Are Pruning and Shearing the Same Thing?

Are Pruning and Shearing the Same Thing?

With the variety of trees and shrubs you most likely have in your landscaping, you may be wondering how pruning, shearing, etc. differ from each other and how they can benefit your greenery in different ways.

Let’s talk about the difference between pruning and shearing, and whether or not shearing is a viable option in your landscaping.

The Difference Between Pruning and Shearing

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So, what is the difference between pruning and shearing a plant?

What is Pruning?

Pruning involves selectively removing branches throughout a tree or a shrub to ensure it is the proper size, the best structure, and as healthy as possible. It promotes growth throughout the plant, allows you to dictate the size of the tree/shrub, and caters to the natural shape.

What is Shearing?

Shearing, on the other hand, involves removing large parts of the plant with one fell swoop. Without any regard to the structure, a shearing cut is made somewhere along the plant’s stem at a specific width or height.

It is specifically done for aesthetic reasons, and does not do anything for structure, health, growth, or shape. With shearing, growth is pretty limited to the outer parts of the plant, and the inside is stunted.

While it can be a nice touch in some specific landscapes, it is not always recommended by professional landscapers and plant experts. Another option that is less harmful and easier is simply choosing plants that will grow to the best size and shape for your landscape naturally.

Pros and Cons of Shearing

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Here are a few pros and cons of shearing.

Pros include:

It’s a good option for massive barrier hedges that would otherwise take hours to prune

Cons include:

It doesn’t promote growth, and can even seriously damage the plant.
It needs to be done much more frequently than pruning.

It really comes down to what kind of shrubs and trees you have in your landscaping and the look you are going for. Shearing is truly only a good option for large barrier hedges that would take hours and hours to prune.

Getting Help with Your Tree and Shrub Pruning

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If you are still having trouble getting started with your tree and shrub pruning, consider contacting local tree care professionals to help you get started!

For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, Arborist Now can help you decide what is best for your plants and even prune them for you! Reach out to us today for more assistance.


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