Q: I think I heard you say that to use a flush cut when pruning Japanese maple limbs. But I found an article by Alex Shigo, whoever he is, that said something about respecting the collar. Can you clarify before I cut?
A: Dr. Alex Shigo is considered one of the greatest modern-day experts on tree care. His studies of tree decay resulted in great improvements to standard tree care practices. He showed conclusively that the best place to make the cut when removing a limb is just outside the trunk collar. The collar is the raised ring of bark from which a limb emerges on a tree trunk. I have pictures and diagrams of how to prune tree limbs at http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/tree-pruning/.