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Branch Pruning / Target Pruning

by May 1, 2019News, Tree Blog

Target pruning is how we prune trees in a way that enables them to heal.

Pruning a branch causes wounding to any tree. Just like human skin, tree wounds will heal themselves if treated in the correct way.

Here is an example of a Sorbus aria (Whitebeam) that I pruned back in 2012. As you can see, because I used a target pruning cut on the branch collar to remove the branch; the tree bark has grown completely over the wounding, preventing any disease or pest infestation entering the tree at this point.

To remove a branch safely without ripping the tree bark, using a pruning saw, ideally a silky pruning saw, make the first cut on the underside one third or less through the branch about one foot out. The second cut should be made on the top side 2 inches or so in front of the first cut. Do not cut all the way through. With your hands, hold the branch and pull off; it should snap off without ripping the bark. The third cut is made downward on the branch collar, not flush to the tree, nor too far out. Cut from top to bottom all the way through leaving a neat, smooth surface for the bark skin to grow over and heal the wound.