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Pruning cuts

The simplified drawings below illustrate the different goals of pruning cuts. These illustrations are done on a duplicate branch, the lighter areas are the removed parts. While as a general rule not more than 20% should be removed, a tree's response (resulting growth pattern) differs between species. Some species allow for more lattitude than others.


Topping is NEVER done.

  • Causes rapid regrowth on the ends where the heading cuts were made
  • Will likely cause decay in the stem/branch
    • Tissues in branch are "starved" - no leaves for food


Pruning cuts - to eliminate included bark branches.

  • Remove dead branches
  • Remove weak attached branches
  • Rubbing branches
  • Needs to be done without creating large gaps in the canopy


Reduction cut

  • Reduces the overall size of the tree or branch
  • Can be the most time consuming operation
  • Should be limited to not more than 20% of crown removed


Shaping cut

  • Has minimal impact on overal size
  • Meant to make a tree have a more even appearance
  • Can be time consuming, especially on trees with dense branching


Thinning cut

  • Done to improve light transmission
  • Done to "lessen wind resistance"
  • Will remain effective for about 1-2 years



Clearance cut

  • Generally recommend that clearance be done on what will be a 3-5 year cycle
  • Generally trees grow on average 6-8" per year
  • Only need to clear a structure 4 feet to obtain clearance for 3-5 years