Tree and Shrub Trimming in Toronto

Tree Pruning

Transform your trees into treasures.

Does your tree need pruning or branches removed? Are you concentred about the health or safety of your tree – or is there a branch in the way?

There are lots of benefits of regular tree trimming. Regular pruning helps keep your trees healthy and can eliminate potential hazards before they start. Pruning your tree promotes its health and vitality. Tree trimming can fix issues such as major hazards, branches over roofs, eaves, yards, or cars, and help open up views and sunlight on your property.

Tree cutting can also address animals or squirrels on your roof, or safety concerns with branches and deadwood on trees.

 Removing dead branches or pruning to improve form is critical to maintaining your tree’s health, stimulating growth, and retaining a robust natural appearance.

Below, you’ll find general information and FAQs about tree pruning and trimming. A big guide of hedges, and here you can find our tree pruning price guide to get a run down on the factors that impact overall job cost.

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Tree Pruning FAQs

We provide a full range of tree trimming services, including but not limited to:

  • Tree trimming to remove dead wood.
  • Removing branches from roofs.
  • Pruning to remove branches or limbs away from house, pool or other area.
  • Reducing the canopy to remove overgrown branches.
  • Structural pruning to restore the shape of a tree.
  • Reducing the length of tree branches or limbs to prevent failure.
  • Thinning out overgrown trees.
  • Aesthetic pruning for feature trees.
  • Trim branches to stop animals.


Depending on the age and species of a tree, the amount that is trimmed will vary between 10-20%.

  • Very old or mature trees should only have 5-10% of the living canopy removed.
  • Very young trees can have up to 25% removed at maximum.
  • Dead branches do not count towards these maximums.

Pruning or trimming more than this amount in a year can result in tree health problems in the future. Pruning the maximum year over year is also likely to result in issues. This is because you can think of pruning not only as what is removed from a tree, but also where we choose to put rot and defects.

Trees do not heal from cuts, they seal them over using a complex chemical and biological process similar to getting a scab. The bigger the wound, the harder it is for the tree to cover over and contain. Since trees cannot heal, any fungus, bacteria or virus introduced into the wound before it is sealed can enter the rest of the healthy tree.

When pruning trees, every cut should be considered not only for what is taken away but also what introducing rot could do to the tree. Proper pruning cuts made by trained arborists will help seal wounds far better than improper cuts by DIY tree pruning or people without training.

All trees are different and there are many different reasons to prune or trim a tree! Most tree pruning can be done at any time of the year but there are a few exceptions. 

  • Oak trees should only be pruned when trees are dormant in the winter due to the threat of oak wilt.
  • Honey Locust should be trimmed after leaves are on trees as it is very challenging to distinguish between live and dead wood on Honey Locust in winter.
  • Elm trees are also better trimmed in winter due to Dutch Elm disease.
  • Ash trees that are still alive should be receiving treatment for EAB prior to pruning. 

There are many more exceptions to the rule, so contact us to get more information about when to trim trees.

Looking for hedge trimming? Check out our hedge trimming or hedge repair services.

Different trees grow at different rates, and they have different site conditions. A fast-growing species in a small area with great sunlight and water will need to be trimmed more frequently than a mature tree in any environment. There are also lots of different types of trimming s there is no one right answer.

When trees have dead branches removed but nothing living, this is called "dead-wooding". Arborists remove deadwood either 3'', 2'' or 1'' inch diameter and above. Dead branches can be removed as frequently as you desire because it does not harm the tree. This type of tree trimming shouldn't have to happen more than once every 2-5 years, unless there is something wrong with the health of the tree.

To keep trees from spreading too far or becoming too tall, they may need to be pruned more regularly, like every 1-3 years. Older or mature trees shouldn't be pruned more frequently than 3-5 years as they are much slower to recover from trimming.

We have a price guide for the cost of tree care in Toronto. It doesn't have a full list for tree pruning yet but we're working on it!

The cost of tree or shrub trimming depends on a lot of factors, such as the size of the tree, the amount being removed and how hard to access it is, danger and how fast the service is done are also factors. 

Professional tree companies with trained arborists on staff and full insurance will be much more expensive than a handyman or one guy with a chainsaw. Commercial general liability insurance and WSIB protects you, the owner, from any damage done by contractors. If you hire someone without it and they damage your property, you'll be on the hook for repairs. Even worse, if they get hurt you could end up being sued by them. 

The most important factor to consider is what it might cost you if the job is done wrong. When someone shows up without insurance to sell you professional services, this is a red flag. Untrained and unskilled tree cutters don't know how to keep your tree healthy or trim it safely. Cutting off nuisance branches might seem like an easy task, but when it is done incorrectly it can result in damage to the tree that will cost you more in the long run.

Our certified arborists have trained for many years to spend only a few hours or days on your property. Read more about the differences between landscapers and arborists here, or check out our qualifications and experience here.

Every homeowner in Toronto has a responsibility to ensure that trees are maintained and safe to prevent injury or damage to property. This means that trees should be inspected regularly, with tree reports provided by a trained arborist.

Unfortunately trees can suffer from a range of diseases, pests and stresses that can impact their health and vitality over time. Often what can look like a healthy tree can actually be a safety hazard, while sometimes trees that look ugly may be in fine health. We can assess for hazards and aesthetics, to improve both the look and health of your trees.

Whatever the concern, speaking to a professional to develop a plan of action is the best way to avoid the unexpected. Vista Tree is interested in building good long-term relationships with our clients based on our integrity and hard work. We don’t prescribe services that we don’t think are necessary or try to upsell to more work.

You should prune your tree to keep it healthy, safe and beautiful! 

Tree Pruning: What You Need to Know

Homeowners should be aware of the significance and advantages of more frequent tree maintenance when it comes to Toronto tree pruning. Proper tree care enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property and addresses safety concerns related to untrimmed trees.

This guide will talk about all the advantages of pruning your trees, and some things to be aware of. If you’re looking for information on costs, our Tree Trimming Price Guide is your best bet.

Table Of Contents:

Importance of Tree Pruning in Toronto

Maintaining the health, safety and appearance of trees on your property through proper pruning and trimming is essential for Toronto’s urban environment. Proper tree care helps prevent potential hazards such as falling branches or dead limbs while improving the overall look of your landscape. In Toronto’s urban environment, it is crucial to ensure that trees receive proper attention from trained professionals.

Benefits of regular tree maintenance

  • Promotes healthy growth: Regular pruning removes dead or diseased branches, allowing more sunlight and air circulation for healthier foliage.
  • Increase property value: Well-maintained trees can enhance curb appeal and increase the value of your home.
  • Safety: Removing hazardous branches reduces the risk of accidents caused by falling limbs or debris during storms.
  • Disease prevention: Timely removal of infected parts prevents diseases from spreading to other areas within a tree or neighboring plants.

Reasons to Trim your Tree

  • Aesthetic trimming: Making your tree look more beautiful or appealing, like a feature tree for landscaping.
  • Functional pruning: Getting branches removed to improve access to your yard, reduce animal traffic or increase sunlight onto your grass or gardens.
  • Deadwood Pruning: Taking out dead branches to make the tree healthier and safer.
  • Maintenance pruning: Removing live branches that have grown too big, spread too wide or have structural issues like rot and decay.
  • Hazard reduction: Removing branches or limbs that pose a safety hazard to people or property.

Trees in the Urban Environment in Toronto

Trees only began growing in urban environments during industrialization some two hundred years ago. Since they spent millions of years growing in natural environments, the changes that cities have brought are relatively recent. As a result, many trees suffer in urban environments.

Excess sunlight, drought, poor soil, pollution, damage from vehicles and other urban issues all take a toll on trees. When done right, pruning trees to remove overgrowth, limit spread and take out dead branches helps to keep trees healthy for longer. It can also keep them safer during storms, protecting your property from damage.

In tree risk assessment, there is no hazard where there is nothing of value like a person or property. A tree falling or dead branches breaking in an empty field will harm no one, but in a busy city this is not the case. Tree pruning in Toronto involves identifying and managing hazards to reduce the risk of injury or damage from trees while still keeping them as healthy as possible. 

Safety concerns related to untrimmed trees

Trees with overgrown branches pose various hazards to people and property. Tree branches can become too big over time, growing further than the tree can support. When this happens, the likelihood of a branch crack or break is much higher.

In forests and natural areas this isn’t a significant hazard as there are few, if any, people or property around. Trees that go unpruned for a long time are more prone to a variety of issues, such as lions-tailing and excessive deadwood. 

Lions-tailing means that all the growth is on the outside of the tree, at the very end of branches. It occurs because when trees grow to light and put on foliage, they shade themselves. Overtime, this can mean that the inside of the tree gets full of dead branches or is empty inside the canopy – kind of like a bubble of leaves. 

When lions tailing occurs it can be much harder to achieve certain goals, like making the tree smaller or improving its appearance. It also makes trees more prone to branches failing as all the weight is at the end of limbs. 

Key Takeaway: 

Regular tree pruning and trimming is crucial for maintaining the health, safety, and aesthetics of trees in Toronto’s urban environment. It promotes healthy growth, increases property value, prevents diseases from spreading to other areas within a tree or neighboring plants while reducing the risk of accidents caused by falling limbs or debris during storms. Homeowners should consider hiring professional arborists like Vista Tree Management who specialize in providing expert tree care services throughout Toronto to ensure that every aspect will be handled with expertise and attention-to-detail.

Ensuring Proper Tree Care Techniques and Safety Measures

Certified arborists are trained in proper pruning techniques, which help maintain the structural integrity of trees while promoting their overall health. They also adhere to safety standards and use appropriate tools, ensuring that your tree care project is completed without any accidents or injuries. Hiring a professional ensures that your trees receive the best possible care.

Importance of using correct pruning methods

Using the right pruning methods is crucial for maintaining healthy trees on your property. Improper techniques can lead to irreversible damage, such as stunted growth or decay. Certified arborists have extensive knowledge about various types of trees along with their specific requirements ensuring optimal results when it comes to tree maintenance.

  • Crown cleaning: Removing dead, dying, and diseased branches from the crown area of a tree.
  • Crown thinning: Selectively removing branches to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown.
  • Crown raising: Removing lower branches to provide clearance for pedestrians or vehicles below.
  • Crown reduction: Reducing the size or height of a tree by selectively cutting back its limbs and foliage.

Unskilled workers may lack knowledge about proper pruning techniques, which are crucial for maintaining the structural integrity and overall health of trees. Improper cuts can leave trees vulnerable to disease, insect infestation, or decay. Additionally, excessive removal of foliage can cause stress on the tree and hinder its ability to produce food through photosynthesis.

Adherence to industry safety guidelines

When pruning trees, arborists must ensure safety by adhering to workplace health and safety laws in Ontario. Arborists follow strict safety guidelines established by the Ontario Health and Safety Act, as well as broader industry best practices, such as:

  1. Employing PPE like headgear, gloves, and eye shields for protection.
  2. Using proper tree climbing techniques and equipment to ensure a secure working position.
  3. Implementing traffic control measures when working near roads or pedestrian areas.
  4. Maintaining clear communication with ground crew members during operations.

Key Takeaway: 

Certified arborists use proper pruning techniques to maintain the structural integrity and health of trees while adhering to safety standards. Correct pruning methods are crucial for maintaining healthy trees, and arborists follow strict safety guidelines such as wearing PPE and implementing traffic control measures when working near hazards.

Why choose Professional, Certified Arborists?

Certified arborists have the knowledge and experience to ensure quality workmanship and protect you from potential liabilities through extensive insurance coverage for their work and employees. While handymen and landscapers may be capable of removing branches, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease: cutting branches and limb off incorrectly can cause significant injury and damage to a tree. 

The other thing that Certified Arborists bring is an expert perspective with a longer, more comprehensive view. Cutting off a few nuisance branches may seem simple enough, and sometimes it can be. Other times it won’t actually achieve what you want, like added sunlight for your garden or to get a tree away from your car. 

Small, low branches are rarely the cause of the worst tree problems, instead it is the branches much higher up that are shading your backyard or rubbing against the roof. Since we see these issues constantly, the perspective of a Certified Arborist can inform your decision and help you get the most out of your tree pruning.

Qualifications & Experience Differences Between Landscapers & Arborists

Certified arborists undergo rigorous training and exams to test their knowledge in tree biology, maintenance practices, safety procedures, and more. This level of expertise is not typically found in general landscapers or handymen. A certified arborist will be able to identify potential hazards and provide effective solutions for your tree care needs.

  • Landscapers: May have basic understanding of plants but often lack specialized knowledge on tree care techniques and safety measures.
  • Certified Arborists: Have undergone formal education and training specifically focused on trees, enabling them to diagnose issues accurately and implement appropriate treatments. 

Insurance Coverage Considerations

Hiring an insured professional is crucial for tree care projects. Certified arborist companies carry liability insurance which covers any damages that might occur during the course of their work such as property damage or personal injury claims resulting from accidents on-site. Engaging a handyman, landscaper or guy with a chainsaw who is not properly insured could leave you in a precarious situation, financially liable for any misfortunes that may take place during the job.

In addition to qualifications and insurance, professional tree services also use specialized equipment and adhere to industry safety standards. This ensures that your tree care project is completed without any accidents or injuries. When you choose a company like Vista Tree Management for your Toronto tree pruning needs, you can be confident in the knowledge and expertise of their certified arborists.

In summary, hiring a professional arborist over a handyman offers numerous benefits such as expert knowledge on various types of trees, proper pruning techniques, adherence to safety standards, and insurance coverage. Invest in the health and well-being of your trees by choosing professionals who are equipped with the right skills and tools for the job.

Key Takeaway: 

Choosing a certified arborist over a handyman or landscapers for tree care is crucial to ensure quality workmanship and avoid potential liabilities. Certified arborists have extensive knowledge, experience, specialized equipment, adhere to safety standards and carry liability insurance. Hiring Vista Tree Management’s certified arborists in Toronto guarantees expert knowledge on various types of trees, proper pruning techniques, adherence to safety standards and insurance coverage.

FAQs on Tree Pruning in Toronto

Do I need a permit to trim a tree?

No, so long as you are not injuring the tree. Tree injury relates to the use and application of best arboricultural practices. Cutting a tree in half, cutting off most of its foliage, topping the tree and other practices would fall under the category of injury which is agains the private tree bylaw in Toronto. 

Who is responsible for pruning overhanging branches in Toronto?

The property owner with the overhanging branches is responsible for their maintenance. However, if they encroach onto a neighboring property, the neighbor may also have rights to prune them back within their boundary lines.

Who is responsible for tree trimming in Toronto?

In general, homeowners are responsible for maintaining trees on their properties. For city-owned trees located on public land or road allowances, the City of Toronto takes care of trimming through its Urban Forestry department.

How much does it cost to prune a tree in Toronto?

The cost of pruning a tree varies based on factors such as size, species complexity, accessibility challenges and amount being removed. We have an entire breakdown of the cost of tree trimming available that walks through the details.


As a savvy Toronto homeowner, prioritize tree pruning and trimming for safety and health benefits. Costs vary based on factors like size, species complexity, and accessibility challenges. Choose professional arborists over handymen to avoid damage to your trees’ health and legal liabilities.

Proper tree care techniques and adherence to industry safety guidelines ensure the best outcome for your tree pruning needs.

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