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Out of Reach? The Power of Pole Saws and Pruners

Out of Reach? The Power of Pole Saws and Pruners

Safety, efficiency, and precision is paramount in the world of Arboriculture. We, at times, focus so much on chainsaws, ropes, carabiners, etc., that we forget about pole pruners and/or pole saws. These tools enable us to reach out onto compromised places and perform certain cuts without the aid of ladders or climbing, which in turn minimizes risk and potentially enhances productivity. Today’s blog delves into uses, benefits, and best practices associated with pole pruners and pole saws in our industry.

What is a Pole Pruner?

Pole pruners are specialized tools equipped with a pruner head, which in most cases, features a bypass cutting blade. Bypass cutting tools are ideal when it comes to finesse pruning as it is less likely to tear the stem and therefore leaves a cleaner cut. There is a pulley located on the pruner arm, giving the user a 2:1 mechanical advantage pull. Amongst the tree care world, “manual” pole pruners are commonly found everywhere and can be constructed of fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber, however, there does exist a hydraulic version. Hydraulic pruning poles may be widely found amongst the utility trimming population.




Okay I kid, not that Jaws, rather the size of the jaw opening of the head itself. On a standard Marvin head pruner, you’ll find a 1 ¼” jaw opening; from experience, this size works best for pruning ornamental trees where a clean cut is necessary. Our Bartlett Phoenix head will provide an impressive 1 ¾” cutting capacity, talk about whoa! Definitely recommend this if you intend on cutting larger diameter limbs.


Sometimes, the 2:1 pull you get is not enough. Luckily for you, different heads exist that offer just that, MORE POWER! Both Corona and Marvin offer a pole pruner head that offers a 3:1 system onto the head itself, or you can MacGyver something on your own. Here’s one that I geeked out about the first time I used it, the SINTUNG Lopper Head adaptor for Hayauchi Pole Saws! Hands down, the smoothest pruner attachment I have used all throughout my tree care career, it’s so effortless and that’s thanks to the 4:1 mechanical advantage!

When do they come in handy?

Sure, the obvious, when something is out of reach right? House clearance, rather than cutting an entire limb, pruners help us in reducing only a portion of the limb, back to something suitable that can assume the leadership role. Pole pruners play a vital role when it comes to crown reductions. From prior experience, a simple Marvin style pruner head will work best for this kind of job. The trick to preventing limbs from getting stuck while you reduce; cut fast and through, the piece that has been cut will balance on the pruner head but only for a split second, immediately follow by lifting the pruner up and give that limb a fling into the drop zone. This does require a sharp blade. A great use case is using extension pruners to trim away from electrical conductors, rather than getting too close and taking an unnecessary risk. Remember to respect M.A.D., electricity is not to be taken lightly, and be aware of what equipment you are using, along with its condition!


To lineman, this is a Hot Stick that extends a whopping forty feet in length! We, the crafty and adaptable tree care enthusiasts, have modified that Hot Stick to be compatible with a pruner head. Sure, we could climb it and make it fun but when it’s only for a few clips, it makes complete sense to bust out “The POGO”! Beware; when the Pogo is fully extended, it flexes just like a fishing rod when you’ve hooked onto a ten-pound Bass giving you the business. Here’s an easy tip that will help you maintain stability, wrap the pruner rope around the length of the Pogo once or twice, and that should stabilize it. Other than that, it is a shoulder workout!

Pole Saw

Constructed of the same materials, tree cutter pole saws differ in that they have a saw blade rather than a bypass cutting blade. Saw blades aren’t all the same, pay attention to the pattern of the tooth design. For example, some straight blades do not have that tri-edge and the tooth has no angle, which in turn doesn’t clean out the kerf as well as other blades. Pole saw blades that do have that tri-edge, cut that much easier. In fact, the cut becomes effortless! Another tri-edge blade that features a “raker style” pattern allowing a Rapid Cut – basically a gullet or space between the teeth throughout the blade. The space in front of the tooth allows for better chip removal. One more we’ll reference, the hook tip cutting blade; still featuring that fan favorite tri-edge pattern with hook tip. The hook tip (if sharpened) lets the user hook onto water sprouts and with a quick pull – voila, gone! This is a basic rundown of the blades based on my experiences and not based on the quality of the steel.


A pole saw or pole pruner measuring at eight feet may not quite cut it but no worries, there are middle sections that can adapt and in turn extend your reach. Something to keep in mind when extending your equipment, do not over do it. As multiple poles are connected to gain height, the flimsier the unit will become and chances of breaking them, increases. If you are in your busy season of pruning and space is limited in your storage bins, an interchangeable pruner combo may be a perfect choice for you!

Pole pruners and pole saws are indispensable tools in tree care, offering a safer and more efficient way to maintain ornamental trees. Understanding the types of tools and benefits of these tools will enhance your practice.

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