How to Use a Pole Pruner

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If you have trees in your yard that need tending to, you might want to get a pole pruner. These are very convenient gardening tools when you want to trim or prune branches high above you. In this article, we will be discussing what a pole pruner is and how to use one.

How to Use a Pole Pruner: Step-by-Step Guide

Using a pole pruner is really not all that hard. It is one of the simpler tools to use in fact, one that is highly user-friendly. However, you need to know what you are doing, and you do need to know how to use a pole pruner properly. This is true both because you want to get the best use out of it, plus to help you stay safe while cutting tree branches high above. Let’s talk about how to use a pole pruner right now.

Safety First

The first thing that you need to keep in mind here is that even though pole pruners are generally some of the safer tree trimming tools to work with, you do want to stay as safe as humanly possible. What we are talking about is safety gear. For one, you should put on some kind of hard hat so that in the event that tree branches come down on your head, you will have a layer of protection.

Moreover, you will want to invest in a decent pair of safety goggles too, because you don’t want sawdust and debris to get in your eyes. Also, remember to wear adequate footwear for the job, which means no open-toe shoes, and preferably steel toe boots in case a large branch comes down on your foot. Moreover, it’s a good idea to wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt, as well as some kind of gardening or arborist gloves to keep your hands safe.

Getting the Pole Ready

The next step in using your pole pruner is to get the pole ready. What we mean here is that you need to extend the pole or attach the various pole segments to one another. One thing to keep in mind is that some pole pruners feature telescopic poles which can extend and retract at will. Simply extend the extension pole as far as you need, and lock it into place using the included locking mechanism.

On the other hand, there are also pruning poles which have various pole segments which attach to one another. In this case, you will want to gauge how far the branch you are looking to cut is from you. You might only need the base pole, which can be between 5 and 8 feet long, or you may need to attach one or more extension poles to get the reach that you need. The point here is that you want to measure or gauge how much reach you need when extending the pole or attaching extension poles. Remember, longer is not always better, so keep it within usable a usable length.

Positioning Yourself Properly

One of the more important things is to position yourself properly when using a pole pruner. All too often we see people using a pole pruner to trim a tree branch which standing directly under said branch. What do you think is going to happen if you cut off a tree branch while standing under it, with it directly above your head?

This is how people get hurt. Stand a couple of feet in whatever direction either behind or in front of the branch, so when you cut it and it comes down, it’s not going to fall on your head; it’s really common sense. For larger branches, some people will tie them off to the main tree so they don’t fall as soon as they are cut, but unless you are doing some major work, this is probably a bit unnecessary.

Select the Pruning System or the Serrated Saw

The next step is to select the proper piece of equipment to use. A pruning pole usually always comes with a rope-operated pruning system and a long serrated blade. The rope operated pruning system can usually handle branches anywhere between 0.25 and 2 inches, sometimes more or less. So, if the branch is fairly small, it is this rope-operated pruning system you will want to use.

However, these only go so far, and if the branch diameter exceeds the size limit of the pruning system, you will need to use the serrated blade to saw away at the branch. It’s time for you to choose which one you need for the job at hand. Not all pole pruners come with both of these features, but in all reality, any and every half decent pole pruner should come with both.

Get to Cutting

The final step in the process here is to actually cut or prune the branch in question. If you are using the rope-operated pruning system, get the branch in between the blades, make sure the whole branch is covered, and then give the rope a hard tug. This should cut all the way through the branch, and if it does not, give the rope a second tug to finish the job.

If you are using the serrated saw to cut a larger branch, this is not unlike using any other serrated saw. Apply a decent amount of pressure and use a steady back and forth motion to saw all the way through the branch. If there is a little end piece that refuses to be cut by the serrated saw, because branches are somewhat flexible, you may be able to use the rope-operated pruning system to snap through the last little stubborn bit.


As you can see, as long as you have some safety gear and use some common sense, using a pole pruner to deal with branches is about as easy as it gets.

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