Pruning vs. Trimming: Understanding the Key Differences and Importance in Tree Care
Maintaining healthy and aesthetically pleasing trees is a crucial aspect of landscaping and can significantly impact the overall appeal of your property. You may have heard the words “trimming” and “pruning” used interchangeably, but they are two different tree maintenance practices which serve distinct purposes. In this guide, we will delve into the differences between pruning and trimming and highlight their individual importance in tree care.
Tree & Shrub Trimming: Enhancing Aesthetics and Controlling Size
The word “trimming” is not technically defined within our industry standards. However, most arborists consider trimming to be a tree maintenance practice aimed at enhancing the appearance of trees and shrubs often while controlling their size and shape. This maintenance task involves the careful removal of excess branches, resulting in a neat and well-manicured tree or shrub. The process of trimming is typically performed annually, mainly targeted at shrubs.
One of the primary reasons for trimming is to maintain a harmonious balance between the plant and its surroundings. By eliminating overgrown and unsightly branches, trimming transforms a wild and unkempt shrub into a refined and appealing focal point in any landscape. Additionally, trimming helps manage growth, preventing it from spreading into unwanted areas.
Pruning: Promoting Health, Strength, and Productivity
Pruning, on the other hand, focuses on improving the overall health, structure, and productivity of the tree. Pruning is an essential maintenance step involving the removal of dead, diseased, crowded, or damaged branches, which can pose risks to the tree’s health and integrity. By eliminating these problematic branches, pruning can limit the spread of disease and promotes the tree’s long-term viability.
Regular pruning fosters better air circulation within the tree’s canopy, reducing the risk of pest infestations and diseases. For example, crab apple, apple, and pear trees in particular can thrive with sufficient air flow within the canopy to prevent foliar diseases like apple scab. This leaf fungus is common in Wisconsin due to the local weather conditions in the early growing season.
Furthermore, pruning improves sunlight penetration to lower and interior branches. This increased sunlight exposure encourages fruit production, enhances branching, and leads to a healthier and more vibrant tree.
Pruning is a more strategic process than trimming and is typically undertaken every two or three years, depending on the tree type, age, and its growth rate.
The dormant season is a great time to prune trees for many reasons. For example, the Wisconsin DNR encourages oak trees to be pruned in winter to help prevent oak wilt. According to a press release from the DNR, oak wilt is the state’s most destructive oak disease, killing thousands of trees annually. Alarmingly, this serious decline in oaks is common in the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin, spreading further north each year.
If you have an oak on your property, help protect the future of this treasured tree within Wisconsin’s landscapes. Schedule a tree pruning service with your local Certified Arborist from Wachtel Tree Science. Our knowledgeable and experienced team can provide peace of mind that your tree is well cared for to prevent the spread of oak wilt disease.
Pruning while a tree is dormant is also better for structural pruning. This time of year, when the leaves are not present, the Certified Arborist performing the pruning can more readily see the relationship of the branches in the tree, thus pruning out the branches that may be poorly attached or crowded.
Understanding the Distinct Purposes of Pruning and Trimming
While the terms “pruning” and “trimming” are often treated as synonymous, it is crucial to recognize the distinctions between them– in both purpose and frequency. Pruning is a strategic practice aimed at nurturing the tree’s health and structural integrity. Pruning is often needed less frequently than trimming, and may be carried out every two to three years depending on the type of tree and its growth. In contrast, trimming focuses on the visual appeal and controlling the size of a plant– such as you’d see on a shaped hedge. Trimming is a more regular practice, typically performed annually, or twice a season, to enhance the visual appeal for landscaping purposes.
Understanding this difference between pruning and trimming empowers you to employ the appropriate technique based on your tree’s specific needs and your vision for the property. This will ensure your trees remain healthy, attractive, and vibrant additions to your landscape.
Southeast Wisconsin Tree and Shrub Pruning Services
Regularly scheduled pruning is an essential element in your tree care regimen. Consulting with a Certified Arborist can further optimize the well-being of your trees. At Wachtel Tree Science, our ISA Certified Arborists are equipped with industry-leading equipment and safe, efficient techniques to provide tree and shrub pruning services for residential, commercial and municipal properties of any size.
To ensure that your trees are given the proper care and maintenance, hiring a Certified Arborist is recommended. Our knowledgeable and experienced ISA-Certified Arborists are well-versed in a wide variety of tree and shrub pruning techniques and standards.
Since 1935, Wachtel Tree Science has been a trusted resource for keeping Southeastern Wisconsin’s trees healthy and beautiful. Beat the rush by contacting us today to get your tree pruning service on the schedule.