What Are The Differences Between Pruning And Trimming?

Differences between pruning and trimming

Have you walked into your yard and felt, ‘arrghh’ the trees and hedge needs pruning or trimming? Wait, what’s the difference? You probably don’t know, but the only right thing you can ace is that pruning or trimming is essential for your home’s aesthetic purposes. The two actions still boost the proper growth of plants and keep away insects and plant-related diseases.

Although people use the two terms exchangeably more often, even though they do have a subtle difference, they differ in equipment used and the type of task they undertake. But generally, their similarity and primary goal is to enhance the overall look of a home and the plants’ health.

For more detailed information on pruning and trimming, read on.

What Are The Differences Between Pruning And Trimming?

Trimming and pruning are very dissimilar. The only resemblance is that they both involve cutting branch, stem, or limb and promoting a plant’s general health. However, their difference applies in the following reasons;

  • What are you planning to achieve?  
  • The the expected outcomes of the pruning or trimming you want to do.
  • The skills involved in making sure of the plant’s health when you trim or prune?
  • What equipment should you use to trim or prune?
  • What time should you trim vs. prune?

Generally, pruning involves the precise removal of unnecessary branches or plant growth one at a time. It is done by hand most times though there is equipment for the same task. On the other hand, trimming requires less precision to maintain the shape of the plant.

Discerning the difference between the two terms is crucial if you don’t want to end up trimming in pruning. One wrong move will damage your plant and lead even to death.

What Are The Types Of Pruning?

If you can understand the natural growth habit of shrubs, you will know what pruning method is better.

There are two kinds of pruning cuts; thinning and heading cuts. Read on.

The thinning cuts involve the removal of branches at their attachment points. Thinning cuts will minimize the mass of shrubs without boosting regrowth but only if used in leniency.

Conversely, heading cuts arouse the growth of shoots near to the scrape. The new development will grow depending on the direction the remaining bud is facing. When making heading cuts, be careful to decrease shrub height and maintain the natural shape. The extensive unselective heading cuts will boost quick regrowth from shoots under the cut. Such robust buds look distasteful with bushier but smaller shrubs. Avoid making unselective heading cuts at all costs, but if you are pruning hedge using hedge clippers, it’s understandable. What’s more?

To achieve precise pruning cuts, the prune in the heading cuts should be 0.25″ above the shoot in a sloppy direction from it. Be cautious not to cut very close or sharp, or the shoot may die. In case you come across a node with more than two buds while pruning, get rid of those facing inwards. The thinning cuts need to be over side or parent branches.

Tip: Avoid dressing the wounds or coating the pruning. Paint or wound dressing will not inhibit rot or encourage closure of the wound.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pruning

Pruning is getting rid of unwanted or overgrown parts of your trees and shrubs. Why should you prune, you ask? As advantages are available, the downside is also present. Read on.


  1. Pruning is mostly for aesthetic purposes. It improves the look and attractiveness of the plant. Landscapers encourage pruning because once the plants look beautiful, even the home’s appearance becomes appealing.
  2. If you make it a habit to prune your plants regularly, they will adapt to their natural form easily with less effort.
  3. Mainly, pruning enables the elimination of pests or diseased parts of a plant. If the plant’s affected parts are unremoved promptly, the disease or damage may affect the rest and, eventually, the whole plant. Therefore, pruning promotes the smooth and healthy development of the plant.
  4. Because pruning fosters the growth of a plant, fruit trees will thrive more if used to pruning. Pruning stimulates the bearing of fruits to a higher number. Try comparing a fruit tree that gets pruned to one that is not; the fruit production results are highly evident.
  5. Also, pruning will ensure a uniform distribution of the fruits on fruit trees. The fruits will appear all round rather than cluster at some point and leave others bare.
  6. Pruning will make sure your plants have a prolonged life. It will boost the health of the plants, making them relish added longevity.
  7. Pruning is significant for trees. When a tree grows too many branches, these branches sometimes block air and sunlight from getting to the tree’s central and lower parts. This result will hinder proper tree growth. But when pruned, sunlight and air will distribute evenly to the entire tree plant hence adequate growth.
  8. Pruning plays a significant role during tree transplanting.
  9. Pruning keeps your environment safe and enhances hygiene. Overgrown plants look hideous. With lush and shapeless plants, harmful animals and insects like snakes, spiders, and scorpions form a habitat. Nevertheless, people with ill motives can hide behind unpruned plants. Overgrown branches can be dangerous to prick people or pets while passing. Also, such braches tend to block paths and roads.


  1. Pruning can spread diseases. If a gardener fails to disinfect the pruning tools between use, conditions such as fire blight will apply from one tree to another. In most cases, the open graze will become a source of decay and, more significantly, if somebody smeared pruning paint on the greenwood.
  2. Pruning can arouse new buds in unwanted parts. Getting rid of upper growth hints the plant to form several fresh shoots pointing upwards.
  3. Wrong timing pruning will encourage false timing growth. Pruning during the late season will develop fresh and weak growth that will not mature before winter begins.
  4. Be sure to leave some shoots on a plant while pruning to retain energy, or else the plant will die.
  5. Poor pruning will only damage the plant if the cuts are not precise. Wrong cuts may bring about stripping and tearing of a tree’s bark, hence attracting pests and diseases to the tree.
  6. Over-pruning will stress the plant to death, especially during its first year of growth. With pruning, you can always do more much later if necessary.
  7. Winter pruning may create more damage to the plant. Only prune after winter has passed.


All plants need the utmost maintenance. You don’t want to deal with a problem you should have handled easily. Whether you decide to trim or prune your plant, both techniques require less effort that needs full attention. The outcome is healthy and more productive plants and attractive home exterior.