How Do I Make a Proper Pruning Cut on a Tree? - Ask BrightView


Ask BrightView: Episode 8

Learn how to make a proper removal cut when pruning a tree. BrightView Tree Care Manager Ali Summersill demonstrates the three-step process to correctly remove a branch without damaging the tree.

(For the full transcript, see below.)

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Video Transcription

How do I make a proper pruning cut on a tree?


As a Tree Care Manager, I'm often asked how to properly prune a tree.

There are four different types of pruning cut techniques: the removal cut, the reduction cut, the heading cut, and then the overall removal of a dead branch. In this video, we are going to be focusing on the removal cut and locating the branch collar.

The first cut on the removal cut will be an undercut made just 12 to 24 inches from the main branch structure. The second cut will be a top cut that is made just past your original cut. The last cut will be your third cut and that is going to be just to the outside of the branch collar.

Removal Cut

The first step in identifying a possible potential for a removal cut is to identify the branch bark ridge, which is what you can see here. It's the overlap between the trunk wood and this branch wood itself, then identifying the branch collar.

With the branch collar is this swollen piece that you can see here in the lower portion and the goal is for your third and final cut to make that cut just outside of the branch collar.


This is going to be the first cut.

This is going to be the top cut.

This is going to be the third and final cut made for the removal cut. We're going to start just outside of the branch collar and take your time.

Once the removal cut is completed, a rounded callus will form around the outer edge of the cut. This just reinforces the fact that a proper cut was made.