Why Tree Pruning is Important


While tree removal Toronto may not be the solution, there comes pruning, and it’s worth considering before taking radical measures. Pruning, also called trimming, is a horticultural and silvicultural practice on both young and established trees where parts of a tree are cut away for health, safety, and aesthetic reasons. Pruning is done on overgrown, diseased, damaged, or unsightly branches, buds, limbs, and even roots. This is done not only on landscape trees but also on garden plants, fruit trees, shrubs, woody plants, and more. So, what is the importance of pruning?

Benefits of Pruning Trees

Promotion of plant health

When you prune a tree, it becomes healthier. So, why does pruning promote growth? Pruning removes dead and dying stubs and branches. This creates space for the growth of new, healthy branches. It also ensures more prudent use of the tree’s water and nutrients. For an infected tree, pruning the affected limbs and branches will ensure that the disease does not spread to the rest of the tree and surrounding trees. Pruning reduces leaf disease as it increases the flow of air through the canopy. Plants that live under the tree canopy will also benefit.

Improved productivity

Pruning encourages the production of healthy flowers and fruits, making this a vital task for those who are farming fruit trees for commercial purposes.

Protecting your property and family

Pruning removes branches that are hanging dangerously over your property. Such branches can damage your property in heavy rain or strong wind and may fall on your family members or passersby. Overgrown tree parts may also stretch into your power lines, further putting your property and family at risk.

Tree shaping for enhanced structural integrity

When done properly, pruning allows you to manipulate the shape of the branches and the limbs. This allows you to get the ideal structural integrity. As an example, you will avoid having trees that are top-heavy. This lessens the risk of broken limbs and branches.

Deterrence of animal pest and animal infestation

Animal and pest infestations are common in dark and unkempt areas, including trees. Removing dead branches and leaves allows light and healthy air to flow, eliminating places where pests and small animals can hide.

Reduced risk of fungi growth

Trees that are not pruned accumulate moisture, particularly during the rainy season. This not only encourages pest infestation since they need water to survive but also leads to fungi growth. Fungi can cause the tree to decay and can cause cardiopulmonary problems in your family.

Increased resale value of your home

Another reason why trees need pruning is that it allows you to maintain a tree’s ideal shape and size. They will fit into your yard or garden better and will look better. This makes your home a haven and increases the resale value of your home.

Cleaner yards and gardens

By getting rid of dead and dying branches, you reduce the leaves and twigs that fall on your yard or garden for greater cleanliness. You will no longer have to spend time and resources cleaning.

Improved usability of sidewalks and roadways

Trees on sidewalks and roadways should be pruned to make them more useful. Dead and falling branches can make walking and biking paths harder to navigate.

The Different Pruning Methods

To enjoy tree pruning benefits, you must use the right pruning method. There is a difference when it comes to pruning mature trees and young trees. You should be mindful when pruning young trees, as pruning will impact the tree’s growth process, and improper pruning may even shorten its life. Conversely, correct pruning will ensure a young tree will not require too much corrective pruning when it matures. For mature trees, the pruning method you choose should be based on the desired objectives. The different pruning methods are:


Cleaning is done on mature trees with dead or dying branches from old age. Cleaning is also done on mature trees with many water sprouts that can damage the tree’s shape. This involves the removal of dead, damaged, crowded, and overgrown limbs from the crown of a woody plant. This pruning is done for safety reasons, as defective branches can fall off at any time, and to improve the tree’s health.


Prune thinning is performed on landscape trees to ensure the landscaping has a less dark ambiance. It involves the removal of limbs, shoots, and branches to ensure air and sunlight penetrate better through the crown of the tree. Thinning is also advantageous in that it lessens the weight of the branches, ensures the tree retains its natural shape and allows for the effective growth of the foliage underneath.


The raising pruning method gets its name from the phrase “raising the tree’s crown.” This method involves clearing the lower branches and limbs of the tree. This gives greater space and headroom for buildings, pedestrians, and vehicles. It makes the tree look taller as it raises its crown and gives you better views of the surrounding areas. However, note that raising leaves marks or wounds on the trunk of the wood, especially in mature woody plants. Raising on young trees regularly ensures you do not have to raise the tree’s crown in the future.


The term reduction comes from the fact that you will be reducing the height or size of the tree. It involves cutting potentially dangerous parts of the tree, such as those that overextend, especially for electricity and other utility lines. During reduction, the leader and the terminal branches are pruned back to lateral branches that can take the role of branch terminals and sustain the other branches. Since it is sometimes necessary to cut big stems, note that reduction can lead to marks or wounds that can lead to cracks and decay. Just like cleaning, the reduction is best done when the tree is younger. Reduction attempts to retain the natural structure and integrity of the tree.


Topping involves the removal of branches back to stubs that cannot take terminal branches. This means that, unlike reduction, topping does not retain the natural structural integrity of a tree. Topping can hurt a tree since it leads to wounds on stubs, some of which may fail to close. There is also a risk of sunburn since removing too many leaves exposes the branches to too much sunlight.

Important Tree Pruning Tips

The best time to prune a tree is during winter or the latter part of fall because the tree will be less vulnerable to getting hurt. During the dormant seasons, trees are in a dormant state or hibernation, and they will lose less sap.

You should not trim a branch too long or too close. Always angle the cut-down and away from the stem. You should not leave a large stub or remove or injure the collar of the branch.

You should be conscientious about the size of the branch you are about to prune. There is no problem if it is less than 5 centimetres in diameter. If it is between 5 and 10 centimetres in diameter, consider the impact on the tree. Any branch more than 10 centimetres in diameter should only be removed for safety or other good reasons.

Do not remove branches that have strong U-shaped angles. Go for those with weaker V-shaped angles.

When determining the lateral branches to remove, it is safe to remove those that are not more than ½ and ¾ the diameter of the stem at the point of their attachment. Do not touch anything more than ¾ the diameter of the stem.

When pruning a tree, ensure that the ratio of living crown to tree height is two-thirds.

When doing thinning, you should not remove more than ¼ of the living crown at once – spread the thinning over several years if doing more than ¼ is absolutely necessary.

When doing crown raising, do not remove all the branches at the bottom, as removing too many branches may hinder the development of a strong stem. There should be a few live branches at two-thirds the height of the tree.

Note that not all shrub and tree species can tolerate pruning, and you should therefore consider the species and the health of the plant.

Pruning is both an art and a science: art in making the proper pruning cuts, and science is knowing when and how to prune for maximum benefits. Consider enlisting the services of a professional tree pruning company if you want to enjoy pruning benefits. A professional will know the proper pruning method to use for your tree. Hiring a professional for the job offers convenience since you will not need to source for pruning tools and equipment, and it helps you avoid accidents. At Al Miley & Associates, we have been pruning trees for over 4 decades. We are Government certified since 1995 Arborists serving Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Our team has the training, experience, certification, and equipment necessary for the job. Call us today for a free estimate on our pruning, tree restoration, stump removal, lot clearing, tree crane, and other related services.