Difference Between Pruning and Trimming

Gardening in full swing comes with a handful of tasks. And often, this happens to be conflicting as well. At least, when you’re a beginner gardener, it’s not uncommon to be confused between similar chores like trimming and pruning tree branches and shrubs.

In today’s post, we’ve taken up the responsibility to break down the myths about trimming and pruning, once and for all.

We will be talking about what they are, what kind of tools they require, the importance of each and finally, how frequently you should keep doing these.

If that’s what you’re looking for, keep reading.

What Is Pruning?

Pruning refers to the tasks of removing or cutting down tree branches that are dead or loose or unhealthy. This is done because those specific branches are likely to affect the health of the plant. And the growth, yield and other factors that are related to it, are equally taken care of by pruning.

This gives some of us the wrong idea that pruning stunts the growth of the tree, which is absolutely incorrect. It, in fact, stimulates tree growth.

What Is Trimming?

Trimming is a low-scale merging of the tree branches and shrubs. This is more like tidying up the hedge or shrub in order to bring their appearances into the desired shape.

Trimming is mostly done on overgrown branches and the intention is less likely to maintain the tree’s health and more likely to maintain the aesthetics.

Pruning vs Trimming: Why Important

Both pruning and trimming are considered as important chores as long as garden tree maintenance is concerned. But they have the unique importance that make both of them essential for a gardener.

Importance of Pruning

These are the reasons why gardeners go for pruning-

  • The sick or damaged parts of the tree shrubs are removed through pruning.
  • To stimulate the rapid growth of a certain part of the tree where there is a dying or damaged part.
  • To keep the shrubs narrower or shorter than what they should be naturally. This helps the gardener to attain some certain growth goals.
  • To make sure that the growth of the plants and shrubs is going on as planned.

Importance of Trimming

On the other hand, there are 3 other reasons why trimming is important. Here goes the list-

  • Once the pruning is done, trimming is taken place to maintain a more precise shape and size of the plants.
  • To bring the plants to a certain appearance on the occasion of garden and lawn decoration.
  • To remove a large number of stems from the tree at once.

Pruning vs Trimming: The Equipment

Just like the results, the equipment of pruning and trimming are somewhat different. In this section, we’ll focus our radar on that concern.

Tools for Pruning

The most widely used pruning tool is called shears. There are three types of shears available-

  1. Hand shears.
  2. Lopping shears.
  3. Pruning saws.

Hand shears, as the name suggests, can be held by hands and buds and leaves are usually taken off using this tool.

On the other hand, lopping shears come with a handle(1’ long or so) is used to take care of thick tree branches.

Finally, it’s the pruning saw is the tool that comes in when you’ve to prune thick tree branches. These are not like the other items that you can trim away with simple handheld shears or ones with a handle.

Tools for Trimming

There are two tools that can be used as a tree trimming tool-

  1. The hedge trimmer.
  2. Hedge shears.

Hedge trimmers are power tools that require external power for operating. Among hedge trimmers, there are two types on that basis- the electric hedge trimmers and the gas-powered hedge trimmers.

And just like pruning, hedge shears are also used in trimming chores, depending on what kind of subjects you are dealing with.

Pruning vs Trimming: The Frequency

Apart from how and why you would do pruning and trimming, it’s also important to know when and how frequently you have to do that. And this section of the content will focus on that.

Frequency of Pruning

Pruning is done usually once in a year for most of the trees. But there are some specific instructions on how frequently you should prune them.

Here are some guidelines in this regard-

  • If the tree is one that flowers in the summer, then the months of spring and winter are the ideal one to prune them out.
  • If it’s a regular flowering tree, then pruning within the months of June and July is a good idea.
  • Based on the growth and flowering level of other plants, pruning should be scheduled from once to twice a year.

Frequency of Trimming

Although trimming comes to be not as compulsory task as pruning, if you do it, you should do it at the proper time. And what does that schedule look like? Here are some ideas-

  • If you want to trim down the hinges of the shrubs, then you should do it while it’s flowering season of the tree.
  • Also, keep an eye on the growth of the plant. Because if you plan to trim the plant for its health benefits, it should be done before it reaches the height of 1 foot.

Which One Is Better- Pruning or Trimming?

Well, this particular question has no one-word answer. Both pruning and trimming are similar works, and both have their benefits for a concerned gardener.

But if you rephrase the question as- which one is more important for the plants? then we might have an answer. Pruning is therefore more targeted to maintain plant heaths where trimming is mostly about appearance. In case you’re concerned about both, there is no way of dropping off one of them and going to just another.

Bottom Line

Finally, we’ve reached the end of this discussion on differences between pruning and trimming. We’re hopeful that this discussion has made some sense on which one to do how and when. Let’s talk in the next post.

1 Comment
  1. My father asked me to find a tree company that offers trimming services since he wants to trim the branches of the tree in the yard. Good thing I came across your article about the difference between pruning and trimming. I had no idea that this procedure removes a huge number of stalks from it all at once.

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