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What Is the Difference Between Lopping and Pruning?

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It is important to know the distinction between tree lopping and tree pruning, as they are both very different techniques, with vastly different results.

It is understandable why the two are often mixed up, as they both refer to the removing of branches from a tree. Of course, to someone with little understanding of arboriculture, there can’t be all that much to cutting away a branch, surely? What difference does it make?

Well, in this blog we are going to take you through the differences so that you can make the right decision when it comes to tending to your tree and that you don’t cause any unnecessary trauma.

What is Tree Lopping?

The best way to understand tree lopping is in the name itself. ‘Lopping’ suggests slicing away at a tree with little care or precision. This statement is accurate, as tree lopping is the process of cutting off the branches of a tree purely in order to reduce its size without regulation.

This is an aesthetic process which pays little attention to the tree’s health. It’s simply about cutting branches away to make it look thinner or smaller and ultimately easier on the eye or less maintenance to clean up after.

It’s important to note that lopping can in fact, be rather detrimental to the tree itself. Trees that are lopped can become dangerous, as the new growths that emerge (epicormic growths) are often poorly attached to the outer layer of a tree and are susceptible to snapping.

Lopping can also cause undue stress and trauma to the tree which will make it vulnerable to disease and decay. In addition to that, the open and exposed wounds that are left as a result of the lopping process are often an invitation for pests to invade a tree and subsequently affect its health.

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tree lopping in perth

Tree lopping should be done in moderation

You have to find the right balance when it comes to tree lopping, as if you become too reckless and remove more than 50% of the tree’s canopy, for example, then you will be starving the tree of its vital energy reserves. This can cause irreparable damage to the tree, as the sun will invariably scald the exposed areas.

Consider moving or removing a tree

If you want your tree lopping, because it is too large, blocking your view, a nuisance to clean up after or you simply don’t like the way it looks on your property, then you may wish to consider having the tree either moved, or removed entirely instead.

You will need an expert arborist to assess the tree itself so that they can advise you on the most realistic course of action. We cannot stress this enough, lopping a tree can cause serious damage to the tree itself, becoming a hazard to the surrounding plant life, or anyone who may frequently pass under it. Be careful and consult your local tree lopping or pruning specialist before taking any action.

By understanding the benefits of pruning a tree first, you may realise that it is in fact, the exact tree care service that you had in mind. Many people rush in with tree lopping because they weren’t aware of the trauma that it can cause the tree itself or didn’t fully understand what tree lopping means.

What is Tree Pruning?

Tree pruning refers to the process of carefully removing dead or dying branches from a tree, for the purpose of promoting strong and healthy future growth, in accordance with Australian arboriculture standards.

It certainly has some aesthetic benefits, but the process is carried out primarily for the benefit of the tree itself, and not just so that you can have a more pleasant view of your garden or to get more sunlight.

When a tree is properly pruned (carefully cut beyond the branch collar), the tree will be better equipped to close the wound, thus fighting against the invasion of nasty pests or further decay.

Pruning is an essential part of a tree’s general maintenance. If left to its own devices without any interference, a tree can often grow wild and malformed branches becoming a danger to itself or even worse, you and your loved ones. Pruning is simply the process of guiding the tree and ensuring the best outcome, health and shape-wise.

The difference with lopping on the other hand, is that tree lopping is just stifling the tree, and ensuring that it doesn’t grow beyond a certain point.
So, it is important to choose wisely.

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Different trees require different pruning techniques

There truly is a fine art to pruning, which is why you should always hire a professional to assist you. As qualified arborists, we can identify the species of tree on your property and subsequently prescribe the appropriate pruning techniques.

We will ensure that your trees get the absolute best care and that they are encouraged to grow strong and healthy, absent any hazardous branches that may be detrimental to its future growth.

In Summary the Difference Between Tree Lopping and Tree Pruning Is:

  • Tree Lopping: The unregulated shaping of a tree, precisely as you see fit, regardless to how it effects the future health of the tree
  • Tree Pruning: Gently guiding and tidying a tree within Australian arboriculture standards, encouraging healthy future growth.

If you’d like to know more about the two, or you want an expert opinion on how best to tend to the trees on your property, then please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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