How Often Do I Need to Trim My Trees? | Tomlinson Bomberger

How Often Do I Need to Trim My Trees?

Category: Tree & Shrub

katsura tree - fall colorAs a professional tree service we often get asked the question, “How often should I trim my trees?”

We wish there was an easy answer but the response will vary based on many criteria. Every species of tree grows at different rates and has differing implications for how often it will need pruned. Among shade trees, there are trees that can need trimmed every other year. There are also ones that can go seven years or more between pruning. Evergreen trees most times will need little or very infrequent pruning if planted in the right location.

Best Practices

There are some best practices that any reputable tree pruning company should help you consider.

Proper Pruning

A general rule of tree pruning is to try to, whenever possible, only remove one-fourth of growth from a plant at any given time. Taking out more growth will not only negatively impact a tree’s health, it will produce even more growth.

When performing proper tree pruning, three main tree pruning techniques will be used. One is to remove dead or dying branches. A second is to thin out the crown. The last is to the lower limbs of trees to clear objects and views obstructed. The more frequently these cuts are made, the better chance your tree will recover from the calculated injury of a pruning cut. It also allows trees to be trained for future growth by strategic cut selection.


young treeOne of the items property owners often overlook is the opportunity to prune trees while they are young. Doing this will create better form and health for your tree which will decrease the need for future pruning of mature trees, thus lowering your overall pruning costs over the years.


Be sure to understand that having the right tree in the right location is also critical. If you plant a tree that grows 40 feet wide only 15 feet from a structure, you’re going to be hiring a tree trimming service often to cut it back. Not only does it make the tree look unsightly, it will push more growth to other areas of the tree as it responds to create more foliage for photosynthesis. Whenever possible, try to consider the full mature size of trees and give them more than enough room to grow. This may even force the decision for tree removal when you realize you are going to spend more pruning that misplaced tree multiple times over the next couple decades. Plus, you’re probably going to have to remove it eventually anyway.

Certified Arborists

certified arboristThe best way to answer how often to prune trees is to find a tree service that employs Certified Arborists. They will walk the property with you and tell you approximately how often you will need to prune various trees throughout your property. They may even be able to help you figure out a rotation for this type of work so that you can space out some of it each year or divide the complete property needs into half one year, then the other half in a few years later. This can help you plan for tree trimming costs better. If you would like a free consultation for tree pruning and/or removal we would love to talk with you further.