Exterior & Landscape

Trimming high tree branches

Have you’ve ever been crazy enough to stand on top of a ladder, holding a chainsaw with one hand stretched high above your head as the blade shreds a tree limb thicker than a caveman’s neck?

If you answered “yes”, read on. There is an easier, and much safer way.

This method doesn’t involve any gas-to-oil mix ratios, fuel stabilizer for the winter, choking or priming. Say hello to the electric pole chainsaw.

While it’s use is fairly self-explanatory, here are few tips to help guide your purchase as well as operate the chainsaw safely and effectively.

Purchasing and Operating the Saw

  1. When the product description states “15-foot reach”, don’t start daydreaming about cutting the tips off your 50-year-old pine trees.
    The “reach” is not describing the maximum length of the saw itself. In most cases, it is making the assumption that you are 6 feet tall, while the chainsaw itself extends to a maximum of 9 feet.
  2. Be cautious when resting the saw blade on top of a tree branch and “letting the saw do the work”. Once the blade has made its way through the branch, it will drop to the ground. The blade will likely not stop spinning before it hits the dirt, dulling your chain.
    Make sure you properly support the pole saw during all cuts.
  3. It’s temping to purchase a 16 gauge 100 ft. extension cord with this unit, due to the low cost of the high gauge wire. Consider spending the extra cash going to a 12 gauge cord, it will improve the voltage drop to the saw and the cord itself won’t become as hot during use.
  4. Any chainsaw runs through bar and chain oil quickly. Bring a quart of bar & chain oil wherever you take your saw. You’ll find that the oil tank empties after about 5 or 10 minutes of continuous use.
    Since this oil is used to oil your chain and it is consumed rapidly, some suggest saving money by using old oil from a car oil change. You can do this, but you might be wise to run it through a filter to remove any dirt or debris first.

Proper Tree Pruning

Now that your comfortable operating the saw, let’s look at a few pruning tips to keep your trees healthy and aesthetically pleasing.

The Three-Step Cut

  1. Make a small cut on the underside of the branch about 6 inches from the stem. This will prevent a tear during step 2 from running into the stem of the branch.
  2. Make a complete cut one foot from the stem.
  3. Remove the remaining one foot stub at the stem.

When to Prune

Remove dead branches anytime, but wait until the end of fall to remove live branches. Trees are more dormant during this time and sap loss will be minimal.

Don’t tackle every branch at once. Spread the pruning out over a couple seasons to reduce the stress on the tree.


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