Pole saws can extend the reach of pruners up to a length of 20 feet with extensions. Pole saws enable gardeners to remove tree branches and suckers while maintaining a secure stance on the ground. Available in hand- and power-driven models, both gasoline- and battery-fueled, pole saws require practice for effective use. Consider learning to use a pole saw to reach branches beyond the reach of your arms and a ladder. General strategies apply to hand- and power-driven pole saws.
Weighing the Options
Select a pole saw bearing your strength in mind. While hand saws extend your reach, the force required to cut branches still comes from back and arm muscles. The length of a pole saw handle amplifies your abilities and weaknesses. If possible, test the point-and-reach capacities of a new pole saw to determine how easy it will be to maneuver. Power-driven pole chain saws also add perceptible weight to the end of the saw.
Determine how long a handle you will need to solve your potential pruning problems. In general, saws with handles equal to the length of your own natural reach (7 to 8 feet) are easier to maneuver than longer ones. While longer handles enable you to stand farther away from branches you are pruning, rather than under them, decreasing control of the saw can result in branches or the saw itself falling unpredictably and causing injury.
Evaluate storage options when choosing a saw. Look for telescoping handles or segmented ones so that your saw does not have to be stored at full length. Blades that come with scabbards or fold and lock into the handle are a safe storage option. All handle joints should be easy to clean to ensure that handle segments lock securely with each use.
Using the Saw
Wear protective clothing and safety gear (glasses, gloves and hat) before using your saw. The exact path of falling branches is hard to control when pole-sawing, and proper clothing will protect you from injury.
Choose a level, secure place to stand while pruning with a pole saw. Avoid uneven, rocky or muddy ground to avoid losing your balance. Some pruners lay down an old piece of plywood to ensure a level stance while operating a pole saw. Make certain that the area where you stand and the area where branches might fall are clear of children, pets, breakable objects and vehicles.
Place the blade of your saw on the branch or sucker you are pruning, either alone or with help. Pull blade, whether hand or power, slowly across branch. Reseat the blade on the branch and pull again.
Hold the saw handle more firmly as cutting continues; when the cut branch is ready to fall, so is your saw. Most blade damage occurs when the saw falls uncontrolled; you can also be struck by the handle as this happens. Even if you are able to maneuver your saw alone, a helper can assist you in stabilizing the saw as you complete your cut.