tree pruning


You might have heard the terms “tree trimming” and “tree pruning” used as synonyms. They are not the same thing, however. Let’s take a closer look.

Tree pruning is a process of cutting parts or branches off the tree to promote better health and growth. Tree pruning:

  • Makes the tree healthier
  • Promotes better growth
  • Creates a nicer appearance
  • Allows more sunlight
  • Removes safety hazards

Trimming, meanwhile, is really more about hedges, shrubs and bushes. It’s a great way to keep the shrubbery and vegetation looking good, showing guests, neighbours and your family that you take pride in your home or business.


Why would we cut parts of a tree? In short, tree pruning is all about “addition by subtraction.” Here are the top 5 benefits of tree pruning:

Health: When we prune trees or other vegetation, we are promoting healthy tree growth by cutting off branches that are dead, dying or infected.

Growth: Tree pruning is both a proactive way of bolstering the growth capacity of the tree, as well as a remedy when parts or branches of a tree are showing signs of infection.

Appearance / Shape: A tree might be growing off-kilter, so pruning is a good way to restore a sense of balance or a better shape.

Let the sun shine: Pruning a tree allows sun to reach the areas beneath the tree; if the tree has overbrown branches, you might notice too much shade below and nearby.

Hazard: If you have a tree that is growing too close to a power line or building, it’s time to prune the tree by cutting the branches near the safety hazard.

a man pruning a tree with hedge trimmers


Are “Tree Trimming” and “Tree Pruning” the same thing?

While these two phrases are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Pruning is done more in the interest of protecting the tree, hedge, bush or shrub; while trimming generally is limited to shrubs and hedges for aesthetic purposes. Tree pruning can save a tree if infection is present; pruning a tree is also a proactive method of proper tree care. Trimming shrubs and hedges doesn’t necessarily carry the health value that pruning does, but it can very much improve the appearance of hedges, shrubs, bushes, etc. A well-maintained property with trimmed hedges typically sees a higher value.

Should you hire a professional tree service in Ottawa for tree pruning or hedge trimming?

As certified arborists in Ottawa, Croft Tree Experts performs both of these services. First and foremost, we want to help you maintain the health of the trees on your property so that you can see those trees grow and thrive for many years to come. We have the equipment and experience to handle Ottawa tree trimming of any size and scope. For larger trees in particular, it is highly recommended that you leave this aspect of tree pruning to the pros. That way you won’t have to worry about injury to yourself and/or damage to your property. We can also prune smaller trees and hedges with expertise so that they stay healthy and will flourish over time. Or, if you prefer, we can pay a visit to your property to prune the larger trees and at the same time show you how to prune the smaller ones – it’s up to you? Now as for shrub and hedge trimming, we certainly perform these services as well. We’ll get your yard or property looking great for neighbours, guests and your family alike.

How exactly does tree pruning benefit the tree? Isn’t it just cutting back for looks?

While pruning the branches of a tree may look like an art – when performed artfully by certified arborists in Ottawa like Croft Tree Services – pruning goes well beyond appearances. Pruning benefits a tree by taking a strategic approach to the overall health and long-term growth of the tree. By identifying branches or parts of the tree that are dying, sick or infected, we then make the decision that it’s time for these parts of the tree to be removed. That way the rest of the tree has a much better chance of achieving and maintaining good tree health for the long run. You might call this tree pruning process, “addition by subtraction.”

How often should we get our trees pruned?

As a general rule of thumb, you can have your mature trees performed every 3-5 years; while younger trees (which are more prone to infection and stunted growth) require tree pruning once every 2-3 years. If you have a newly purchased property and aren’t sure when the last tree pruning was performed, call in Croft Tree Experts for a site visit; we’ll assess the health of the trees on your Ottawa property and advise the best course of action.

Is it better to prune trees in Ottawa in the spring, summer or fall?

Early spring is right about the ideal time to prune trees in Ottawa. That’s because the winter has ended (hopefully!) and all the snow and ice is off the branches; but the leaves have yet to come out. This way we can clearly see the tree and all its branches, then can make a more accurate assessment of the overall tree health as well as which branches and sections will require tree pruning.

Can I trim my own trees and hedges?

If we’re talking about trimming and not pruning, then we’re generally talking about hedges, shrubs, bushes and the like. If you’ve got a green thumb, the right equipment and enough time, you can perform this task on your own. Be careful of the trimming shears, of course, as they’re pretty sharp; and if you’re working at heights, take extra precaution with that ladder; wear safety equipment; and have a friend, neighbour or family member help out / spot you if possible. Of course you can always call Croft Tree Experts for hedge trimming in Ottawa. For tree trimming, a question we’re often asked, we’re really talking about tree pruning (see above Q&A). You can prune smaller trees on your own, but it is highly recommended that you hire a certified arborist for larger tree pruning; this is the safer way for you, your family and your property.

Trimming Or Pruning?

Here’s a handy guide to help you remember which one is which – tree pruning or trimming

Cutting back branches to remove dead / infected parts TREE PRUNING
Promoting long-term growth with “addition by subtraction” TREE PRUNING
Cutting tree branches for better appearance or safety TREE PRUNING
Tree is diseased and you think it may need to be removed TRIMMING
Cutting hedges for a nicer look TRIMMING
Decorating your Christmas Tree TRIMMING

Our Arborist Services

We employ certified arborists who have passed comprehensive and regularly repeating exams developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. An arborist is an individual who is trained in caring for, planting, and maintaining trees.

When you hire Croft Tree Experts to remove a tree in Ottawa, you're getting the services of a certified arborist on staff. That's how we ensure that we're removing your tree safely as well as within compliance of Ottawa tree permit bylawss

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Contact Us

Get in touch with Croft Tree Services today! We’ll answer any questions you may have, and work with you to find the right solution and the most convenient scheduling options for your tree and landscaping needs. Please be as specific as possible in the field below, so that we can help you in the most effective way.


    208 Royalton Private
    Ottawa, ON K1V 9S3

    (613) 883 5611 or  (613) 410 4677


    Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
    Saturday: 9am to 3pm
    Sunday: Closed