Pole saws for tree trimming are an easy and convenient way to reach high branches from the ground without needing to climb the tree and they are simple enough to use for nearly everybody to do on their own. In our business we often use the pole saw for trimming small trees or lower branches on large trees.
We use a Stihl gas powered pole saw with a chainsaw attachment on the end. We also use a manually operated pole saw and pole pruner that can be connected to extension poles to reach as high as needed. I want to describe these tools and what they are best used for.
The Stihl Gas Powered Pole Saw
The Stihl pole saw is an excellent choice for removing or pruning branches. The 2 cycle engine requires a 50 to 1 ratio of gas and oil, which is standard in chainsaws. A gas engine is by far the most powerful and fastest cutting of all the options for an engine, although it will also be slightly heavier and louder, but those are mild drawbacks if this tool will be used a lot as the speed and efficiency will make up for the weight and earplugs can be worn to protect against the engine sound.
A gas engine is recommended for frequent or commercial use, no need to charge a battery or drag an extension cord behind. The engine weight to power ratio is great and it can cut thru large pieces of firewood. The exhaust has a protective shield to prevent burns. Its throttle is controlled by the forefinger on operator’s bottom hand.
The pole saw power head is approximately 4 feet long and the chainsaw attachment is approximately 4 feet long, they are then connected together in a coupler and tightened by hand. Simple and easy, no tools required. Four foot extensions can be added between the power head and the saw to reach much higher in the tree. As many extensions can be added as you want, but the longer the pole saw becomes, the harder to operate it with the weight of the chainsaw at the end.
On the chainsaw attachment the chainsaw bar is 12 inches long. The saw dust created from cutting discharges from the top and front of the cover holding the bar in place. That is to help throw the sawdust away from the operator.
From experience, before cutting a branch above me it is important to note the wind direction and try to stand upwind of the branch being sawed. If I am downwind I will be in the falling sawdust, which can make it difficult to watch the cutting process.
Pruner Blade – Great For Cutting Small Limbs
The pruner blade attachment is mainly used on small diameter limbs up to 1 1/4 inches although larger models allow up to 1 3/4 inches. The pruner head is lightweight and the knife is very strong to prevent it from breaking. This tool operates by the operator pulling a rope that reaches from the ground up to the cutting head and is fastened there to the knife.
To cut a limb I simply place the pruner over top of the branch where I want it cut and pull on the dangling rope. Pulling on the rope causes the knife to close cutting off the branch quickly and cleanly. After the knife is closed and the branch cut off, simply release the rope and a spring fastened to the knife will open the knife and be ready to cut again.
This method is much faster and simpler than using the manual pole saw and sawing it off. Also, no need to worry about sawdust falling down. This pruner also works great for shortening branches far from the trunk of the tree, where the branch is much less steady and therefore much harder to use a saw.
Pole Saw Blade – For Manually Cutting Big Limbs
The pole saw blade attachment is used for cutting limbs larger than the pruner blade can cut. It has a sharp tri-edged steel blade with approximately 5 – 6 teeth per inch and is usually from 12 to 16 inches long. The saw blade is able to flex but is very strong to prevent breaking and will stay sharp thru many cuts.
The saw blade connects to the extension poles and is good for cutting large limbs when there is no easier way to reach them, although the higher you need to reach the harder and longer the sawing time. This is generally the last resort as you can well imagine sawing thru a large branch by hand will be time and energy consuming.
The Extension Poles – Lightweight And Strong
The extension pole or handles are the pieces that extend your reach as far as needed. The extension poles are made in various lengths from 2 feet to 12 feet. There are many attachments that fit on these poles and the poles can also be connected to each other by an aircraft grade aluminum coupling and locked into place with a spring clip that can be easily operated with a thumb and forefinger. Being made from fiberglass ensures they are non conductive, lightweight, durable, brightly colored and they will not get bent like metal extension poles can.
The extension poles can be used for many other things besides a pruning blade and saw blade. An attachment we often use and I recommended to everyone that has a problem with broken on hanging limbs is a Jameson rope and limb raiser or puller. It is a simple tool about 13 inches long that fastens into the end of an extension pole. It has a hook for pulling and a U shaped piece on top for pushing. The hook is used the most for pulling hangers out of the tree we are working on. When pruning a tree there are usually some branches that get hung up and don’t make it to the ground. This hook will then hook the branch and pull it down and out of the tree. The U on top can be used for pushing up branches that are overhanging a driveway so the bucket truck can drive thru and also to push a rope up the trunk of a tree that needs to be pulled as it is being cut down.
Battery Powered Pole Saw – Simple And Convenient
The battery powered tools have grown exceptionally in the recent years, to include almost anything we can think of. The battery life keeps improving, the tools keep getting larger and stronger. Having a battery powered pole saw is a great tool for a homeowner to have.
Some advantages of a battery powered pole saw over a gas powered pole saw are quite obvious.
- They do not need a yearly engine tuneup or maintenance.
- No need for a gas can with mixed gas for the pole saw.
- Don’t have to worry about the ethanol in gas harming the carburetor over the winter – ethanol is corrosive.
- There are no exhaust fumes.
- The engine is much quieter.
- They will always start – No need to tire yourself pulling the starter rope.
- Great to use by a homeowner.
- They are lighter than a gas powered pole saw.
There are many different brands and options to chose from and you will want a poles saw that fits to your needs. A Stihl and Husqvarna are among the best they make and as a professional arborist those are the brands I recommend, especially for heavy use. Although for use around the home where it will not be used every day, a cheaper brand would be fine and will last for years.
Electric Pole Saw – The Powered Pole Saw On A Budget
The electric pole saw is the cheapest and lightest pole saw, other than a manual operated pole saw. A disadvantage of this saw is that it will need an extension cord plugged into an outlet to power it, limiting the number of places it can be used. Pruning branches around the home is a great place to use the pole saw.
The pole saw is lighter than others because it does not have a battery on it or a gas engine, which both add considerable weight. Its is usually cheaper than gas or battery powered pole saws because it does not have an expensive battery or gas engine, but a lightweight efficient 110 volt electric motor.
I hope by sharing my experience with pole saws for tree trimming it has helped you in some way as you determine the best option for pruning tree branches.