How to Prune With a Hand Saw


Hand saws are used to prune branches that are 1 inch or larger in diameter. Branches should be pruned for several reasons. To keep your tree or bush healthy, remove any branches that are dead, infested, diseased or have severe physical damage. Also prune branches to improve the tree's shape. Prune any branches that rub together. In large fruiting trees, prune any branches that block the light access of lower branches.

Step 1

Cut back small branches just above the branch collar (the swollen portion at the base of the branch) to remove them completely. Stand facing the branch. Hold the branch steady with one hand. Use the other to saw the branch off with smooth, long strokes.

Step 2

Shorten branches by pruning them at a 45-degree angle 1/4 inch above the nearest outward facing bud. Hold the outermost portion of the branch with your hand to steady it and saw with smooth, long strokes.

Step 3

Prune large limbs in several stages to avoid tearing the bark. Make the first cut 1.5 feet away from the base of the branch. Start from the underside of the branch and saw upward, 1/3 to 1/2 way through the branch. Make the second cut 1 inch further out on the branch. Saw from the top down until the branch breaks free. Then saw the branch stump off just above the collar, but close enough to it so that you do not leave a stub.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune branches that are growing near electrical or utility wires. Contact the utility company or the city to have them remove it.


  • University of Minnesota: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: prune, hand saw, branch

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.