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Pruning Saw. Tips from Professionals

If you like keeping your trees and plantation in fine shape, you will surely need a pruning saw in your garden toolbox. A pruning saw is a versatile and essential gardening tool to maintain the finesse of trees and shrubs, whether you work as a professional landscaper or like doing it as a hobby.

Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is a portable tool to trim small to medium-sized branches on trees and shrubs. Pruning saws come in blades ranging from 6 to 20 inches. And types like a Bow saw for larger pruning jobs, a Ryobi saw for finer cuts, or a Kataba saw. Pruning saws are suitable for pruning overgrown branches, shaping trees, removing dead or diseased wood, and reducing tree size.

This article will cover all I know about pruning saws, their applications, and their advantages. I will discuss the various types of pruning saws available and offer guidance on choosing the best one for your needs. I hope there will be something interesting, whether you’re a novice pruner or an expert gardener.

What Is A Pruning Saw Used For?

A pruning saw is a specialized tool for trimming and shaping trees, shrubs, and other woody plants. You can use it for multiple purposes, such as:

· Preserving the Plant’s Shape:

Pruning saws are used to prune and remove branches growing in the wrong direction, crossing over other branches, or rubbing together. This encourages healthy growth and maintains the plant’s natural growing shape.

· Promoting Healthful Growth:

Branches that are sick, dead, or overgrown can be cut with pruning saws. This contributes to the plant’s general health and lessens the possibility of disease or pests spreading to other areas of the tree or shrub.

· Avoiding Damage:

With a pruning saw, you can cut dead or diseased branches and branches that are too close to infrastructure, such as buildings or power lines. This reduces the likelihood of damage to the surrounding areas and the plant.

· Increasing Visibility:

Pruning saws can cut lower branches that block viewpoints or walkways. This promotes safety and enhances a property’s aesthetic appeal.

It is important to remember that pruning must not be done excessively, as it can limit the plant’s growing ability. It is better to prune your plants in the dormant season before the growth starts. Avoid pruning in hot or dry seasons as it can deprive the plant of moisture and impact its growth.

What Does A Pruning Saw Look Like? 

A pruning saw features a straight or curved blade with small, sharp teeth and a comfortable handle. The blade’s length can vary from 6 to 20 inches. While some pruning saws have fixed blades, others have folding blades that can be locked into position when used.

Some of the common variants are as follows:

  • Bow saws with a blade mounted on a frame are bow-like and ideal for larger pruning projects.
  • Ryoba saws have teeth on one edge for rough cutting and teeth on the other for finer cuts.
  • Kataba saws have a single bevel edge for precise cuts in tight spaces.

Most pruning saws feature coated blades for enhanced durability. The handles can be made of various materials, including plastic, wood, or rubber.

What Can You Cut With A Pruning Saw?

A pruning saw cuts small to medium-sized branches on trees and shrubs. It is designed to make clean and precise cuts, and its compact size allows you to use it in tight spaces.

Generally, pruning saws are meant to cut woody branches that are difficult to cut using regular shears. Their sharp and narrow blades make them the preferred choice for cutting branches, having a diameter of around 2-3 inches. Some larger saws can even handle branches with a diameter up to 5 inches.

Besides branches, pruning saws can also be employed to cut or shape denser hedges that are difficult to trim using hedge shears. Moreover, removing dead branches or shrubs becomes more straightforward using a pruning saw. Apart from this, they can also remove branches that bear fruits or nuts. Using pruning saws makes it simpler to chop these branches off and ensure the fruit isn’t damaged.

What Type of Saw Is Best for Pruning Trees?

The size of the branches ultimately determines the best saw for pruning trees. For smaller leafy branches, hedge shears are an ideal pruning choice. However, pruning saws are ideal for branches with a diameter of more than 3 inches.

Some of the commonly available saws used for tree pruning are listed below:

· Handheld Pruning Saws:

The most common pruning saw, i.e., hand saw, works well on small to medium-sized branches. They have different tooth configurations, such as curved, straight, and rake teeth, each designed for a specific purpose.

Curved teeth provide more control and prevent the saw from getting stuck in the wood. Straight teeth are ideal for wet surfaces, while rake teeth provide a better cutting grip and help remove sawdust owing to their widely spaced teeth.

· Bow Saws:

Bow saws are bigger than hand saws and have two metal arms connected by the cutting blade, which is also curved. They work well for pruning medium-sized to large branches.

· Pole Pruning Saws:

Similar to bow saws, pole saws have a longer handle or pole that enables you to reach higher branches without a ladder. They work well for chopping off tall branches without needing a ladder.

· Folding Saws:

Like hand saws, folding saws include a folding blade that can be stored more conveniently. They are portable, can be carried in a backpack, and are perfect for small to medium-sized branches.

· Chainsaws:

The most potent pruning machines are the chainsaws that work best for cutting thick branches. They can be electric or gas-powered, and some models have adjustable poles for reaching branches higher up.

The best saw for pruning trees will ultimately vary depending on your needs and the pruning you plan to undertake. It is a good idea to consult a trained arborist for the best saw for your specific situation.

Can You Cut Down A Tree With A Pruning Saw?

No, using a pruning saw to cut down a tree is not recommended. The purpose of a pruning saw is not to remove or fell trees. It is a specialist tool for removing small branches from trees and bushes.

Pruning saws often feature a blade that is only a few inches long and cannot efficiently cut down an entire tree. It takes a lot of force to cut down a tree, which can be risky and challenging. You should use a chainsaw, specifically for this kind of work. Chainsaws’ longer, more powerful blades can safely and effectively cut through a tree’s trunk, making tree removal simpler and safer.

What Size Pruning Saw Do I Need?

Your required pruning saw size greatly depends on the size and type of your branches. The bigger the branch, the bigger the size of the ideal pruning saw should be.

  • Hand saws are best for cutting smaller branches.
  • Bow saws are best for cutting branches up to 6 inches in diameter
  • Pole saws are best for cutting branches 6 inches or larger
  • Chainsaws are best for cutting branches 20 inches or larger.

However, it’s also crucial to consider your physical capabilities and comfort level when selecting a pruning saw.

How Thick Can A Pruning Saw Cut?

Generally, branches up to 4 inches in diameter can be cut with a medium-sized pruning saw with a sharp blade.

The thickness of a branch that a pruning saw can cut depends on various factors, including the size and type of the blade, the sharpness of the blade, and the type of wood being cut. Some larger and more specialized pruning saws can cut thicker branches, but they are less common and may only be useful for certain tasks.

It’s important to remember that pruning saws are made specifically for cutting small to medium-sized branches (less than 6 inches in diameter); they are not made to cut through thick trunks or larger trees. I would recommend a chainsaw in these situations.

How Do You Get Too High Branches?

To get too high branches, you have several options:

· Tree-Mounted Pruning Platform: 

If you have a lot of high branches to prune, consider investing in a tree-mounted pruning platform. This specialized platform can be attached to a tree trunk and provides a stable working surface for pruning branches out of ground reach.

· Pole Saw:

A pole saw is a type of pruning saw with a long handle, allowing you to reach higher branches without climbing a ladder. The saw blade is attached to the end of a telescoping pole, which can be extended to reach branches too high to reach from the ground.

There are both powered and unpowered pole saws. The powered ones are a small chainsaw, gas or electric, on a pole.

· Ladder:

Using a ladder is the most straightforward way to reach high branches. You can use it to climb up and reach branches out of reach from the ground. However, it is essential to follow proper safety precautions and only use a ladder rated for the weight and height you will be working at.

Also, ensure that the object you put the ladder against is strong enough. I’ve seen too many cases where the ladder was against a smaller tree, where the tree moved so much that the ladder fell.

Regardless of your choice, it is important to follow proper safety precautions and techniques when pruning high branches, including wearing protective gear, eye protection, and gloves and ensuring your footing is secure.

What Is the Best Tool to Cut Tree Branches?

The best tool to cut tree branches depends on the type of branches. A pruning saw is the best tool for branches less than 6 inches in diameter. A chainsaw should be preferred for branches with a diameter larger than 6″. For chopping off vegetation, I recommend using hedge shears.

If you own a large garden that requires frequent cutting, perhaps investing in a chainsaw would be quite a good decision. Personally, I think a chainsaw is an excellent tool for cutting tree branches significantly larger in diameter. But if you only need to use it a few times, it can be overkill.

Chainsaws are available in various sizes, with smaller models appropriate for lighter tasks and heavier models suitable for larger jobs. It is an effective and powerful tool that can quickly cut through even the thickest branches. Besides pruning, chainsaws can help you slice down wooden logs and obtain usable wood, which can be used for multiple purposes. Moreover, chainsaws can help you fell dead trees and clear off farmland.

Please note that when using a chainsaw, it’s essential to follow safety precautions and use protective gear like gloves and goggles to prevent injury.