Pruning is about growing and maintaining healthy trees. Once you’ve identified the branches you want to prune, consider where and how to cut.
Where to cut
It’s critical to prune branches back to where the branch began and near a bud. Pruning to where the branch began provides the quickest healing process, and pruning near a bud allows quality re-growth.
How to cut
Small branches are effectively pruned with a hand shears or loppers. For larger branches, use a pruning saw and make three separate cuts.
The first cut should be made 6 to 12 inches from the base of the branch. Cut the underside of the limb halfway through. This prevents the bark from stripping off when the limb is cut off.
The second cut should be made one inch beyond the previous cut. Starting topside, saw off the limb to remove all weight from the final cut. If some bark tore back toward the stem, it will stop at the first cut.
In the third cut, remove the remaining stub of the branch by cutting close to, but not in, the branch collar. It’s important not to cut in the branch collar because it contains the growth tissue that will heal over the pruned surface. The branch collar is the bulge of bark at the base of the branch.