Avoid cuts that leave a partial branch called a stub. Stub cuts result in the death of the remaining branch and wound-wood forms around the base from stem tissues. When pruning small branches with hand pruners, make sure the tools are sharp enough to cut the branches cleanly without tearing. Branches large enough to require saws should be supported with one hand while the cuts are made. If the branch is too large to support, make a three-step pruning cut (graphic c) to prevent the bark ripping or peeling down into good bark.
1. The first cut is a shallow notch made on the underside of the branch, outside the branch collar. This cut will prevent a falling branch from tearing the stem tissue as it pulls away from the tree.
2. The second cut should be outside the first cut, all the way through the branch, leaving a short stub.
3. The stub is then cut just outside the branch bark ridge/branch collar, completing the operation.
The quality of pruning cuts can be evaluated by examining pruning wounds after one growing season.