Natural Target Pruning - How and Where to Remove a Branch

The practice of natural target pruning makes use of the branch collar to identify the proper location to remove a branch. There is a three-cut process that should be used to remove branches in order to preserve the bark tissue and the branch collar.


  • The first cut (marked A in figures below) is an undercut about 1/4 through the branch, made upward from the bottom of the branch, about one or two inches further out than the collar.
  • The second cut (marked B in figures below) is a downward cut just outside the undercut that actually removes the entire branch, eliminating the weight of the branch before making the final natural target cut.
  • The third cut (marked C-D in figures below) is the natural target cut. The remaining portion of the stub is removed with a cut made just outside of the branch collar tissue.


How and Where to Remove a Tree BranchHow and Where to Remove a Tree Branch