Pole Pruning

Other than choosing the right tree for the right place, getting trees off to a good structural start is the most important in their development.

The last thing we did before lowering a tall tree into a planting hole was give it a proper pruning. It’s much easier to do then, at eye level, than later, when most of the pruning work may be out of reach. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t have that same luxury, and corrective pruning is often needed as a tree grows anyway.

Prioritizing the pruning of a deciduous tree helps provide an easy roadmap:
  • Remove dead branches.
  • Remove crossing branches (ones that rub against each other) leaving the ones with the best spacing, in the best growth position.
  • Remove branches growing inward, toward the center of the tree.
  • Shape the outline of the tree by pruning off longer growing tips.
  • Safety note: Stay at least 6-feet away from overhead electric lines!

It’s that final step, shaping the outline of the tree, that’s most often done with a pole pruner, as I demonstrate in this video:

There are various types of pole pruners on the market, but we favored the safer, lighter weight, 6-foot (1.83 meter) long, yellow fiberglass poles, that could be snapped together to adjust the overall length.

We had two pruning heads –large and small– depending on the size of the branches we were cutting. Sharp pruners cut easiest and best!

The overall length of the poles, and weight of the pruning head, become factors when pole pruning for any length of time. There is also more flex in the fiberglass poles, than similar wooden ones we had previously.

Whatever set-up you use is likely to give you a good shoulder workout!