Tree Trimming Vs Pruning: How They Differ & How Both Benefit Your Home And Your Trees

If you just moved into your first home and now have trees to take care of, then it is important to understand how proper tree maintenance benefits both the health and beauty of your trees and the health of your home. If you are just learning the basics of tree upkeep, then you may have come across the terms "tree pruning" and "tree trimming" and wonder if they are just two ways to express the same idea or not. The truth is that while both involve trimming tree branches, they differ in how they are performed and why. Read on to learn the difference between tree trimming and tree pruning and a short guide to how both benefit the health of your trees and the health of your home and family. 

Tree Trimming Vs Tree Pruning: What They Have in Common

Before you learn about the differences, it is important to understand the similarities. Tree pruning is often considered a type of tree trimming, because both processes do involve cutting tree branches. Also, while both can be performed year-round (although pruning should not be performed in the fall), it is ideal to both trim and prune trees in the winter after the trees have gone dormant and lost their leaves.

When trees are dormant, they are not growing and have "self-protective" mechanisms in action. This makes the cuts made in branches during the winter more likely to heal in a healthy way. In addition, after trees have lost their leaves, it is much easier to see which branches are "problems" due to their precise location that may be obscured by leaves in the summer. 

Tree Pruning: Guiding the Growth of Young Trees

Now that you know the similarities behind the two tree services, you can more easily understand the differences. Tree pruning is typically performed on young trees to encourage and direct their healthy growth. Pruning a tree in the winter actually leads the tree growing faster when spring arrives. However, when trees are pruned strategically in the summer, it actually slows the growth of the branches that are pruned; this is desirable when certain tree branches are growing faster than others and giving the tree a misshapen appearance. 

Tree pruning must be performed very precisely to avoid actually damaging the tree instead of encouraging its healthy growth. Very sharp pruning shears must be used to cut the branches very cleanly to avoid damaging them. Cuts must also be made at a slight diagonal and about 1/4-inch away from any tree buds. 

Keep these tree pruning facts in mind if you plan to plant any trees in your yard in the future. 

Tree Trimming: Removing Damaged and/or Problem Branches from Older Trees

If the trees in your yard are all older, then it is currently more important to learn about tree trimming. Tree trimming is typically performed to remove damaged branches from trees before they become a safety hazard; branches that are too close to your home's roof and constantly shedding leaves on it; and/or branches that are producing unwanted shade over your landscaping or areas of your yard you would like to be sunny. 

Tree trimming services can also help shape trees that don't necessarily have problem branches, but instead just haven't been trimmed and pruned properly over the years and now have undesirable shapes that make them eyesores. 

While some gardening enthusiasts enjoy pruning their young trees, most hire professionals to trim the branches of their older trees; it can be dangerous for a homeowner to climb a tall ladder to trim an older tree and cut branches off that, if not directed precisely on the way down, could fall and damage a vehicle or harm a person or animal. 

To trim full branches off trees, tree service professionals typically make a precise cut right where the base of the branch meets the tree trunk. Like when pruning trees, a very sharp blade must be used when trimming a tree to encourage the "wound" to heal quickly and in a healthy way. 

Like pruning, trimming a tree helps keep it healthy. When damaged branches are removed, the healthy tree branches can enjoy the water and nutrition that the unhealthy branch was once getting. In addition, since damaged branches can become very heavy when wet or covered in snow, having them trimmed off removes a safety hazard from your yard. 

When tree branches that hang closely to your roof are removed, the leaves once on them will stop falling on your roof and creating a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and even home-invading pests. 

If you just moved into a home that has a yard with trees, then it is important to learn about proper tree maintenance. Now that you know how both tree pruning and tree trimming work, you can make more informed decisions about when to seek tree trimming and tree pruning to keep your trees, home, and family safe. Contact a tree service like Sherman Oaks Tree Service for more information.