Anyone can grab a pair of pruning shears and start cutting branches.

But without the proper training, how do you know that you’re not doing unnecessary damage to your plant?

In addition, where should you actually make your pruning cuts?

In our DIY Garden Minute Ep. 55 – “Pruning Basics: Where to Make Your Pruning Cuts,” we’ll tell you where you should make your pruning cuts.

This episode is meant for any level of gardener who wants to learn how to better prune and maintain their yard.

For our “Prune Like a Pro” free cheat sheet, click here!

Pruning Cuts

Two of the most important types of pruning cuts are thinning cuts and heading cuts.

Both types of cuts can have a huge impact on how your plant grow, along with specific plant physiology, genetics, and environmental factors.

Thinning Cuts

When you selectively cut single limbs or stems off a plant all the way back to its point of attachment, this is a “thinning” cut.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the whole limb; maybe just a section or branch of the larger limb.

Examples of this type of pruning are best for most trees, especially when creating “scaffolding” or branch structures.

Tools we recommend to make Thinning Cuts:

Corona ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Hand Pruner, cuts up to 1-inch 

Fiskars 28 inch Bypass Loppers

Fiskars 7 inch Power Tooth Softgrip Folding Saw

Heading Cuts

When you selectively cut limbs or stems not at their point of attachment nor near other growth points, this is a “heading” cut.

This type of pruning is best for compact and dense growing plants which react well to shearing or hedging, other terms for “heading” cuts.

For more information on each type of cut, check out our previous podcast Pruning Basics: Thinning Cuts vs. Heading Cuts – DIY Garden Minute Ep. 51.

Tools we recommend to make Heading Cuts:

Corona ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Hand Pruner, cuts up to 1-inch 

Fiskars Power Lever 9-inch Hedge Shears with Soft Grip Handle


5 images of tree branches and shrubs with text explaining types of pruning cuts

Thinning and heading cuts are both examples of types of pruning cuts you need to learn.

Pruning Cuts Show Notes

Today’s topic: “Pruning Basics: Where to Make Your Pruning Cuts”

On this episode, learn where you should make your cuts and why.

Listen to learn about:

  • A branch or stem collar – cut just above collar, so you don’t leave a stub.
  • Growth or axil buds – cut about 1/2 inch above bud or “smiley-face”.


You can also learn more about pruning by listening to our DIY Garden Minute Ep. 10 about our 3-Pillars of Pruning.

And don’t forget to visit our Free Resources page to check out our plant profile sheets and printable freebies for mulching, pruning, and MORE!

Also be sure to read our Winter Pruning post or listen to our Fall Pruning Do’s and Don’ts podcast!


You can find other one-minute topics on our podcast page at

On Instagram or Pinterest under @SpokenGarden (all one word) to follow or leave us a comment.

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We have FREE garden content we are so excited to give to you, like cheat sheets, plant profile sheets, etc! See you there!

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Today’s Topic:

Pruning Cuts

Learn where to make your pruning cuts on your trees, shrubs, and plants!


Show Notes

“Prune Like a Pro” Pruning Cheat Sheet

What You’ll Learn:


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