Complete Guide to Tree Trimming: Types, Tools, and Techniques – Pruning vs Cutting vs Lopping

Complete Guide to Tree Trimming: Types, Tools, and Techniques – Pruning vs Cutting vs Lopping

Complete Guide to Tree Trimming: Types, Tools, and Techniques – Pruning vs Cutting vs Lopping

Welcome to the Complete Guide to Tree Trimming! Tree trimming is an essential part of tree care that helps maintain the health, safety, and aesthetics of trees. It involves the selective removal of specific branches or parts of a tree for various purposes such as improving the tree’s structure, reducing its size, or removing hazardous branches.


What is Tree Trimming?

Tree trimming, also known as tree pruning, is the practice of removing specific branches or parts of a tree for various purposes such as improving tree health, enhancing the tree’s aesthetics, and promoting safety. Tree trimming is an essential part of tree maintenance and can be done for various reasons, such as removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches, reducing the tree’s size, shaping the tree to a particular form, and clearing branches that obstruct power lines, buildings, or other structures. Proper tree trimming techniques are essential to maintain the health and safety of trees while ensuring their continued growth and development

What is Tree Pruning?

Diseased or damaged branches are just extra weight on a tree and should be removed to preserve the health of the tree and encourage growth. When pruning a tree, it’s important to pay close attention to any branches growing inward, as well as crossing branches which can move in the wind, creating friction and causing them to break off.

Compared with tree lopping, which can involve the removal of sizeable tree branches, pruning also tends to cover more minor work, such as shearing water sprouts and small branches.

Benefits of tree pruning:

  • Stimulates new growth of branches
  • Enhances fruit re-production
  • Protects against tree related diseases / insects
  • Removes dangerous branches to improve safety
  • Improves the look of garden
  • Provides remedial work following weather damage
  • When it comes to the different pruning techniques, the following methods are often used to maintain mature trees:
  • Crown Lifting
  • Crown Reduction
  • Crown Thinning
  • These three methods are performed on different areas of the tree for a variety of reasons, such as removing dangerous deadwood and allowing light to travel through the crown. You can read more about this by looking at this blog post.

What is Tree Lopping?

Tree lopping is used to modify the shape of the tree through the careful cutting of branches to train growth in a certain direction. It focuses on removing damaged sections of a tree that no longer grow to encourage new growth and longevity
Enlisting the help of an experienced tree lopper will ensure the structure of the tree is looked after through specialist techniques so the beauty of the tree isn’t impacted. While lopping a tree can enhance its overall appearance, there are some instances where this should be avoided as removing too many leaves can limit access to much-needed nutrients and weaken the tree. In turn, this can open the tree up to diseases and parasites.

What should I consider when tree pruning or tree lopping?
When it comes to carrying out any tree maintenance, safety is the main concern. Hiring an experienced, reputable arborist will ensure all work is carried out in line with the relevant regulations for complete safety. Not only will this approach aid growth and protect against tree related diseases, but it will also safeguard your home and others surrounding during the procedure is in operation.
Another important consideration is the legal side of tree maintenance, so it’s imperative to seek advice for the laws surrounding the trees on your property prior to any major work.

How often should trees be trimmed?

It really depends in every case, but, here are some general guidelines to go by:

  • Most of the mature trees of any variety can be trimmed over a gap of 3-5 years.
  • Most younger trees should be trimmed over a gap of 2-3 years.
  • Fruit trees can be pruned every year to help produce better quality and larger fruits size.
  • Evergreen trees can go many years without needing a single cut.

Should Trees Be Trimmed Every Year?

As we noted above, most trees can be pruned between every 1-5 years depending on the type. While your trees may not need to be trimmed every year, it is important to check them over or have them looked at to determine if they need to be trimmed that year or not!

What Happens If You Prune A Tree Too Much?

Over-pruning will reduce the amount of leaves available to make food for the tree. If you prune a tree too much, the tree can be weakened which allows pests and diseases to get a foothold.

Over-pruning can also make the tree more susceptible to wind damage, and poorly made cuts can be vectors by which disease and pests can enter the tree.

Does Trimming A Tree Help It Grow?

Proper tree trimming can help a tree’s roots grow stronger, which results in a healthier tree. Trimming a tree can help new branches grow as well.

When Should Trees Be Trimmed?

The best time to trim trees is typically late winter or spring. You can trim trees in the spring, summer, and fall as needed, but you’ll get the best results in late winter or spring.

Trimming your tree in late winter or spring ensures the tree doesn’t waste stored energy making leaves on branches you’ll just trim later anyway.

When Should You Not Trim Trees?

Our goal is to never trim more than 30% of live tissue from a tree. Removing more than that can be damaging to the tree and result in disease or pest infestation. If a tree has had around 30% of it’s foliage removed either by trimming or by storm damage in a year, you shouldn’t trim that tree any further.

It’s also damaging to trim a tree immediately after the leaves have all sprouted. The tree has put a lot of energy into growing those leaves, which are power plants, and expects to receive energy in return all year long to store in its roots. Trimming the tree then can severely reduce the energy the tree can store over winter.

Do Branches Grow Back After Pruning?

If branches are pruned properly, the branches won’t grow back. They will grow a callous over the cut, which you may have seen on many trees, to protect from infection of disease or pests. But, if the tree is pruned improperly, brancesh can grow back.

Is Pruning Healthy for Trees?

Regular pruning is necessary for the overall health and beauty of your tree. Pruning stimulates new growth. It also increases air circulation and sunlight penetration, resulting in a healthier plant that is more resistant to insects and disease. Without pruning, trees can appear unsightly with dead or diseased branches, leading to even more severe problems such as pest infestation and rot.

What Kinds of Tools Are Needed to Prune or Trim?

  • Tree Trimming Equipment

    Multiple types of equipment are used for trimming depending on the scale of operation and the size of the trees and shrubs being cut. The equipment used usually consists of hand tools or power tools. Some examples include branch shears — also known as loppers — pole pruners and chainsaws. The most efficient tool of equipment for trimming is manual branch shears. Branch shears are not only efficient, but they are also quick and clean when used correctly.
  • Tree Pruning Equipment

    Tools for pruning include handheld clippers, shears or loppers with blades 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) long. In general, the thicker the branch, the larger blade you need. Pruning equipment can also include saws and chainsaws. In most cases, a chain saw is used to cut off large branches, while shears and loppers are used to prune the smaller branches. Shrubs and small trees can be pruned using handheld shears. The most effective tools for this task are the long-handled loppers, which resemble large, heavy-duty scissors.