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Should you trim or prune your tree? Ok, let’s back up a bit. What’s the difference? And why are both important?

Let’s note that the differences are quite subtle, and it helps to know the service you’re paying for – should you need either. And if you’re hunting for a professional to help you manage your trees, consider learning more about Rich’s Tree Service, Inc, including why they’re the go-to service in the Portland Metro area. For now, here’s a quick primer on pruning and trimming.


Tree pruning involves the careful removal of specific branches from a tree. This may include diseased or decaying branches that could harm the tree or other parts of your landscape or impede healthy growth. In other words, the process goes beyond maintaining a tree’s appearance by promoting its health and strength.

It can also improve a tree’s overall structure and growth while reducing the risk of damage caused by falling branches. Plus, it helps protect the surrounding areas from accident hazards. Case in point, if some branches encroach on wires or your neighbor’s property, you may need to prune your tree back. By so doing, you can prevent unwanted growth.

Likewise, it may increase fruit production and improve the quality of flowers in the blooming season. For instance, you may prune your trees to allow more sunlight to reach the branches and help them bloom better.

That said, each tree species requires different considerations. For instance, fast-growing tree varieties may call for more frequent pruning than deciduous trees. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek professional advice when undertaking tree pruning to ensure you get it right.

Generally, pruning isn’t as frequent an activity as tree trimming. Even so, it can yield great results for your trees when done correctly.


Basically, tree trimming is the process of giving unruly branches a little ‘trim’ to keep them looking tidy. It’s like getting a fresh haircut, but without the awkward small talk.

Tree trimming allows you to strategically prune a tree mainly to improve its functionality and your landscape’s aesthetic. It might also entail the removal of green shoots, which can affect the shape of a tree.

Businesses often prune their trees to make their properties visually appealing to potential customers. If you’ve stepped into a manicured property and wondered whether the guys who designed it had magical powers, you can stop scratching your head – most likely, it resulted from expert trimming.

Trimming also facilitates canopy lifting – a process in which professional cuts back a tree’s upper branches to make way for more light. If you have other plants underneath, trimming can also help them to grow. Besides, trimming creates a clearing between trees, which promotes better air circulation and creates a healthier environment. With winter setting in, having a professional tree trimming service, trim your trees is essential to ensure their health, safety, and longevity.

Equipment Used

Generally, tree trimming is less demanding than pruning. As such, a pair of branch sheers and a manual saw or chainsaw should suffice in most cases. That said, the tools you’re likely to use while trimming a tree depend on the tree’s size and the job’s nature.

If you’d like to DIY, remember to wear safety gear and use the right equipment. Otherwise, you can seek help from Rich’s Tree Service or your go-to professional.

Besides sheers, tree pruning may require other specialized equipment. For instance, you may need a tree saw, pole pruner, or climbing spurs to remove dead branches. Long-handled loppers and chainsaws also come in handy.

For complex pruning, it’s advisable to call in an arborist. Likewise, to extract dead roots, you may need an ax or root saw. Thus, the complexity or nature of the task at hand determines the equipment you or your arborist might need.

Why the Difference Matters

As pointed out, trimming and pruning have different purposes – the former is done with aesthetics in mind, while the latter helps improve your tree’s health. That said, both are equally important in helping your trees thrive.

Pruning prevents overgrowth while trimming ensures your trees are lush and easy on the eye. What’s more, trimming can prevent structure failure or splitting, which occurs when heavy limbs or branches break off.

Failure to prune your trees can also result in pest infestations, as dead or diseased branches attract bugs and other critters. Thus, you should not overlook either of them when tending to your trees. In this regard, consider scheduling biannual trimming visits to keep your trees looking attractive and annual pruning to ensure they stay healthy.

But while your tree may need both services, it’s not advisable to get them done simultaneously. For instance, pruning during spring may result in excessive sap flow, while trimming during summer may stunt new growth. In other words, avoid stressing your trees by planning to trim or prune them at different times.

Undoubtedly, proper pruning and trimming help your trees flourish. Get it right by hiring a professional. They can address issues such as infection, an unsightly appearance, dead wood, and branching structure. It also makes sense to partner with someone with the right gear and equipment for safety reasons, right?