The aim of this case study was to compare the impacts of saw and secateur pruning on silver birch (Betula pendula Roth). Data were collected from two saw pruned stands in 2005, and one secateur pruned stand in 2003. All the stands were located in southern Finland. The sample stems were felled, and their butt logs were sawn into flitches, whose knot features and colour defects were measured. In addition, discs were sawn from each stem in order to study the annual ring widths. In this material, pruning with secateurs appeared to cause less colour defects than pruning with a saw. Irrespective of the pruning method used, the colour defects in the stem wood were at their largest in cases where the basal knob or the stem bark appeared to be damaged by pruning. Colour defects spread mainly towards the pith, only in a few cases towards the stem surface. The cicatrisation time of the knots as well as the length of the bark stick remaining inside the stem did not show significant differences between the two pruning methods. Pruning of the lowest living branches appears to have no effect on the diameter growth of silver birch trees.