Tree trimming, tree thinning, pruning — what’s the difference? And do my trees really need either one?
Yes, they are different. And yes, your trees need both.
Tree trimming is mainly cosmetic. You remove branches from the tree to improve its appearance and shape. It creates a clean, well-kept look, but it has little to do with the health or structure of the tree itself.
Think of tree trimming as you would mowing the lawn. It improves the shape of an appearance, but it doesn’t have a strong bearing on the health of the plants.
Tree Thinning (or Pruning)
Tree thinning or pruning is done to preserve the structure or health of the tree. If a portion of the tree is diseased, infected branches should be removed to prevent further spread of the infection. If branches are dead or broken, they should be removed to eliminate the hazard of falling limbs. Other sections of the tree may need to be removed to balance the weight of the tree.
Young trees often need pruning to encourage an optimal growth pattern. If the tree develops correctly early on, it will not need extra support as it ages.
Though it is counterintuitive, tree thinning can actually encourage the growth of your tree. Cutting away dense foliage frees up space for light and wind to filter through the branches. This creates a better circulation of nutrients in the tree and better respiration, resulting in a healthier tree.
Can I Trim or Prune the Tree Myself?
At Tree Removal Arborist, we hear this question a lot. This depends on your goal and on the tree. If you want to lop off a few wayward branches and reshape a small tree, then using a pair of shears to trim it a few times a year is a fine job to do yourself. For anything more complex than this, we recommend hiring a professional.
Dangers of DIY Tree Trimming
For most projects, hiring a tree care service is the smart, safe way to go. The biggest hazard in tree trimming or tree thinning is falling—falling tree branches, falling equipment, or falling people. Any of these can result in life-threatening injury from just a small slip or misjudgment. Professional arborists have specialized tools and safety training to create the safest possible environment for tree trimming.
A secondary risk to DIY tree trimming is over-thinning or incorrectly thinning your tree. The foliage you cut off will grow back, but unlike cutting your hair or mowing your lawn, the structural balance and growth pattern are affected by how many branches you cut and where. Cut too much and your tree will sprout dozens of tiny branches to compensate. Over-thinning can also weaken your tree.
At Tree Removal Arborist, we offer both tree trimming and tree thinning services by our experienced team of certified arborists. We are licensed, bonded, and certified professionals with years of experience in the greater Sacramento area. Let us care for the health and beauty of your trees. Give us a call or sign up online for a free consultation.