Excerpt from Gardening for Pleasure, Algove Publishing, 2000. (Originally published in 1883.)
The mechanical part of pruning is very simple, a sharp knife is the best implement, as it makes a clean cut, without bruising the bark, and the wound quickly heals; but shears are much easier to handle, and the work can be done so much more quickly, that they are generally preferred, and for rampant growing bushes will answer, but upon fruit-trees, and choice plants generally, the knife is to be preferred.
The cut should be made just at a joint; not so far above it as to leave a stub, as in fig. 49, which will die back to the bud, there being nothing to contribute to its growth; nor should it be made so close to the bud as to endanger it, as in fig. 48; the cut should start just above its top, as in fig. 50.
Note: This is a reprint of an article originally published in 1883. It describes what was recommended in accordance with the knowledge and practices of the day. While reading it, please consider this fact. Today, bypass pruners are generally used to do this kind of pruners.