How to Prune With Saw Blades


Most gardeners prefer to prune with garden shears or loppers when possible, but when a branch that is more than about an inch in diameter needs to be removed, pruning with a saw blade may be your best--or only--choice. Depending on how thick the branch that needs to be removed is, a pruning saw, a handsaw or even a chainsaw may be necessary.

Step 1

Sharpen your saw blades or have them sharpened. Sharp blades are easier to work with and make cleaner cuts.

Step 2

Cut branches that are greater than 1 inch in diameter using a saw blade and the three-cut method. Remember, branches should be cut close to the trunk, leaving only the node or ring out of which the branch grew.

Step 3

Make a vertical cut from the underside of the branch about 3 inches away from the trunk or a main branch. Make this upward cut about halfway through the branch. Use a ladder if necessary to properly reach the branch. Wear gloves and eye goggles whenever cutting, and wear ear protection if using a chainsaw.

Step 4

Make your second cut from the top side of the branch, approximately 3 inches farther out than you made the underside cut. Cut downward as if you are going to cut all the way through the branch. Before you have cut all the way through the branch, it should break off at the point of your underside cut. The underside cut prevents the breaking branch from stripping off a swath of bark and causing potential damage to the tree.

Step 5

Make a downward cut just on the outside of the node or ring out of which the branch grew and remove the stub that is still attached to the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not remove branches that are too high for your comfort. Hire an expert if the job is too difficult.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Handsaw
  • Chainsaw
  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Ear protectors


  • Texas A&M: Proper Pruning Techniques
  • USDA Forest Service: When to Prune
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: How to Prune Trees
Keywords: prune saw blades, pruning with saws, saw blade prunning

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.