The Three Cut Method

April 27, 2022 · 1 minute read
The Three Cut Method

You want to remove a few branches from a tree and you don’t want to pay an arborist to do it. I get it. The branches are within reach and you have a good saw. You do not need to hire an arborist every time you want to get rid of a branch. That said, if you do it wrong, your mistake will be right there in front of you every time you walk by the tree.

Even if it is a fairly small branch, you can mess up and cause unneeded damage to your tree.  A bad cut can look ugly and add a lot of extra decay and stress to the tree. Take a little extra time and learn the three-cut method for pruning a branch.

The branch that you are removing is probably heavier than you think.  If you try to take it off in one cut, chances are, the branch will split and rip and cause extra damage. 

Do it right, make three cuts.

Start with an undercut a few inches away from the trunk. 

 Then make a second cut further up the branch. 

When the branch is cut, you will have a stub left. You are almost ready to make a final cut to be proud of.  

Next, find the branch collar. You want to leave the collar undamaged to minimize damage to the tree and make the cut look good.

Make your final cut just outside of the collar and that is it. Time to clean up the mess you made and admire your handiwork.