The STIHL guide to pruning branches from trees

Pruning trees is essential both for keeping trees healthy as well as improving their appearance.

Do you have a tree in your garden that you want to prune branches from? A common mistake that many people make when cutting down a long, heavy limb is trying to cut the limb with one downward cut as close to the trunk as possible.

The weight of a heavy limb means that it can tear itself away from the tree before the cut is completed. When the bark from a tree is torn, it leaves an easy entry point for pests and disease, so you want to avoid this as much as possible. Here are our top tips to keep yourtree in excellent shape.

  • Before tackling a large limb, cut away any of the branches growing off that limb. This reduces the weight of the limb, but it also stops the branches from damaging any parts of tree beneath it when it is cut off. It is also much safer for you and any other people around the tree.

  • Once the branches are removed, make an upward cut from underneath the limb. Be careful not to go too far or your chainsaw could be pinched in place by the weight of the limb and you will struggle to get it out of the cut. Cut about halfway up through the limb. Any limbs that are particularly long, heavy or flexible branches may need extra support – this can be achieved by using a piece of rope and tying it to a sturdy branch higher up in the tree.

  • Next, position your saw above the branch about an inch further out than your upward cut and cut downward to meet it. You will be left with a small stump, which should be sawed as close as possible to the branch “collar”. The collar is the swelling of growth that is located at the base of a branch where it meets the trunk of the tree.

  • Be careful not to cut through this collar - when you cut the branch flush with the trunk, a greater surface area is exposed, which then takes a much longer time to seal. You want the tree to form a callus over the cut area as soon as possible to protect the cut from disease, fungi and pests.

  • Don’t forget to keep your chainsaw sharp. You want the cut to be as smooth as possible, which again helps the tree to form the protective callus. Our 2-in-1 EasyFile makes sharpening your chain extremely simple, or most STIHL dealers offer a sharpening service.

Pruning TreesWe would always suggest that you seek advice from a trained professional before carrying out any pruning work with a chainsaw. You should never use a chainsaw whilst on a ladder or in a tree, unless you have the necessary qualifications. Always read the Owners’ Manual before operating your chainsaw too

And there you have it – the STIHL guide to pruning branches from trees. Let us know how you get on pruning your own trees in the comments below!

Welcome to the STIHL blog


Here you’ll be able to find useful seasonal advice from experts and guest writers, along with the latest news from the world of STIHL and the great outdoors.

In addition, we’ll keep you informed about our latest products and how to make the most of your tools – all so that you can make the most of your outdoor space.

More from the STIHL Blog

Light up your Christmas

December 20, 2018

If you love Christmas, then you’re sure to love indulging in a good festive light display, or getting into the spirit with a visit to Santa. In recent years, many gardens around the country have upped their festive game and... Read more →

An inspirational gold at Chelsea Flower Show with Hillier and STIHL

May 24, 2018

RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the place to be and be seen in May if you are a keen gardener. Even if you’re not very green-fingered, there is still plenty to inspire you with perfect plants and gorgeous gardens around... Read more →

The 2018 ARB Show, sponsored by STIHL

April 27, 2018

For the 14 th year running, STIHL will be sponsoring the ARB Show, and we can’t wait for the annual celebration of the science of trees. It’s the 20 th anniversary of the event and it looks set to be... Read more →

Simon O’Rourke and STIHL – The perfect wood carving partnership

February 27, 2018

We began working with expert chainsaw carver Simon O’Rourke in 2017 when he joined us at the Arb Show to do a wood carving demonstration. For us, he was an obvious choice for a partnership as he is the best... Read more →