Keeping trees healthy requires regular maintenance of pruning and trimming. they may seem like the same thing, but they are actually very different. Both services are performed at specific times during the year using different types of equipment.

Tree pruning is performed to protect a tree or shrub and trimming is used to guide the tree’s growth. Tree trimming is done when a tree is overgrown, it is a process of removing overgrown areas to bring moisture and light back into the tree. Pruning is the act of removing dead, loose, and/or infected branches so the tree can continue to grow healthy without the spread of death and disease. Pruning can also be used to give a tree a specific shape or aesthetic.

What is the Difference Between Trimming and Pruning a Tree?

Equipment Used in Pruning Vs. Trimming


Pruning is done with pruning shears. There are two types of pruning shears: hand shears and lopping shears. hand shears can be held in only one hand and are used to remove smaller objects like buds and leaves.  Looping shears consist of a foot long handle and are used to cut through thick branches. If branches are super thick a tree trimming expert will use a saw for pruning.



Tree trimming is usually performed with a hedge trimmer, they can be electric or gas powered. Sometimes for smaller trimming jobs, shears can be used for tree trimming.

What is the Difference Between Trimming and Pruning a Tree?

Time of Year for Trimming vs. Pruning

With healthy trees trimming is generally performed twice a year and pruning is performed annually. The frequency is ultimately dependent on the specific type of tree needing care. This will also affect the time of year tree maintenance is performed. For most flowering trees, the tree should be pruned around late June right after the tree’s blooming cycle.

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Different trees flower at different times of the year. If your tree flowers in the summer the ideal tree maintenance is spring and winter pruning. The ideal time for trimming is during the flowering season. To benefit the health of the plant, trimming should be done before new growth reaches one foot in length.

Lineage Tree Care provides professional Seattle area tree care including both pruning and trimming.  For more information please browse our website or contact us anytime.