What’s the Difference Between Pruning and Trimming?

It is one thing to grow beautiful flowers, trees, shrubs, or any plant for that matter and another thing to take proper care of it. If you’re a gardener or plant lover, you’ll agree with me that maintenance is one of the major but often overlooked aspects of growing plants. This is why https://www.canopytree.com.au, experts in tree maintenance and removal is bringing to you this guide.


There are so many things to do to maintain your plant, including watering, weeding, fertilization, growth control among other things. While people easily handle most of the listed maintenance practices, they neglect growth control.

Plants have a mind of their own and most times will not grow in the direction we want them. When this is the case, controlling their growth will shape their growth pattern and help them grow into the plant you will adore. This is especially important when space, aesthetics, and the general health of the plant are important to you.

Flowers, trees, and shrubs look good when the right blend of colors is involved, but they can transform into something magical if their pattern is controlled and shaped. This is where pruning and trimming come in, two quite common terms in plants growth control sprung out from.

These two words have continued to be wrongly used interchangeably confusing people more. They may be talking about the same plant growth control, but they do this in different ways. Knowing how they differ will help you choose which method to use at a particular time to get the best result.

What is Pruning?


Pruning is the removal of dead or infected leaves, branches, stems of the plant to prevent the disease and dryness from spreading to other parts of the plant.

Pruning also helps the plant look appealing as bad-looking dried leaves and infested parts are cut out from the plant. Pruning is also done to remove loose branches that can harm people or make the plant look out of shape.

Some of the advantages of pruning include controlling disease spread, removing dangerously hanging branches that can injure someone, and getting a pleasant shape among other things.

What is Trimming?


Trimming is the reduction in the length, size, or shape of overgrown parts of the plant. Trimming helps to actualize a particular shape you may have and can be a good way to design your garden to look aesthetically pleasing.

Flowers, shrubs, and trees will look even better after you trim them. You can trim the tree to look like an actual canopy capable of shielding you from the sun. Trimming does not only improve the appearance of these plants but can also encourage healthy growth as removing the green shoot of some plants will lead to more vigorous growth.

How Do They Differ?


There are different factors to consider when checking the difference between pruning and trimming and their effects on your plant. These differences are what sets them apart and help you achieve your aim of getting a healthy, good-looking plant.

Here are some differences between the two:

The Best Time

It is common to find people asking when is the best time to prune or trim their trees or flowers. And while the best time is plant species-dependent, you can get a general idea of when to prune.

For plants that bloom in the spring, you want to prune in the summer just after they have bloomed. For other plants that bloom in the summer, pruning in the winter after they must have bloomed will give you the best result.

Generally, trimming for flowers and shrubs is advised during their flowering season as they are active and growing at that time. Trimming trees, however, should be done in the growing stage just before the tree reaches a height of 1 foot.


How often should you prune and trim your plants? This is still plant-specific as some plants are vigorous growing and can grow so high or spread so wide within a year or may have frequent pest and disease attacks. In these cases, you may have to prune or trim more frequently.

Ideally, trimming should be done twice a year and pruning once a year to help the plant recover from the stress of losing parts of its branches, leaves, and sometimes roots.

Types of Equipment Used

The type of equipment you’ll need for pruning and trimming may differ especially if you’re dealing with different plants.

For pruning, hand shears are used to remove flowers and leaves, lopping shears are used for stems and branches while saws are used to remove larger tree branches.

The equipment used for trimming on the other hand includes a hedge trimmer and shears in specific situations.


As you have seen, pruning and trimming are two different things that you can do to maintain the shape of your plant, encourage healthy growth and stop the spread of pest and disease attacks.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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