Simply put, trimming is more of a procedure done for aesthetic purposes, while pruning is done primarily for safety and health purposes. Pruning for safety reasons is when you cut off branches that could fall on a person or on a part of your home or property. Pruning a tree to maintain its health typically includes removing insect-infested or decayed branches and thinning out the crown for better air passage.
You can also prune to promote fruit production in fruit-bearing trees, and stimulate blooming in flowering trees.You may think of tree trimming as “grooming” or shaping it according to a design you have in mind. You are more focused on the outer perimeter of the tree, removing most of the new growth of leaves or small branches on the tree’s external portion. Tree pruning on the other hand, is thinning out a tree to remove diseased limbs and dead branches. It usually involves cutting off of selected branches back to the new growth, to the larger branch, or to the main trunk itself.
*According to the Tree Care Industry Association, “pruning is the single best ‘investment’ a property owner or community can make to ensure the survival and lengthen the lifespan of their trees.” The objective in pruning/trimming trees is to help shape them into a form that is aesthetically pleasing to you and healthy for the tree. Proper pruning/trimming begins when a tree is approximately one year old, and continues throughout its life. Avoid the tendency to over prune/trim your trees and always select a certified arborist to evaluate and care for your trees.