What Is Pruning? The Importance, Benefits, and Methods of Pruning

Pruning, sometimes referred to as trimming, is essentially a horticultural practice of altering a tree’s form. When pruning, you cut away overgrown, diseased, or damaged parts of the tree. These include structurally unstable and unproductive branches, limbs, buds, and even roots. Cutting these parts encourages healthy tree growth.

Landscape trees are not the only things you can prune. You can also prune fruit trees, garden plants, woody plants, shrubs, and more. If carried out properly, pruning can result in ample foliage, flowers, and even fruit. However, if done wrong, you may damage the trees and plants for the long haul. Pruning is a crucial silvicultural and horticultural method that requires in-depth knowledge.

Importance of Pruning

Pruning trees on your property can provide lots of benefits. Pruning promotes safety in your environment. Without pruning, dead branches may fall from your trees, which can cause accidents and damage property. Overgrown tree parts, on the other hand, may stretch into your power lines. If you remove excess tree limbs, you can relax knowing that severe injuries and property damages related to your tree branches won’t come about.

Pruning also influences how trees grow. Through correct pruning, you can manipulate the shapes of the tree branches and limbs to maintain the tree’s structural integrity. By maintaining the tree’s structure, you lessen the risks of broken tree branches and limbs.

Besides safety and plant health benefits, pruning has numerous other benefits that may entice you to prune your plants and trees.

Pruning can help in deterring animal and pest infestations, which often occur in dark and filthy places. If you prune regularly, you allow light and healthy air to come into your property. When you remove dead branches and leaves, less room remains for pests to hide. 

Unpruned plants and trees can accumulate moisture, particularly after rain. Pests love moisture since they need water to survive. What’s more, fungi may grow on the tree due to high moisture levels that can result in the decay of the tree. Through pruning, you set your tree up with an excellent foundation for the long haul.

Besides maintaining the health of the tree and plants, pruning also helps maintain your property landscapes. If you prune regularly, you can preserve the plant or tree’s ideal shape and size so it will fit accordingly into your garden or yard. Pruning also promotes cleanliness as you get rid of dead branches and limbs that can look displeasing. Cleanliness will elevate your entire property’s landscape.

Before pruning, be sure to determine your objective first. You may want to prune for aesthetic reasons, safety reasons, plant health reasons, and more. 

Different techniques will allow you to achieve each pruning objective. Some methods can change the growth pattern of plants and trees. Some procedures can reshape the plants, but some can restrict growth totally. Other pruning methods may preserve or improve the quality of leaves, flowers, and fruits.

Pruning trees can be challenging, considering the tree’s size and location. The task can be dangerous, especially if you don’t have the professional experience to prune trees. It’s best to ask the help of an expert to guarantee your safety. If you need our assistance, you might call our landscaping team at Tree Menders to provide pruning guidance.

Different Pruning Methods

Pruning young trees and pruning mature trees are different processes.

When you’re pruning young trees, the cuts you make have the potential of entirely changing the tree’s growth process. You must have the right knowledge in pruning young trees since cutting will affect the tree for the long haul and may even shorten its life. However, correct pruning of young trees will be beneficial as they won’t require as much corrective pruning when they mature.

Pruning mature trees, on the other hand, will depend on your goals or objectives. You may carry out the following methods depending on your pruning purpose:


Mature trees usually have defective branches because of their old age. Aside from these damaged branches, mature trees can also have lots of water sprouts that can ruin the tree’s shape.

If you find these tree problems, you may want to contact a professional pruner to do some “cleaning.” Cleaning is essentially a simple method of removing the dead, diseased, damaged, overgrown, or even crowded limbs from woody plants’ crowns.

Defective branches may cause accidents, while growth problems may negatively affect the tree’s health. You need to address these problems in no time through appropriate cleaning.


If you want your landscaping to have less dark ambiance, you may wish to perform prune thinning of your landscape trees.

In thinning, you remove shoots, limbs, or branches to enhance the penetration of light and air movement in the tree’s crown. Thinning can open the foliage, lessen the weight on hefty branches, and keep the tree’s natural shape.


Raising came from the phrase “raising the tree’s crown.” In raising, you’re clearing the tree’s lower limbs or branches. By removing these lower branches, you give headroom or space for pedestrians, vehicles, and buildings. You also get to see better views of your surroundings through raising. Raising can make the tree look taller as you raise its crown.

The only downfall of raising is that it can cause marks or wounds in the tree’s trunk, especially in mature woody plants. You may want to begin “raising” regularly on young trees to avoid these marks and preserve their aesthetics.


This method is called reduction because you practically reduce the size or height of the tree. You cut possibly dangerous parts of the trees that are overextended. We usually carry out reductions for clearance of utility lines.

To best reduce the height or size of a tree, you prune both the leaders and the terminal branches back to lateral branches capable of sustaining the other limbs and taking the roles of branch terminals.

Performing reduction in mature trees can require cutting big stems, which can result in marks or wounds. These wounds or marks can cause decays and cracks. You may want to make reductions while the tree is young. The great thing about reduction is that it should retain the original structure or form of the tree.


Topping a tree is quite a forceful method of removing branches back to stubs that are not sufficiently big to take terminal branches. Unlike reduction, topping doesn’t retain the natural structural integrity of the tree. It basically forces the tree to grow in a specific way.

Many people don’t practice tree topping because it can hurt the tree. It may lead to decays because the stubs with wounds may not close. It can also lead to sunburn because the removal of leaves exposes branches to too much sunlight.

“Pruning, sometimes referred to as trimming, is essentially a horticultural practice of altering a tree’s form”

When Is the Ideal Time to Prune

The best time to prune trees is during the latter parts of the fall or winter. In these dormant seasons, the tree is least vulnerable to get hurt from pruning. Trees can feel stress, and cutting their parts may damage them. If the tree is in a hibernating or dormant state, it will lose less sap and not get hurt as much.

However, you may cut dead branches for safety reasons at any time. Just make sure that you carry it out correctly so the tree won’t die.

If you’re looking to prune your trees, trust an expert who has the know-how and equipment to prune woody plants correctly. At Tree Menders, we provide tree pruning services that will positively impact your properties. Please call us for a consultation!