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How Often Should Trees Be Trimmed?

Trimming a large tree

Navigating Tree Trimming Frequency: A Seattle Homeowner Guide

Our emerald canopy is a crucial element of Seattle's landscapes. Understanding the cadence of tree trimming Seattle trees is essential. 

It's not just about maintaining the aesthetic appeal but ensuring the vitality and safety of our cherished trees. Read on to learn how often trees should be trimmed, considering the diversity of tree ages and types that grace our Seattle environments.

Mature Trees: The Old Guard

Mature trees, with their expansive canopies and deep-rooted presence, require a conservative approach to trimming. Generally, these trees benefit from a limited pruning or trimming cycle of every 3 to 5 years -- some may not need another trim for 10 years.

The goal is to maintain their majestic appearance while allowing them coexist in the urban setting. Our expert team will make minimal cuts to preserve the health and structural integrity, and trim away excessive growth that may create risks for your home or family.

By adhering to a longer tree trimming timeframe, we allow mature trees to recover and flourish, reducing the stress that overzealous trimming can cause.

Younger Trees: The Next Generation

For the younger trees that dot our landscapes, we have more flexibility in tree trimming & tree pruning frequency. Trimming can be done more frequently if needed to maintain clearances, especially for fast growing trees.

Aim for a pruning schedule of every 2 to 3 years (depending on species), at which time our arborists will guide their growth. Pruning trees early to ensure a strong structure and healthy canopy development is crucial to retaining them in an urban environment. If we can get ahead of potential safety risks, we can grow a healthy tree in your yard, rather than a hazard tree. It's akin to setting the foundation for a lifetime of vitality, allowing these young trees to grow with vigor and grace.

Fruit Trees: A Category Of Their Own

Fruit trees, given their seasonal harvests, demand a unique pruning perspective. The good news is they tend to be fairly hardy, so can often handle more frequent tree trimming for objectives unrelated to the tree itself (roof clearance, sidewalk clearance, etc.)

But the fruit tree pruning cycle is more dependent on your objectives for the tree. If you're optimizing for fruit production, we would prune your trees ideally during the late winter to early spring before the buds break. This timing encourages robust fruit production and healthy growth, allowing sunlight and air to penetrate the canopy and nourish the developing fruits. It's a delicate balance of encouraging productivity while maintaining the tree's overall health.

On the other hand, if you're trying to limit fruit production, our arborists can time your fruit tree trimming work differently. Our ISA-Certified Arborists will work with you on a game plan that meets your objectives.

Hedges: The Living Fences

Hedges are usually just a group of trees maintained as a hedge. Common species in Seattle are Leyland Cypresses or Arborvitae. These hedges require frequent attention or can quickly grow out of hand and be very expensive to get back under control.

We have clients that have their hedges trimmed annually, and some that need them trimmed every 6 months. The regular cadence, especially if timed with growing season, helps keep them dense & shapely.

Note that the first time you have your hedges trimmed, they may look a bit unsightly until the foliage grows back in. Then after that, you can have us maintain them for you at a steady clip so that we don't have to cut back too hard at any one time.

Embracing Professional Insight

While this guide offers a starting point, the nuanced nature of tree care underscores the value of professional expertise. Our ISA-Certified Arborists bring a depth of knowledge to tailor Seattle tree trimming schedules to the specific needs of your trees, considering their species, health, and the Seattle climate. This professional guidance ensures that each cut is made with precision and purpose, supporting the long-term health and beauty of your trees.


In Seattle, where trees are an integral part of our urban fabric, establishing a regular cadence for tree trimming harmonizes with our commitment to nurturing a green, healthy city.

By aligning tree care with the natural growth cycles and expert recommendations, we foster a landscape that thrives. Whether you're admiring the serene beauty of a mature tree, nurturing a younger tree, harvesting fruit, or shaping a hedge, your efforts contribute to the vitality of our shared environment.

Reach out to our team for a consultation, and let's ensure the legacy of Seattle's trees continues to grow, beautifully and healthily.

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