What Is Tree Trimming?

Tree trimming is the process of cutting back trees. An operative physically cuts back branches, helping to contain the tree in a particular footprint. The terms trimming and pruning are often used interchangeably. Both pruning and trimming are associated with ensuring that a tree remains in good health and does not pose a danger to people or property.

Operatives can perform tree trimming on practically any kind of tree, so long as it is safe to do so. You can trim both small and large trees to improve safety, make a tree appear more attractive, or remove dead branches.

Trimming often involves the use of a variety of tools. Tree trimmers use hand shears for branches and twigs less than three-quarters of an inch in diameter. For branches larger than this, trimmers use lopping shears, a type of shear with longer handles, allowing the trimmer to apply more force.

For large branches, operatives use a pruning saw: a particular kind of saw specifically designed for quickly cutting through larger branches.

Of course, handheld tools aren’t always appropriate and are not as efficient as machine-powered equipment. Some trimmers will pare back trees using electric clippers, saws, and chainsaws.

Tree trimming can be done at any time of the year, depending on the reasons for it. The majority of trees and shrubs need some kind of trimming to grow into the desired shape. Some gardeners also like to trim their trees and shrubs immediately after they bloom to encourage a fuller blossom the following years. By pruning dormant trees in the winter, you can promote growth during the spring and summer months.

The Benefits Of Tree Trimming

Trimming your trees offers a host of benefits to anyone who has a tree on their property.

Allows You To Repair A Tree After A Storm

Storms can damage trees. A tree struck by lightning or exposed to high winds can become unstable, especially if it has a broken trunk or shallow roots. Shallow roots can mean that it topples over easily in subsequent storms, and a broken trunk could fall at any moment, potentially endangering persons and property.

Many people use tree trimming to repair a tree after a storm and render it safe. By removing broken branches and trunks and rebalancing the tree, it is less likely to harm anyone or anything in the future.

It Makes Trees More Attractive

Trimming isn’t just about safety: it’s also about improving the appearance of your garden and landscaping. Trees won’t always grow in the shape that you want them. Some will be symmetrical and occupy a desirable footprint, but others will grow in all kinds of directions and require guidance. Trimming helps keep trees in line and gardeners achieve the desired aesthetic. You want your trees to be able to grow and develop, but you also want to make sure that they do in a way that fits in with your aesthetic objectives.

It Encourages Growth And Fruiting

Pruning back a tree not only makes it more attractive, but it can also help improve growth and fruiting. By cutting back trees that have just budded or fruited, you encourage the tree to put in the effort to produce next year’s blossoms, flowers or fruit. The tree recognizes that it doesn’t have much fruiting material at the end of its branches, so it puts in extra effort to create it, leading to sometimes fabulous results in the following spring or summer.

It Reduces The Risk Of Fire

Dry branches attached to trees are not only unattractive but also pose a risk of fire. By trimming a tree, you reduce the risk of fire and ensure that the entire tree is living - dead parts can increase the risk of disease and rot.

It Keeps The Tree Healthy

A healthy tree is a happy tree. But just like people, trees can begin to suffer from disease if you don’t look after them correctly.

Trimming gets rid of all of the dead branches and rotting trunks, ensuring that the viable parts of the tree remain.

It Stimulates The Growth Of New Shoots

Trees don’t like to expend energy creating new tissue. If their existing branches are doing the job, then they will stick with that, sometimes indefinitely. Trimming, however, pushes a tree into action.

Suppose, for instance, you have a large oak tree in your garden with a dangerous overhanging trunk that puts another person’s property at risk. When you cut back trunk and other branches, the tree loses its symmetrical shape and becomes less attractive. However, all is not lost. In the process of cutting back the tree, you stimulated the tree to develop new shoots. Over time, those shoots will approximate the shape of the old canopy, enabling the tree to recover some of its former glory.

Professional Tree Trimming

Many people attempt to trim trees themselves. But tree trimming is a complicated process that requires an expert touch. Amateur tree trimming can often lead to unintended consequences. For instance, if you incorrectly trim a tree, you can cause its blossom to fail in subsequent years and even put the life of the tree at risk.

Professional tree service companies have all of the tools and knowledge to ensure that your trees are trimmed correctly. What’s more, they have the equipment to do it safely. The last thing you want is to fall out of a tree while pruning, causing injury. If it’s a large tree, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the equipment you need, and you’ll have to go and get the help of professionals.

Do you want to start experiencing the benefits of tree trimming in your garden or property?

Pruning (Trimming)

is the most common tree practice done to trees in the urban landscape. We strive to maximize the genetic potential of trees by pruning as a corrective or preventative measure. Since each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, our goal in pruning is to produce healthy, structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing trees. We believe that a tree must be representative of its species and should be cared for as the individual species dictates.

Specific types of pruning may be necessary to maintain a mature tree in a healthy, safe, and attractive condition. We want you to understand and appreciate the differences in pruning methodology and techniques, which include:

Crown Cleaning - The removal of dead, dying, diseased, split, broken, crowded, crossing, and weakly attached branches and water sprouts from a tree's canopy.

Crown Thinning - The selective removal of branches and foliage to increase light penetration to plantings beneath and provide for air filtration throughout the canopy of a tree. This is significant in reducing the windsail effect and incidences of breakage due to wind resistance. This procedure will reduce the mass of the tree while still maintaining it's natural shape.

Crown Reduction/Shaping - Reducing a tree’s height or spread to correct growth imbalance is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to secondary branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.

Crown Raising - The removal of lower branches from a tree to clear space for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, buildings, and views.

End-Weight Removal - The reduction of weight on long, end-heavy or overextending branches.

Structural Pruning - The removal of weak unions that are subject to breaking or selective pruning of co-dominant leaders which interfere with optimum growth and health.

Clear Buildings - Many landscaping trees planted years ago are now interfering with roofs, gutters, siding or sidewalk clearance – these can usually be pruned to alleviate the problem and without hurting the tree. Some fire department codes require mandatory clearances from roofs for compliance regulations.

Specialty Pruning - We create and maintain bonsai, topiary or espalier trees and plants.


We are ready to talk to you about all of your Tree Care needs. Call us today and we will put you in contact with one of our ISA Certified Arborist to set up an appointment for a free estimate!