The Three Cut Pruning Method: What is it?

What is the three cut pruning method? The three cut pruning method is a strategy used to remove larger limbs from a tree. Why is it used? This method is used to reduce the weight of the branch and make a clean proper cut. If a heavy weighted branch is removed improperly, the bark of the tree can be stripped which can result in an open wound that can invite insects or induce tree rotting.

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How to make a three point cut. Identify the large limb you would like to remove. 

  • Place one hand on the limb and with the other hand using a hand saw, make an undercut (that does not completely remove the limb) several inches from the main trunk. This will prevent the bark from stripping when the weight of the limb begins to fall.
  • Next, you want to make an overcut a few inches further away from the main trunk and the previous cut you made.
  • You are now ready to make your third cut. This cut will be your final cut that will need to be made right outside the branch bark collar and/or ridge. 
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