Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Use a Pole Saw

By Henri Bauholz

A pole saw is just like the name suggests, a saw at the end of a long pole. This tool is very handy for trimming branches and limbs of small trees. It is a particularly useful tool, for those people who do not like to climb ladders or trees.

Examine the pole saw to make sure that the saw part is in good condition and that it is firmly attached to the pole. All the teeth on the saw blade should be sharp and in alignment. There should not be any missing teeth.

Approach the branch of the tree that you wish to cut and make sure that there are no obstructions between yourself and the limb you wish to cut. Consider removing any obstructions, which usually come in the form of other branches.

Begin your cut as close to the main trunk as possible.

Cut the underside of the branch first. Most likely this cut will come in the shape of a "v." If the branch that you are cutting is any distance above your head, then you saw will not fit directly underneath the branch. Start first on one portion of the underside of the branch, then come at the branch from the other direction. Eventually, you will completely break through the bark on the complete bottom half of the limb. Keep sawing at the bottom until you have progressed a ways into the woody part of the branch.

Start cutting from the top side or at least as close to the top side as you can. Again first break through the bark until a completed cut circumnavigates the whole branch. Now bear down on the saw until you feel that you have cut deep into the limb. If you can place you saw on the other side of the branch, do this and again take your cut deep into the branch.

Cut through the branch until it drops. Make sure you are not underneath the part of the tree that is about to come down. This is where the length of a pole saw comes in handy, for it allows you to stand back and finish the cut from the side, where you will not be harmed by any falling branches. Most branches that you cut with a pole saw will be rather small and bushy, so if they do land on you then they will cause no problems. Bigger branches often require different techniques.


Things You Will Need

  • Pole saw
  • Work gloves


  • Make as clean a cut as possible.
  • You can leave the exposed cut untreated. Putting tar on the stump of the freshly cut limb does not enhance the trees survival, but instead it is a break even event. It does help keep out unwanted micro-organisms, but it creates a hot spot on the tree, when the sun is out, plus the tar can cause the tree to undergo a defensive reaction. So you might as well leave the stumps untreated.


  • Watch out for falling branches. If you are doing light pruning, these are not usually a problem, but with bigger branches make sure they have a clear path to the ground.
  • If you think ropes are necessary to drop your tree branch, you might want to call in a professional.

About the Author


Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.