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Tree Trimming vs. Tree Pruning: Is There a Difference?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

If you’re a homeowner or maintain a property, chances are you’ve heard two different terms when it comes to caring for your trees: tree trimming and tree pruning. These terms are used interchangeably at times and may have you wondering, “is there actually a difference between tree trimming and tree pruning?”. Don’t worry- we’re going to break down each term with you and by the end of this blog, you’ll feel confident in knowing the difference between tree trimming and tree pruning.

What Is Tree Trimming?

Tree trimming is a fundamental practice in maintaining your trees and is primarily performed to uphold the shape and size of the tree. Overgrown branches can grow in different directions and become unruly, giving your tree an unpleasant aesthetic. Trimming these branches will improve the look of the tree and your property overall.

Beyond the aesthetic benefits, tree trimming also addresses potential safety hazards. Tree branches can grow into the side of your home, over your roof, or over power lines. Have your kids complained of the tree branches making noises at night? It's most likely due to long branches banging or brushing on their windows. Not only is this keeping your kids up at night, but it could potentially damage the glass. Similarly, long branches can not only scratch or lift shingles, but also create a perfect pathway for animals to gain access to your roof.

If overgrown or long branches become too heavy, especially during a storm, they pose a risk to damaging your property or causing injury. Trimming and removing branches not only contribute to the visual appeal of your tree but also enhance its safety.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Tree pruning is a technique used to promote continued healthy growth of a tree. As tree branches grow, they can start to crowd the canopy of the tree which limits the light penetration and airflow needed for the tree to stay healthy. Branches can also develop diseases and spread throughout the tree.

To address this, branches are strategically removed during the tree pruning process to thin out the canopy, remove deadwood, and improve the structure of the tree. Tree pruning sets your tree up for a long, healthy life.

Tree Pruning, Tree Trimming vs Tree Pruning
Check out this tree pruning job by Legacy Tree Trimming. Before (Top Photo) and After (Bottom Photo)

So, Tree Trimming vs. Tree Pruning: What Are The Differences?

While tree trimming and tree pruning involve cutting branches, the overall goal of the two differ. Tree trimming is used to maintain the shape or height of a tree and can also address safety hazards. Tree pruning is branch removal with the overall tree health in mind, involving removing dead or diseased branches and considering the canopy of the tree.

How Do I Know If My Tree Needs Trimming or Pruning?

You’ve done the first step- you now understand the differences of tree trimming vs tree pruning. Both techniques are important to the overall upkeep of your trees and property.

Whether it's achieving that perfect shape through expert tree trimming or ensuring the long-lasting health of your trees with precision tree pruning, Legacy Tree Trimming is here to help. We offer free estimates and can help you determine if your trees can benefit from trimming or pruning. Give us a call today at (512) 797-9834 or submit your information here.

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