potential for harm. On the other hand, pruning is all about the health of your tree. Where trimming often involves removing healthy branches, pruning focuses on more problematic areas.

Diseased or infested branches are obvious targets for pruning, but they're not the only parts of a tree that may require attention. Pruning is also useful to help improve airflow and circulation through a tree's canopy. Like many other plants, trees are vulnerable to fungal diseases, and improved airflow helps to keep branches dry to minimize fungal growth.

Like trimming, careful pruning may also encourage additional growth. Cutting away dead, diseased, or damaged limbs encourages the tree to create new, healthy shoots. Removing these branches also helps the tree redirect energy to healthy branches, helping to better resist disease and infestations in the future.

Note that pruning is a job that's often best left to a professional. Not only is it dangerous to climb into a tall tree to perform pruning yourself, but it's also challenging for amateurs to spot problems. A professional tree service can identify problematic areas of your tree and safely prune them to keep your tree healthy and attractive.

Contact a local tree technician to learn more.