How to Prune Trees
The How to Prune Trees Web resource from the USDA Forest Service is a great guide in the best ways to prune trees and the most common mistakes we make. It includes the how and why with helpful illustrations to make things very clear and easy to understand.
Clever Gardening Technique
The 3-Cut Method
Use the 3-cut method when you do need to remove a large limb to prevent it from stripping the bark down the trunk. Start by cutting upward from beneath the branch about a foot out from where it attaches to the trunk or a larger branch, cutting about 1/3 of the way through. Then cut downward from above and a few inches farther out than the first cut to remove the branch. Finally remove the remaining stub with a cut just outside the natural branch collar at the point of attachment.