Tree branches develop poorly when they grow upward instead of outward or when they grow too low on the tree’s trunk. Pruning these branches is a popular horticultural activity that can enhance the health and appearance of your tree. Cutting branches in the late dormant season of the tree in late winter, before spring growth starts, ensures that fresh wounds are only exposed for a brief period of time before new growth can begin the healing process.
- Place pruning shears where you want to stop branch growth, but do not cut beyond the collar of the branch or the swollen region of tissue where the branch attaches to the trunk.
- Handheld pruning shears should be used for branches up to three-quarters of an inch thick, and lopping shears should be used for thicker branches up to one and a half inches in diameter. Handsaws can be used to cut branches larger than 1 inch in diameter.
- To remove the branch from the tree, cut it straight across with your shears.
- Place a handsaw on the underside of the branch, approximately 18 inches from the tree’s trunk. Cut the branch in an upward motion until the saw is about one-third of the way through.
- Remove the saw and position it on the top side of the branch, but an inch further away from the trunk than the first break.
- Remove the branch from the tree by cutting downward.
- Make a third cut on the branch foot, just below the branch collar. Do not cut the branch collar; leaving the collar alone allows the tree to recover faster from the pruning. When cutting down through the branch to sever it is sometimes used for this third cut, if you are concerned about tearing the bark on the underside, use the first method of undercutting first and then severing the branch from above.
This article is paraphrased. Original source: homeguides.sfgate.com
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