Any pruning work must be carried out carefully in order to avoid damaging the plant. Sharp, clean pruning tools will help to ensure that you make a sharp, clean cut; a ragged cut or a torn stem is very vulnerable to disease.
Damage may be further minimised by ensuring that pruning cuts are accurate. Stems should be severed just above a bud (or pair of buds) that faces in the right direction for growth. Cuts should be made approximately 5 mm (1/4 in) above the bud; at this distance, the cut will be far enough away from the bud to prevent damage to the bud itself, yet near enough not to produce a stub that could act as a point of entry for disease.
When pruning plants that have buds that grow alternately up the stem, make sure that the pruning cut is made at an angle away from the bud; this will encourage moisture to fall away from the bud, reducing the risk of rot. Stems that have pairs of buds that grow in pairs directly opposite each other should be pruned using a straight cut directly above the buds.