How to Prune a Tree

Updated: Jan. 30, 2023

Prune branches without harming the tree.

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Here's how to prune your tree without taking a big swath of bark along with it. Safely remove mid-sized branches for a healthier, better-looking tree.

Tools Required

  • Pruning Saw

Pruning is a necessary step towards keeping the trees in your lawn flourishing and growing as they should. By pruning branches that are too low, too close together, diseased or dead, homeowners can promote healthy growth while also shaping their trees as they see fit. The best time of year to prune branches is spring or late summer, so make sure to prune your trees in before the first frost hits.

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

The First Cut

  • Make the first cut on the underside about eight inches from the trunk, cutting one-third of the way up.

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Step 2

The Second Cut

  • Make the next cut at the top of the branch three inches past the first cut.

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Step 3

The Third 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.

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