I am now aware of the 3 cut method of pruning the tree to avoid damaging the bark. I am at the brink of loosing a tree because of bad pruning and not noticing that.

Now this may sound a silly question but I can't understand this that when we cut the tree even using the 3 cut method, a proper cut. The circular area that is left wide open revealing the inside of the tree after a proper cut, can't the bacteria or other disease enter through that anyway ? Or people cover or use some chemical on that to avoid bacteria from entering from that area.

I mean like this circular open area after a proper cut

enter image description here

How can bacteria enter from a damaged bark but not from this ?

2 Answers 2


For comparison purposes, this answer will also refer to your other question in respect of your mango tree.

To answer your question directly, yes, bacteria can enter via any cut or wound on a tree or plant, but infection is more likely through splits, cracks or fractured parts. The image you show above is of a perfect pruning cut- no stub, with a collar, and cleanly cut with no fracturing or bits of wood sticking out. The cuts made on your mango tree were not done in this way - one or two of them look almost like the wood broke off, leaving a large stub of branch and fractured wood sticking up. The fractured woody parts invite moisture to linger, trap more airborne particles and spores, and will encourage infection, whereas a clean, sharp, perfectly positioned cut such as the one you show in the image reduces the risk.

Wound paint used to be recommended for tree pruning, but is no longer because infection rates were higher in trees where this was used. The only exception is in the UK and other countries where silverleaf disease can be a problem on cherries particularly, when sealing the wound may help to keep the disease away. Further info on tree pruning generally here https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=233

  • I feel a bit silly to ask this as a separate question but I thought I had already asked enough on that one. About my tree you are correct it is the worst pruning one can ever hope for. I can't also believe I was watching my tree everyday and thinking what has gone wrong this time when the reason was just in front of my eyes. I just didn't know that bad pruning and leaving trees like that can damage them until recently. Thank for the link I will look into it before proceeding further. Oct 25, 2019 at 21:17
  • Time of year for pruning is important in some trees in various parts of the world too - in the UK, for instance, pruning of Acers is done August through to January, or they bleed a lot. But don't feel too badly about your tree - even with good pruning, it may still have produced gummosis anyway - its very common on stone fruit trees.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 25, 2019 at 21:18
  • Winter just arrived here I think this is good time but I will still make doubly sure first. One last thing I wanted to ask. Not that I have so many options to cut the tree I have to cut it from very low above the green bud that is still there as the most of the upper tree seems to be dead. But at that area tree has a very thick diameter, would be ok to leave such a large cut like that ? Oct 25, 2019 at 21:23
  • Unfortunately, you'll have to risk it, but bear in mind that cutting so low down will probably lead to lots of twiggy growth next year off the edges of the stump which you will have to drastically thin out. It's unlikely it will grow into a good shape, sadly, so you might want to consider the possiblity of removing it and its major roots and replanting - which may not be easy to do, given I recall it looked like it was planted in paving
    – Bamboo
    Oct 25, 2019 at 21:27
  • No it wasn't planted in paving that was done recently, its not even cement or rocks below just a lot of soil beneath and one layer red bricks on top with light cement to keep them together. It can be easily removed Its temporary. Well I'll have to see what I can do now. Thanks a lot for the information and help. Oct 25, 2019 at 21:33

I would remark that what you call the 3 cut method is not a magic way to prune a tree.

A wound is a wound, pruning is a way human beeing manage a tree, and pruning always causes a wound.

There is a good way of doing it and a really bad way of doing it.

Modern Arboriculture by Shigo (what I think you mean by 3 steps cut) describes a model, based on empirical evidence, called CODIT, in which a proper pruning causes less damage of bad pruning.

I would give the following takes away, what follows is for recreational trees, timber trees, or fruits trees management usually follows human criteria related to the productivity not to tree health. what follows is not an exhaustive list:

  • You can have your tree pruned, or prune it by yourself if there is a good reason for doing so, but there has to be a good reason.

  • Pruning a tree most of the times damage the tree, sometimes it is an acceptable compromise. If a branch, for example, goes inside a window and is not a big branch you may cut it away if is not so big (4/5 cm diameter), better sooner than later. Sometimes it is not, for example, if the mentioned branch was a very important limb (15 cm diameter).

  • You are so worried about bacteria but fungi are usually the real problem and the bigger is a pruning cut the lesser the tree is able to defend himself.

  • very true and valid points. I just realised it a bit later. Oct 28, 2019 at 6:17

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