Tree Trimming vs Tree Pruning: What’s the difference?

Many people dream of having a beautiful backyard or a garden adorned with plants, trees, and flowers. If you are a homeowner and have a garden on your property, you must be familiar with trimming and pruning. Most people consider pruning and trimming necessary for the beautification and aesthetics of their garden and even their entire property.

It is clear that both trimming and pruning are quite popular terms when it comes to gardening, but what exactly do they mean? And what is the difference between them? In layman’s terms, they might not sound so different, but through experienced eyes, there are certain differences. Although, it depends on the purpose mostly, as both involve giving your trees and shrubs a better look and health.

Difference between trimming and pruning:

Tree trimming definition:

Let us start with trimming. It is clear by definition that it is a process that helps give your trees a better shape and look. Some people like their trees to have a certain geometric shape to achieve a specific kind of aesthetics. Some prefer their trees to have a spherical or conical shape. However, that depends on the type of tree.

Anyway, the main purpose of trimming is to manipulate the tree’s growth by cutting off branches and leaves. If we compare, it is much like a haircut, trimming the hair in a way we think is pleasing. Trees can grow fast, and that growth can create problems. It can overshadow smaller plants in the vicinity and affect their growth. An overgrown branch can harm children and pets. Trimming off those branches certainly minimizes the risk while also manipulating the tree’s growth in a controlled way. What’s more, frequent trimming can actually promote the healthy growth of the tree.

The process of trimming is preventative because it prevents infections and diseases from spreading.

However, there are times that your trees and shrubs need extra care, and pruning can save those trees. Pruning can be both a preventative and reactionary process, depending on the tree and the owner’s preferences. But unlike trimming, pruning a plant means focusing on the bad and problematic parts of the tree. A dead branch or an infected branch can lean on other branches or trees and pass on the disease.

Trimming vs Tree Pruning

Tree pruning definition:

Pruning is especially for these affected branches and other parts, which involves removing those. Sometimes owners do that for cosmetic purposes, too, as dead branches don’t look good and can fall. Removing those dead portions using a tool like a convenient cordless reciprocating saw eliminates the risk; plus, it prevents the plant from wasting energy on that part. The result is a healthy, well-grown plant. Just as we compared trimming with a haircut, we can also compare pruning with plucking a bad tooth.

How To Cut High Tree Branches With A Pole Pruner
Trimming vs Tree Pruning

Which method should you use for your trees?

Trimming vs Tree Pruning? What to choose? Well, it can be a matter of preference and also what the situation needs. Trimming is a frequent process that requires you to do it whenever you see your trees growing without any bound. To gauge how much a tree should grow and when to trim the leaves and branches, you should decide the shape and size of the tree. As a general rule, if the branches grow about a foot more than your desired shape and size, you should trim them.

However, if you notice certain infestations, infected branches, and leaves, then trimming alone won’t be enough. It would be best if you pruned for those affected areas, then trim the leaves and branches to finish the job.

Do tree roots grow after the tree is cut?

Sometimes, it becomes necessary to cut a tree for various reasons. The tree may be weak, diseased, or poses a safety hazard for people and pets. For that matter, once you cut a tree, the root still remains under the ground. The branches and leaves are essential for the root, as they provide nutrients for the root to grow further. Cutting a tree will stop the supply of nutrients to the bottom; hence, the root will stop growing, and in time it will start to decompose.

However, the root can store some nutrients for sprout growth, which will eventually turn into a tree. Once it happens, the root may grow again.

When is the best time to prune trees?

The best time to prune or trim trees and shrubs is from November through March because most of the trees are dormant this time which makes it the ideal time for trimming and pruning. During this time trees are not that sensitive to insects or any kind of diseases.

Will pruning stop the root from growing?

Pruning is a process intended to save a tree from diseases, but many people believe that pruning also decreases root growth. In reality, pruning does not necessarily help in that. If you are concerned about root growth, especially the shallow, surface roots, then there are other procedures.

Tree trimming and pruning services:

By the way, if you are looking for tree trimming and pruning services you can check these:

  1. Davey
  2. Sava tree
  3. AplusTree
  4. Monster Tree Service
  5. Bright View

How to sharpen pruning saw blades?

Watch this video to learn how to sharpen pruning saw blades.


Pruning and trimming are both essential for gardening, as they both promote healthy growth for a tree. Following both of these procedures frequently can let your trees have a desired shape and size with pleasing aesthetics. You can consult experienced gardeners on what to do with the trees in your yard to make the most out of them – as pruning makes the tree healthy from within while trimming gives them the perfect makeover.

[4 Steps Hack]How To Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High To Reach