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What’s The Difference Between Shearing and Pruning?

Written by Fred Hoppe, Board Certified Master Arborist WI-0556B, and ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor; and John Sepulveda, Certified Arborist WI-1454A

When it comes to pruning shrubs, it’s easy to confuse shearing and pruning, but they are two concepts that produce very different results. People are often surprised to learn that Hoppe Tree Service specializes in pruning shrubs.

Shearing removes a portion of new growth and creates an artificial shape rather than the natural form of the plant. Shearing produces a formal appearance with a dense outer shell of foliage with little growth on interior portions of the crown. Because only a portion of the new growth is removed, the plant continues to grow each year, and over time, can outgrow its space.

Pruning removes older growth as well as new shoots. Because cuts are made deeper into the crown, the plant has a freer, more natural appearance that can be maintained according to the plant species or variety. Because pruning removes some older branches, a specific size can be

maintained for the space allotted for the plant.

Shearing is appropriate for formal gardens and hedges. However, for individual plants pruning is the better technique to sustain plant health and appearance over time. Professional shrub pruning requires a certified arborist’s ability to accommodate the plant’s physiological needs with the desired aesthetic look. Hoppe Tree Service arborists are trained to evaluate the condition of your

shrubs. They can determine the types of services required to make sure shrubs stay strong and healthy and maintain the appearance you’re looking for.

Since 1972, Hoppe Tree Service has been taking care of people and their trees. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of service to great customers in southeastern Wisconsin.

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