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How to Use a Pole Saw Safely

How to Use a Pole Saw Featured Image.

Wondering how to use a pole saw?

This post explains how to use a pole saw in the safest possible way.

Trimming branches that are high up can be tricky and even dangerous. Although you have the option of climbing a ladder to tend to these branches, balancing and cutting at the same time is not easy and often not safe. If you are determined to do the pruning yourself, the best option would be to use a pole saw.

Pole saws are relatively simple tools but there are several techniques and tips to keep in mind when using one.

Step 1 – Setup

You will have very little control over where the branch falls when it comes down. As a result, it is vital to clear a large area. Try to block off the area to prevent anyone (including pets) from entering it. Pay careful attention to things that may trip you. When the branch starts to fall, you may need to move quickly.

Take the time to carefully plan your cuts. You do not want to just start hacking away at a branch, but rather make a few preliminary cuts first.

It is also a good idea to remove as much excess weight as possible before tackling the branch.

When planning your cuts, keep in mind that most cuts start from the top. That allows gravity to work with you instead of against you. The exception is when making jump cuts. You will make a jump cut by sawing a bit underneath the branch. This will be difficult, but worth it. A jump cut is what will prevent the branch from creating a hinge as it breaks away and swinging from the tree. Instead, your branch will “jump” away.

Step 2 – Making the Cut

You will definitely want to use both hands when using your pole saw. Bring the saw up into the air and then allow it to rest on the branch. After you have positioned the saw, it is time to position your body. You should NEVER stand directly under the branch you are cutting. Instead, move off to the side but stay close enough that you can hold the handle at chest level. If you have an adjustable pole, make any necessary adjustments to the length for optimum safety and cutting ability.

The very first stroke should establish a starting groove. It needs to be made as deeply as possible. Cutting perpendicular to the branch is the best way to achieve this. This may be awkward to do, but remember that the rest of your cuts can be done at a different angle. The point of this first cut is to give you a guide on where to cut.

In the first few strokes, it is common for the saw to slip. As your groove gets deeper, this should stop. Rest your saw on the branch and gather your strength as often as you need to. Once the slipping has stopped, you can increase the speed of your strokes. You will get more power out of your pull strokes.

As soon as the branch starts to give, try to plan a way to safely retreat.

Once it is on the ground, it needs to be removed before you start working on any other branches. Otherwise, it will become a trip hazard.

Safety Tips

There are several things to keep in mind to minimize the danger to yourself when using a pole saw.

Never work around power lines. If your tree branches are above or anywhere near a power line, you will need professional help to prune it.

A pole saw is only good for branches up to 2 or 3 inches thick. Having branches thicker than that is another example of when to call a professional in. A professional will have a system of ropes and pulleys that will lower the large branches down to the ground safely.

Using a pole saw is very tiring. They can be heavy and awkward, especially those that are 8 feet long plus. Do not push yourself past your limits.

Cutting a branch with a pole saw for the first time is not something that should be done lightly. Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual and make sure you know the proper techniques before beginning.

Final Thoughts On How to Use a Pole Saw

Learning how to use a pole saw properly is so important. Remember, there is no shame in hiring a professional to cut those hard to reach branches. If you do decide to tackle the job yourself, take your time to do it properly so that neither you or your tree are damaged by the process.

For more information on operating pole saws safely check out this great post.

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