How to Prune With a Handsaw


Pruning is a way of removing dead and diseased leaves from a tree, while improving the appearance, health and growth of a tree in the process. Hand shears, lopping shears and handsaws are used to remove the tree limbs. According to Texas A&M University, handsaws are useful for removing larger branches that regular hand shears or lopping shears can not cut.

Step 1

Ensure the handsaw is sharp by passing it several times over an oil stone to sharpen the saw teeth. Wipe an oil cloth along the blade to keep it from rusting and to keep it running smoothly during cutting.

Step 2

Set up your ladder, securely, against the tree to reach high, large branches. Secure the top of the ladder to a branch using a thick piece of rope.

Step 3

Cut the large branch on the underside, about 6 inches out from the shoulder of the branch, running the handsaw along the bark in even movements. The longer the movement ,the easier and deeper the cut. Saw into the underside of the branch a third of the way and remove the hand saw from the wound.

Step 4

Start another cut on the top side of the branch 3 to 4 inches farther out from the first cut. Saw in long strokes until the branch breaks away from the tree. The combination of the first cut and the second cut prevent the ripping of bark and ensures a clean wound.

Step 5

Saw the remaining stub from the tree right at the shoulder of the branch, which is the bump coming out from the trunk where the branch begins. There is no need to dress the wound.

Things You'll Need

  • Handsaw
  • Ladder
  • Rope
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves


  • Aggie Horticulture: Follow Proper Pruning Technique
  • USDA Forest Service: Pruning Cuts
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: tree pruning, handsaw pruning, pruning with saw

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.