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Shearing vs. Pruning: What Are the Differences?


Tree-Care Professionals of Des Moines, IA Detail the Importance of Shearing and Other Methods of Foliage Care.

Why Shear at All? 

Let’s face it, trees and bushes often don’t receive the regular care they need to thrive in the yard. Tree-care is messy, time-consuming, and most homeowners don’t have the tools to do it well laying around. But tree maintenance is important, it ensures the longevity of the plant and keeps the landscape looking neat and tidy. Knowing how to care for plants can be tough, especially with all the methods out there. Shearing is one beneficial method to maintain trees and shrubs, but it is often confused with pruning and trimming. Read on to discover key differences between popular tree maintenance methods and more important details about caring for foliage. 

Tree Care Methods: Shearing, Pruning, and Trimming.

When it comes to caring for trees and shrubs, most people toss around the word “pruning.” Pruning is not, however, a catch-all term for tree maintenance.

There are three popular methods for maintaining landscape foliage:

  • Shearing: Tree shearing is often confused with pruning. Shearing, however, focuses on shaping a plant into the desired shape. Landscaped shrubs and bushes of uniform shape and design have been sheared into shape. This is done by cutting the outside edges of a plant to create the desired effect, encouraging growth only on the outside edge of the plant. This method is especially beneficial for confining plants to a specific space. 
  • Pruning: Tree pruning differs largely from shearing due to its intent. Shearing designs a plant, pruning is used for its growth benefits. Pruning often focuses on removing dying or overlarge branches from a plant to encourage growth and expose more of the plant to sunlight. It is best used to encourage plants to expand and grow. 

To Shear or Not to Shear?

Not all plants benefit from shearing. It’s important to only shear fast-growing plants capable of handling the frequent grooming. Plants that benefit from shearing are as follows:

  • Coniferous & Evergreens: Evergreens, pine trees, box shrubs, and other evergreen plant varieties are sturdy enough to handle shearing regularly. Their longevity and perpetual greenery are additional benefits to their ability to adapt and grow. 
  • Deciduous: Deciduous shrubs like hydrangeas, azaleas, and butterfly bushes are examples of popular deciduous plants sheared to add a bright splash of color to any landscape. Shearing takes place when the plant is dormant during the winter months for most of these plants. 

Prevent Over-shearing

It’s easy to go overboard on tree and plant maintenance. Unfortunately, overdoing it can lead to the death of the plant. Working with a tree service company or skilled arborist can help prevent the occurrence of over-shearing. Over-shearing refers to the excessive cutting of a plant resulting in a loss of surface area to maintain its health. 

Once over-shearing occurs, saving the plant may not be possible. A professional tree service company will be able to shear plants appropriately and identify any trouble areas requiring the use of a different method to maintain a plant’s health.

About Advantage Tree Service

Protecting trees and providing excellent customer service is what Advantage Tree Service does best. They are the only tree service in the Des Moines, IA area to offer an unconditional guarantee backing their work. Advantage Tree Service works to tailor every experience to the client, providing services ranging from annual maintenance to emergency tree care for their clients. With over seventeen years of experience, Advantage Tree Service has the expertise to take care of your next tree-care need!