How to Properly Cut a Tree


Properly cutting of a tree should happen in the late winter or very early spring when your tree is dormant. Damaged or dead wood on the tree can be removed any time, especially if the limb should pose immediate danger. Never remove more than 20 to 30 percent of the foliage at any one time. Cut tree suckers from the tree several times during the year. Suckers are the small limbs that sprout from the roots.

Step 1

Remove smaller limbs from the larger tree limb you need to remove from your tree. Use hand pruners and a hacksaw on these smaller limbs.

Step 2

Tie ropes around the limb you need to remove from your tree. Tie the ropes around other limbs on the tree to support the limb as you cut.

Step 3

Mark an initial cut line on the limb you need to remove 1 to 2 feet from the trunk of the tree. Use a pruning saw and cut 1/3 of the way through the limb from underneath.

Step 4

Measure out on the limb 6 to 12 inches for the second cut line. Use the pruning saw and cut from the top of the limb. The weight of the limb causes the limb to split at your cut lines and not cause any damage to the rest of the tree.

Step 5

Finish the cut by removing the rest of the limb flush with the trunk of the tree. Seal the cut on the tree with tree pruning paint.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check for limb soundness before you step on any limb of your tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Hacksaw
  • Rope
  • Pruning saw
  • Tree pruning paint
  • Paintbrush


  • Aggie Horticulture: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
  • Tree Trimming
  • Tree Pruning Trees a Step - by - Step Guide
  • "Neil Sperry's Complete Guide to Texas Gardening Second Edition"; Neil Sperry; 1991
  • "Gardening 1-2-3"; Veronica Lorson Fowler; 2006
Keywords: proper tree cutting, cut a tree, tree pruning

About this Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications, including LIVESTRONG.COM and GardenGuides. She has several years of experience in the home improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.