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Person pruning a twig off a tree.

Overview

Pruning can help your trees to grow strong and keep a good shape. Another reason to prune is to remove damaged branches, which allows for new growth and helps prevent viral, bacterial and fungal infections from entering the tree. We'll show you how to prune correctly and how to avoid damaging the tree.

Steps

1Trim smaller branches with secateurs

Before you start put on your safety glasses and gloves. Secateurs are like spring-loaded scissors and have a locking system to keep the blades shut while you're not using them.

Start by cutting off small branches near the base of the tree. You can also use the secateurs for low hanging small branches. 

Person pruning a twig off a tree.

2Cut medium branches with your handsaw

Ideally the blade on your handsaw will be very sharp, so it's important to work carefully. You can use a handsaw to cut any protruding or lower level branches too big for the secateurs. Cut the branch off close to the tree trunk and avoid cutting the main trunk. Make sure you cut the branch on an angle that protrudes slightly off the trunk.

Person sawing a large twig off a tree.

3Prune hard to reach branches

Use your pole pruner's lever action to cut hard to reach branches. For thicker branches, there are attachments for the pole pruner, including a saw, that you can also be used to cut branches higher in the tree. 

Person wearing safety glasses and gloves using an extendable tool to prune a large twig off a tree.

4Prune thicker branches with loppers

Loppers are like giant secateurs used for pruning big branches. They are designed to give you more leverage and makes it a lot easier to cut through thicker branches. 
Person wearing safety glasses and gloves to prune a large twig off a tree.

5Cut thicker branches using an undercut

Undercuts are used to remove large branches, that if you cut it from the top, the weight would snap it off. This can lead to tears in the bark and expose the tree to diseases. To undercut, start under the branch and saw upwards until you have cut halfway through. Then saw down from the top of the branch, starting about 3-5 cm up from the undercut. Keep sawing until the weight of the branch pulls it away from the tree. Tidy up the tree by cutting from the top of the remaining branch, away from the trunk, all the way through.

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.