I’m a fairly independent human, who likes to avoid asking anyone for help. I’m that girl at the grocery store, who uses a wrapping paper tube from the stationery aisle to nudge paper towels off the high shelf. So when it comes to pruning fruit trees, the extendable pruning saw (sometimes called a “pole saw”) is a favorite of mine for garden cleanup.
Indoor fruit trees and outdoor fruit trees and bushes require regular pruning. For outdoor trees, it may be tempting to get on a ladder and use a lopper shear, but the older I get, the more conscious I am of a major goal in my life of “not falling.” Aside from gravity, loppers used on thicker stems and branches can warp and even break. The extendable pruning saw makes more sense as a safer and more dependable pruning and cutting tool on tall fruit trees and fruit bushes. Here are additional ways to make sure you are safely using your extendable pruning saw.
Get to know your extendable pruning saw
Like all garden tools, it’s a good idea to read any materials that come with your extendable pruning saw. I’m definitely a visual learner so I also pull up a web browser and search for video tutorials. In most extendable pruning saws, like smaller pruning saws, the cutting action takes place during the pull stroke. There are also certain techniques for pruning fruit trees, depending on the size and type of fruit tree. Do your research before you get started, instead of pausing mid-way with half a branch dangling overhead.
Check for power lines (and other hazards)
At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s dangerous to prune your fruit trees and fruit bushes if they are too close to power lines. For utility and power lines, call your utility company. Many times, they’ll come out to your house and prune the tree for you. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how dramatically they cut branches. Other hazards may include the fence you installed to keep the deer away from your fruit trees. Fencing and other ground structures can be obstacles while pruning and you may bump into them.
Keep your distance
The beauty of an extendable pruning saw is that you can create distance between you and a falling fruit tree branch. That said, it’s important to not stand directly below the branch you’re pruning. You may think you can scoot out of the way in time or that your jungle cat reflexes will help you grab the falling branch. But it’s best not to tempt fate.
Pruning a fruit tree is not the time to catch up on your true crime podcasts or listen to the latest Taylor Swift album. (But find time for both of those activities. They’re worth it!) It’s important to keep your ears and eyes alert, even if you are comfortable using your extendable pruning saw. If you’re distracted, you may not notice if your toddler runs toward you or if the dog darts after a toy left under the tree. Staying focused on your task and your surroundings will prevent minor and major accidents.
Do you use an extendable pruning saw on your fruit trees? What are your favorite techniques? Let me know in the comments!