How to Trim a Tree Branch


It is important to trim back tree branches in order to help promote new growth, prevent disease and make trees look beautiful. Many times, trimming a branch is required because the branch is broken or dead. Other times, pruning is needed to thin the branches of a tree. Pruning is recommended during fall and winter, though dead branches can be removed anytime.

Step 1

Use a ladder if necessary to reach the branch you are going to cut. Make sure the ladder is against the tree and is sturdy before you climb up it. Put on the goggles and gloves if desired.

Step 2

Use the saw and begin to cut the tree limb at a point about 16 inches away from the trunk on the underside of the branch.

Step 3

Continue sawing off the branch until you are halfway through the bottom. Then, switch to sawing on the top just past the cut you just made. This helps prevent the bark from tearing away, which can cause even more damage to the tree.

Step 4

Cut off the limb completely. Now, there should be a stub of the branch left connected to the trunk. Use the saw to cut this off, starting right before it connects to the trunk. Cut it in the same way, starting underneath, then finishing the job from the top.

Step 5

Examine the completed cut. It should be smooth and not ragged with choppy bark. If desired, cover this fresh wound with a spray sealer to help keep the tree healthy. Over time, the tree will heal itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Protection goggles
  • Gloves
  • Extension ladder
  • Pruning saw
  • Tree wound healer or spray sealer


  • Trimming Trees
  • Pruning Trees
Keywords: triming trees, tree pruning, caring for trees

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.