If you want to reshape a tree or shrub, there are four tree pruning cuts you should know. The location of a cut determines how the plant will channel its energy to promote growth. So, if you know how you want the plant to look in the long term, tree pruning in specific patterns will direct the tree’s shape and its flowers accordingly.

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The heading cut is made just beyond a bud and promotes the growth of that bud and those further down the branch, making plants denser.

The thinning cut reduces the number of branches to allow more light and air in the tree’s interior. The cut is made immediately outside the collar, where the branch connects to its leader. Cutting immediately outside the collar allows the plant to seal the exposed collar properly. The “releadering” cut removes a leader and promotes a lesser branch to become the leader. This cut is made just above the joint to eliminate the previous leader.

The jump cut helps avoid damaging a tree when cutting heavier branches. By slicing into a branch from below and then sawing further out on the branch from above, the branch will split between your slices and avoid tearing the bark or injuring the tree. The jump is less about shaping and more about avoiding damage.

The jump cut helps avoid damaging a tree when cutting heavier branches

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