8 Best Pole Saws | March 2017
- two-piece pole for near and far work
- automatic oiler
- section joints are finicky
- reaches up to 12 feet
- capable of pro link attachments
- motor may bind without revving
- extends to 9 feet for pruning
- strong braided wire cable drive
- 4-year warranty available
- cut over 100 branches per charge
- long 8-inch cutting bar
- disassembles for compact storage
- 40-volt lithium ion battery
- compact head for improved cutting
- extremely quiet during operation
Making The Cut: Choosing The Right Pole Saw
The trimming of branches and brambles growing high above the ground used to comprise a laborious and time consuming project, necessitating the use of hand operated mechanical saws or else meaning the use of a ladder (or simply climbing the tree) to reach the tree limbs with a chainsaw. Today there are multiple pole mounted chainsaws available for purchase, and these powerful tools make a once tedious project easier and safer.
If your property has numerous trees that require periodic pruning or if your professional work calls for frequent trimming of tree branches, then buying a good pole saw is a great idea. The first thing you must consider is simply how much height you need, e.g. how high the branches to be trimmed are. Many pole saws can extend out to as much as ten feet, meaning most users can reach branches as much as fifteen feet above the ground with ease.
However a pole saw with a longer reach may also outweigh some smaller options; some pole saws weigh as much as fourteen pounds, while others weigh only nine. These lighter weight saws can be easier to safely use while on a ladder or while in a tree, so make sure to take into account tool weight as well as reach.
After length and weight, the biggest choice a person must make when choosing the right pole saw pertains to its power source. While usually gas powered pole saws will deliver the most torque, they are also noisier than electric saws and require more effort (and potential mess) in the refueling process. Many people turn to electrically powered pole saws, which indeed offer plenty of power.
Within the category of electric pole saws, you must choose whether you are interested in a corded saw or a battery powered saw. A corded saw offer the obvious benefit of never needed a new battery; it can always be used save for during a power outage. Battery powered saws on the other hand are more conveniently portable as they can be easily moved about and have no risk of getting power cords snagged on branches.
For the homeowner looking to do occasional light trimming, a corded saw is likely the best choice, and is certainly the more cost effective. For the professional landscaper or arborist who moves from project to project and might not have easy access to an outlet, a battery operated saw is the way to go. Just look for saws with batteries rated at twenty volts or higher to ensure they boast enough power to get through stubborn branches.
Pole Saw Safety
As with any power tool, proper use of a pole saw means safe use. As pole saws put a potentially dangerous whirling blade at the end of a long rod, an arrangement to which most people are not usually exposed, their safe use requires extra care. Before you turn on your pole saw, practice lifting and lowering it and maneuver the tool around over your head, effectively miming the process of trimming branches. Once you are comfortable with its weight and with the leverage produced by the saw's distant head, you are almost ready to commence its use.
But first, you should get yourself outfitted with appropriate safety gear. This includes ear protection, as power saws can create a decibel level that is uncomfortable and that can even damage hearing, gloves to keep your hands safe, and protective googles or glasses to prevent debris from scratching your eyes. When using a pole saw, you might even want to consider wearing a hard hat, as falling branches can cause serious injuries.
When using a pole saw, never stand directly underneath the branches you are trimming. Also be wary of the potential arc along with a branch may swing if it is only partially severed from the trunk. Make sure no person or object stands be struck by a falling or swinging branch, taking special precaution around wires and phone lines.
Also take the time to inspect and clear the ground around the tree you will be trimming. As your eyes will be predominately facing upward during pole saw use, you need to make sure you remove or at least note any tripping hazards, such as roots, rocks, or other obstacles, prior to commencing your work.
How To Properly Prune A Tree
It might seem ironic, but in fact chopping limbs and branches off of a tree can be the best way to keep the tree healthy. And pruning a tree is not just the best way to keep it in good physical shape, but also to keep it looking great at the same time. Removing the lower branches that grow off of a tree trunk can help to maintain the ideal shape of the plant. Lower branches also tend to be more sparsely vegetated, thus not as attractive and robust in appearance.
When possible, prune and trim trees during their dormant cycles in the late fall and winter instead of during growth periods of the spring and summer. Also be aware that removing larger limbs should be left to professionals both for your own safety and for your tree's health. With most trees, removing branches thicker than five or six inches in diameter can have a serious impact on overall plant health, especially if they are removed improperly.
Once you have identified a branch to be removed, follow a three step process for proper removal. First, use your pole saw to make a small, shallow cut on the bottom of the branch a few inches away from the trunk. This cut prevents the falling branch from tearing away too much bark or core material from the trunk.
Next, cut all the way through the branch several inches farther away from the trunk than the safety notch you carved. Always cut from the top down to prevent the branch from pinching the saw blade. Once the limb has been removed, clear it from the work area before preceding.
Finally, you can now make your third cut as close as possible to the trunk, removing all but a little stub of the branch. (There is no longer a risk of the heavy limb pulling down more bark and wood than wanted, so the initial notch can be disregarded.)