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The best technique when pruning tree branches is to cut the branch off, leaving the branch collar intact. Do not cut the branch flush with the trunk. At the point where a branch joins the trunk there is a swelling called the branch collar, and if you cut just outside this collar, the tree is able to close the wound itself. However, if you flush cut the branch (removing the collar), the tree has far greater difficulty closing the wound and is left open to invasion from pests and diseases.