What’s the Difference Between Tree Trimming And a Tree Lopping?

Trimming and lopping are both quite essential to tree care and they both involve shaping your trees, hedges, or shrubs. Both lead to healthy and disease-free growth of the tree, and protection of the property, but only if done by a tree expert. Nevertheless, you may be surprised how vastly different the two procedures are, and how diverse their individual effects on your tree can be.

What is tree trimming?


Tree trimming and tree pruning are done mainly for the purposes of aesthetics, improving tree health, and yielding better quality flowers and fruits.

They are also done to prevent some branches from falling and some other times trees are prepared for transplantation by pruning and trimming.

In this procedure, diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted parts of the tree-like branches, buds, and roots are selectively removed.

Lower branches of the tree are trimmed so animals do not get to browse or eat them.

What is tree lopping


Tree lopping is a method of tree pruning where the top of the tree is cut off, or some of its branches or stems are removed. This is done for several reasons. Sometimes it is done to make the tree look better or give it the desired shape, or to promote the growth of the tree.

You may also have to cut off a treetop to prevent it from obstructing views, to allow more light to enter your property, or to protect your property from getting damaged.

This procedure is best done by a professional to ensure that your home, property and tree are not prone to any damage or risks.


So what’s the difference between tree trimming and tree lopping?

Tree trimming

  • Purpose:

The major purpose of tree pruning or trimming is improving the overall well-being of the tree.

The correct trimming method:

  • stimulates proper growth
  • strengthens the core of the tree
  • Removes diseased branches or dead limbs also makes your tree healthier
  • The tree becomes more immune to certain diseases and lives a long life

Level of expertise required:

Tree trimming does not require a high level of industry skill set, anyone with above-average knowledge about gardening, tree anatomy, and tree health can perform it.

  • Frequency:

Tree trimming should be done in the dormant period of the tree, so twice a year should do a good enough job. Since pruning assists in better fruit production, winter months are the perfect time for it.

  • Equipment:

For trimming a tree, you only require some gardening gloves, shears, and a medium saw if some branches are a bit hard.

  • Costs:

Pruning is a relatively simple process. Depending on the tree type, the location of the tree, and the amount of hard work and time required, the cost is determined. However, since it does not necessarily call for a certified expert, it is not super expensive.

  • Risks:

The preferred location for a pruning cut is just above the branch collar at the point of attachment of the branch. If you make the cut improperly, or at the wrong location, it can lead to a number of risks –

  • Botched Beauty: If you are not skilled enough, you can make big irreversible mistakes, completely ruining the beautification process, rather than enhancing it. Unfortunately, most of the time the trees may take a really long time to recover from a bad trim!
  • An invitation to diseases: Unless you knew the exact location to make that cut, an open injury is an open invitation for pests and bacteria and therefore, infection. An infection can take over the whole tree if not taken care of right away and in the right way – and can even lead to death and eventually, the removal of the tree.
  • Reduced immunity: While a correct trimming procedure enhances the immune system of a tree, if done improperly, it can have the exact opposite effect.


Tree lopping

  • Purpose:

While tree lopping is done for varied reasons from beautification to the elimination of the diseased area, the primary reason for tree lopping is hazard reduction. If the tree has overgrown or is wayward, it can be extremely hazardous for anyone around the property; and if worse comes to worst, it can be even fatal.

  • Level of expertise required:

Tree lopping can be quite dangerous a process and at the same time, it can cause irreversible damage to the tree, if not done right. So it should always be done by skilled personnel with a superior level of experience.

  • Frequency:

Lopping should be done as few times as possible because it puts the tree under stress and can harm your tree. You should get your tree lopped only if it is deemed the necessary course of action for your tree and its survival.

You should definitely consult an expert arborist before you make the decision.

  • Equipment:

Tree lopping is a heavy-duty task requiring industrial level equipment. You will need chainsaws, electric lifts or cranes, heavy-duty gloves, safety glasses, along with other enormous and potentially dangerous power tools. This is another reason why trained professionals are recommended for this job.

  • Costs:

Tree lopping is costly. Not only do you have to pay the tree lopper now, in case the tree survives, but you might also have to repeat the procedure a few years down the road, and that consists of a recurring cost. If the tree dies, then you would have to pay to get the tree removed as well.

  • Risks:

There are actually more risks to this technique than benefits. In fact, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Tree Protection Act 2005 has prohibited lopping between branch unions, calling it a tree damaging activity. If not performed by a skilled tree lopper, the method can be quite perilous for your tree –

  • Stress on the tree: Unlike trimming, lopping ensures removal of a significant portion of the tree. If done incorrectly, this might affect the crown to root ratio of the tree, impairing its ability to produce food. This puts the tree under considerable stress, impacts the tree health, and may even introduce unstable and risky regrowth patterns. In extreme cases, the tree may even die because of energy deprivation.
  • Diseases: Just like pruning, lopping also leaves the tree with an open wound, if not a bigger one, more vulnerable to pests and bacterial infection. Since lopping also reduces the natural defence system of the tree in that area, the infection spreads even faster. If there already was a decay, tree lopping will only disseminate it throughout the tree more quickly.

No matter what your reason is for going for either tree trimming or tree lopping procedures, you should always consult a certified arborist in Melbourne before making any decision to ensure that your property and your trees are being well looked after.


Daryl’s Tree Care

To all our valued clients and the wider community

Amid the COVID-19 health crisis, we are still operating as usual, until advised otherwise by the governing bodies.

We are adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene practises, to help keep our staff and clients safe and healthy.

Clients do not need to be in our presence during quotational visits, or on the day of the tree works.

We are happy for any necessary communication to be done by telephone, if preferred.

We thank you for your understanding and send you all our best wishes.