Three quick steps leave a clean cut.
Prune midsize branches without damaging the tree by cutting them in three stages. Make the first cut (1) on the underside about 8 in. from the trunk, cutting a third of the way up. Make the next cut (2) at the top of the branch 3 in. past the first cut.
Finally, cut the remaining stump off at the trunk, just past the slightly raised area, called the branch bark ridge, making the cut perpendicular to the branch to minimize the exposed surface.