Proper Pruning and Trimming Techniques – Why They Matter

February 3, 2023 | By Aaron Capannelli

Trees, bushes, and shrubs all need regular grooming to stay healthy and keep your yard looking beautiful. In Peachtree City, Georgia, high standards are in place to ensure the reputation of lush, well-manicured yards. A crucial part of a well-manicured lawn is proper pruning and trimming, which enhances the beauty of almost any tree or shrub. Proper technique is vital. You are better off not pruning at all than doing it incorrectly, as this can lead to more harm than good by weakening or deforming your plants and trees.

The words pruning and trimming are sometimes used interchangeably. However, trimming and pruning are actually two different things. To understand proper techniques, it’s important to first understand the difference between them. 

What is trimming?

Trimming refers to cutting an overgrown plant or tree. You might cut it into a specific shape, or cut it to keep it a specific size for aesthetic reasons. Trimming is not just for looks though; it has many health benefits. It’s preventative maintenance that reduces the risk of pest infestations and diseases and reduces the risk of falling branches, which, if your tree is big enough, could cause serious property damage. Just like trimming split ends off of your hair results in healthier, stronger hair growth, trimming trees and plants makes them grow strong and healthy.

What is pruning?

Pruning involves cutting off diseased, dead, loose, or otherwise unhealthy branches. While pruning improves a plant’s appearance, as dead branches are not terribly attractive, it is primarily done for health reasons. When you prune your trees, you’re getting rid of dead or diseased branches, which allows the tree to focus its energy on growing new, healthy leaves and branches. In addition, pruning also allows air and sunlight to reach the center of the plant, which helps prevent fungal diseases. Regular pruning leads to a healthier plant overall. 

Trimming and pruning have similar benefits, but they’re used in different situations. Pruning is typically more selective while trimming is a more general, all-over type of approach. Either way, proper technique is important. More trees are killed or ruined each year from improper pruning and trimming than by pests. 

Both pruning and trimming involve cutting. When it comes to cutting technique, if pruning shears are involved, basic cuts include heading cuts and thinning cuts. Heading cuts remove an entire branch back to a main stem or bud, while thinning cuts remove selected branches throughout the plant in order to improve air circulation. Hand pruners are ideal for making clean cuts on live branches without damaging them. Whichever type of cut you use, be sure to make cuts at a 45-degree angle just above a node (the point where leaves attach to stems). 

Pruning Techniques to Keep in Mind
  • When selective pruning, use clean, sharp tools. This will help prevent infection and allow for a clean cut.
  • Cut at a 45-degree angle so that water doesn’t collect on the cut surface.
  • Make sure not to over-prune, as this can damage the plant or even kill it.
  • When shearing, use electric shears for a clean cut. Start with the sides and then move to the top. Be careful not to cut too much off at once; take it slow so you don’t damage the plant.
Trimming Techniques To Know
  • Use sharp, clean scissors or garden shears for the best results on plants.
  • Be extra careful when trimming trees around power lines or other obstacles.
  • Try not to trim more than one-third of the plant or tree at a time.
  • Don’t forget about safety! Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from thorns and other sharp objects.

Pruning and trimming may be tedious tasks, but they play an important role in maintaining plant health. Be sure to do your research on what type of plants you have as well as when the best time would be to trim or prune them. By following the proper techniques, you can ensure that your plants thrive and your yard is the envy of the neighborhood.

Another consideration, especially when it comes to pruning or trimming large trees, is hiring a professional
ISA certified arborist like 770-TREE-GUY. Arborists are trained in the art and science of tree care. 770-TREE-GUY can identify the type of tree, the best way to prune or trim it, and how to care properly for trees after trimming. We have specialized tools and employ specific techniques to protect the health of the tree and avoid damage to property. We also advise on how to protect your trees from damage during storms or other events. 770-TREE-GUY offers a full spectrum of tree services to enhance your yard’s aesthetics, prevent damage to your home and encourage healthy and balanced tree growth. Call 770-TREE-GUY today to set up a consultation!

Proper Pruning and Trimming Techniques

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