Types of Pruning Cuts

man with shears pruning a small tree limb

Trees, like all plants, require regular maintenance in order to stay healthy and happy. Aside from ensuring your trees have adequate sunshine and water, performing routine maintenance, such as mulching, trimming, fertilising, and pruning, is essential to ensuring your tree lives a long life.

Why should you prune your trees?

Every tree requires a little tender loving care to be at its best. Pruning is an easy way to boost the health, appearance and growth of your tree. By performing regular pruning, you’ll remove dead branches and make room for new growth. Cutting away the decaying or dead tree parts will keep your tree healthy by helping to prevent the spread of disease and pest infestations. A regular pruning job can go a long way in making your tree look attractive, evening out growth and producing aesthetically pleasing shapes. 

Trimming vs pruning

While trimming and pruning have similar positive benefits for a tree, they are actually different tree maintenance techniques. An easy way to understand the distinction between trimming and pruning, is to think of trimming like a haircut and pruning like the extraction of a tooth.

Trimming tends to refer to the cutting of overgrown branches and is usually for cosmetic reasons. Much like just getting a trim at the hairdresser, trimming your tree involves minor tweaks to the appearance. 

Pruning involves the removal of dead, dying or unwanted branches and is usually to preserve and promote the health of the tree. Pruning requires an experienced arborist removing the branches from the tree, occasionally with specialised equipment. 

Trimming and pruning are also recommended to occur at different times. Trimming is best left for the end of summer to prepare trees for autumn or at the end of winter in order to promote new growth for spring. Pruning tends to occur year round and is in response to specific tree concerns. 

Common types of pruning cuts

There are three common methods of pruning trees which are used for different maintenance applications. As professional arborists, we at Jim’s Trees will choose the pruning technique depending on the tree’s specific requirements and concerns.  


Thinning involves the removal of specific tree branches to increase airflow and light penetration. Removing selected branches will help to promote necessary growth without compromising the shape and weight distribution of your tree. Thinning also helps to prevent heavy branches falling during a storm by lightening the load. 

There is currently no officially known cure for the Cypress Canker, however basic maintenance and prevention can make a significant difference in the spread. 

We recommend:

  • Pruning infected branches, a minimum 10 centimetres below a canker
  • Removing and destroying infected trees 
  • Planting trees in non-infected areas with low nitrogen levels in the soil


The process of lifting means the removal of low-hanging branches on your tree. Lifting is performed on a tree in order to reestablish shape as well as boost light and air penetration. The maintenance of lifting is especially important in the case of trees which are near to roads and footpaths, as removing the lower branches can provide important clearance for pedestrians and vehicle traffic. 

As this technique can be destructive to some older and more mature trees, it’s best to leave lifting to the professionals. A trained arborist will be able to perform the job without risking the health of your tree.


The technique of tree reduction involves shortening the length of branches (to reduce the height) or removing some branches (to reduce the weight). Reduction maintenance is common for trees growing close to utility lines or homes and buildings. It’s also great for trees which have outgrown their space, enabling trees to maintain their form and structural integrity. 

It’s important to note that badly performed reduction can lead to stunted and deformed growth for your tree so it’s essential that this method is performed by a professional. Reduction can also lead to increased infection and decay which is why some arborists feel that it is an extreme maintenance method. 

Consult an arborist

As mentioned above, all these methods are best performed by the experts. Attempting to perform reduction or lifting on your trees yourself can lead to further tree health issues later down the track. It’s also dangerous, with pruning requiring heavy and sharp equipment that shouldn’t be operated by an amateur. A falling branch can damage your property or become hazardous quickly. 

To receive the best results for your tree, consult an arborist. At Jim’s Trees, we have years of experience and are highly trained in all things tree related. We’ll be able to assess your tree and recommend a suitable maintenance plan to ensure it’s healthy and looking the best it can. Our arborist will then perform any necessary maintenance safely and efficiently. Unlike other tree maintenance services, we’ll perform any necessary clean up of the green waste and can even transform your tree branches into wood chips and mulch

You can arrange a consultation regarding your tree with our friendly team. Get in touch today!

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