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Successful pruning of ornamental and fruit trees depends on careful and well-considered pruning. This guide explains in a practical way where and how to use scissors or saws so that the plant continues to grow happily and cuts heal faster. Get to know the most important cutting techniques with comprehensible short instructions.

The right pruning technique is the be-all and end-all for healthy growth

Table of Contents

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  1. Pruning on buds - how to do it right
  2. Cut on a string - this is how it works
  3. Pruning makes unwilling trees perk up - this is how it works
  4. Cutting old, thick branches in stages - step-by-step instructions
  5. Pruning on buds - how to do it right

    The cut on buds is part of the basics of cutting technique. If you are familiar with this technique, you can do the most important types of cuts in the home garden with flying colours. As the name suggests, the focus is on the buds of the plant. In order for growth to continue as desired, the bud must not be injured or overshadowed by a long stub. How to do it right:

    • Cut 3 to 5 millimeters above a bud
    • Cut away from the eye at a slight angle
    • Support the drive with your free hand

    The figure below shows three common mistakes and the correct cutting technique.

    A technically sound cut is made just above an outward-facing bud.

    Cut on a string - this is how it works

    Valuable dividing tissue (cambium) is found in the astringe, which turns into callus and overgrows cuts. One of the most important pruning techniques in tree care is aimed at not injuring the branch or causing distress with a long stub.

    Position the saw above the bulge that marks the knot ring. Now saw or cut at a slight angle in the downward and outward direction. Finally, smooth the edges of the wound with a knife or spatula. Please do not coat the cut with tree wax (€12.96) so that the wound wood can do its job without a blockage.

    The astringer must never be injured, otherwise the wound will not heal properly. If there is no knot, cut parallel to the trunk without damaging the bark.

    Pruning makes unwilling trees perk up - this is how it works

    The peg cut proves that even pruning techniques cannot do without an exception. Tenon pruning is used to ensure that stubborn shrubs such as rhododendrons, azaleas and various types of pome fruit sprout again after they have been cut into the old wood. How to apply the pruning technique expertly:

    • Prune shoots back to a 5 to 10 centimeter long cone with a lateral shoot or leaf
    • Where there is no shoot or leaf, cut to the cone with a sleeping eye

    The figure below documents the tapping of pome fruit. The thicker the shoot to be removed, the longer the cone can be. A lateral shoot or a leaf prevents the cone from drying out. At the same time, the plant parts ensure that water and nutrients continue to be supplied. In the next season, the plant will sprout at this point and the remains of the now dried cone can be removed.

    In order for trees that are unwilling to sprout to grow vigorously, the usual pruning rules are violated. If you leave a small cone with a leaf or shoot, rhododendrons will happily sprout again.

    Cutting old, thick branches in stages - step-by-step instructions

    If you remove thick, old branches, there is a risk that they will break off during cutting and cause a large wound. You can prevent this damage by proceeding in stages. The following instructions explain the exemplary cutting technique step by step:

    • Start the saw from below at a distance of 40 to 50 centimeters from the actual cutting point
    • Saw the branch no further than the middle
    • Pull the saw out and position it a little to the left or right from above
    • Saw until the branch breaks off

    Thanks to this pruning technique, the trunk or main shoot remains unharmed. Cut off the remaining branch stump on Astring while supporting it with your free hand.

    Remove thick branches in several stages. First saw into the branch from below. Then saw against it from the top until the branch snaps. Finally, cut off the stub on Astring.


    The perfect cutting technique only leads to the goal if you use sharp, clean blades and saw blades. Clean and disinfect the tool before and after each use so that you do not transmit any pathogens to your trees. At least once a season you should sharpen scissor blades and replace dull saw blades.

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