A complete guide to pruning and trimming trees

Published On: October 21, 20206 Comments on A complete guide to pruning and trimming treesTags: , , Last Updated: February 9, 20244.1 min read

Pruning and trimming are landscaping techniques used to make yards look well maintained and beautiful. These methods also help gardening enthusiasts from picking up the leaves shed during the dormant seasons. Pruning ensures that the trees have lesser chances to decay, die, and be removed.

pruning the tree

Regular trimming guarantees health and promotes the growth of your trees. Yearly pruning is equally efficient. Consulting an arborist is the best way to do landscaping but if you are up to undertaking this task on your own, here’s a complete guide to prune and trim your trees.

Need for Pruning Trees

All trees grow well enough without pruning, but being pruned results in better looking and healthier trees. The benefits of pruning are:

  • Pruning ensures plant health. The chances of pest infestation, decay, and risks of diseases are lowered. The tree also gets better light after pruning which in turn boosts growth.
  • Specific trimming and pruning methods promote fruition, flowering, and also help in controlling the size of the trees.
  • It is not uncommon to prune trees because they pose threats to the safety of humans and structures. When the branches get too high and close to power lines, the branches should be pruned. Low growing branches also pose risks to safety.
  • In certain regions, plants are pruned in preparation for hurricane season as well.
  • Often trees are also pruned because they obstruct the view.

Ideal Time for Pruning and Trimming

Most people prefer pruning from mid-winter to the end of it. This period of dormancy encourages growth when the temperature rises. Trimming after fall makes it easy to determine the damaged limbs, whereas summertime is not ideal for pruning in the case of most trees.

Ideal Way to Prune a Tree

According to East Amherst tree pruning experts, proper pruning ensures a strong tree structure. If a strong primary branch is established while the tree is young, the need for corrective measures reduces with time.

For smaller branches:

  • While reducing and shaping the smaller branches and limbs, cut ¼ inch above the bud at a 45-degree angle.
  • This will be the direction of the new growths and prevents water damage and disease.
  • It is not necessary to always use power tools for pruning.

For larger branches:

Larger branches are cut in three steps. This prevents damages to the bark.

  1. The first cut removes the weight from the branch. The best location for making this cut is approximately 18 inches towards the lower side of the selected branch. Cut halfway through this limb.
  2. The second cut is made on the top side of the same branch. Make the cut an inch away from the first cut. Chop carefully until it breaks free.
  3. The third and final step is to locate the branch collar. It is the swollen and rough part at the base of the branch. Make a 45-degree angle cut going away from the tree. Make sure to not leave stumps.

cutting sick branches on tree

Recommended Pruning Tools

Good quality equipment makes the task of pruning a breeze. A few tools that come handy are:

  • PowerGear2 Pruner is ideal for cutting branches with a thickness of ¾ inches. It has large handles that give a better grip.
  • Power Tooth Softgrip Saw makes removing large branches easier with its patented teeth designs.
  • PowerGear2 Lopper gives leverage while you are cutting branches of moderate size. It is optimal for branches with a diameter of 2 inches.

Popular Pruning Methods

Different types of pruning techniques are used to achieve various levels of health, aesthetics, and safety.

  • Removal of dead, dying, or decaying parts to avoid the spread of infection to the healthier parts of the tree is called cleaning.
  • Thinning is a method employed to reduce the amount of foliage on a branch. This lowers the weight on the branch and increases the light and airflow through the plant.
  • Removing the lower branches to provide space for buildings, driveways, and pedestrians is called raising.
  • The reduction of large portions of the treetops for power lines is called topping. It is a harmful method and damages the tree.

Tips and Tricks

  • Pruning is a large task to take up on your own. Make sure you know what you are doing so that you don’t harm your trees.
  • Ensure that you have proper equipment before you start the project. Most of the trimming and pruning tools are easily available.
  • Trees that pruned from an early age yield better results.
  • If you are new to this gardening technique, start with fruit trees and ornamental plants.
  • Get an arborist to prune and trim your large trees.


Pruning and trimming, when done properly, enhances the strength and attractiveness of the trees. When these techniques are implemented incorrectly, they leave everlasting damage to the trees and even lead to their death.

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Leave A Comment

  1. Amy Saunders December 6, 2021 at 2:53 am

    Hi there! Oh wow, I really like it when you said that it’s better to prune our shrubs when the growth level are slow. My aunt has a mini garden in her backyard and she’s been thinking of beautifying it lately. I’ll forward this tip to her so her garden will look splendid later.

  2. Kris Parece August 22, 2021 at 7:15 am

    I just want to add, cut at the correct distance. Always make cuts just above a bud, but not so close that you risk damaging the bud. Don’t cut too far above it, as water can get trapped in the stub and lead to rotting. As a general rule, cut above the bud at a distance of about a quarter of the thickness of the stem.

  3. Jaurice August 14, 2021 at 12:18 am

    Pruning and trimming can help the health of the trees improve and can make the yard attractive.

  4. Devin Fick July 15, 2021 at 9:42 am

    “Pruning and trimming, when done properly, enhances the strength and attractiveness of the trees.” Focus on ‘when done properly’. You have a better chance at getting that done right with an arborist by your side. Rather than doing it by yourself.

  5. US Tree Care June 7, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    It gets so hot here in Texas that finding time in the off season to prune a tree is difficult. But worth it.

  6. US Tree Care June 7, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Always good to trim and prune in the winter to avoid further injury. It gets hot so quick here in Texas that it’s hard to find the time!

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