Sometimes there's a damaged branch, just out of reach. Or maybe you need to open the canopy or snip off crossing branches. It's frustrating when there's a branch you can't get to it. Ladders are fine, but pruning requires stability and balance.
Some clever person came up with pole pruners. How brilliant to attach a long handle to a saw blade. Two words of caution: It can be tougher on your back than you expect and please don't stand under the branch you are cutting.
That said, here are some well made pole pruners to consider. Find more on what to look for in a pole pruner and pruning saws in general here
The pole on this pruner is an extendable, telescoping 12'. That's a reasonable height to lift and still control. The pole is lightweight fiberglass. The blade itself is non-stick, 12" cast aluminum.
Most pole pruners work on some type of rope and pulley system. You dont actually have to move the pole, but getting it in the right place can be challenge enough. Once it's in position, you work the rope, which works the blade. It's only recommended for branches about 1" thick. Not much, but it'll help in opening canopies and thinning. The last thing you want is a large branch falling toward you anyway. $21.
Photo Courtesy of PriceGrabber.com.
Electric tools come with the hassle of a cord, but they're much lighter than gas powered models and that matters when you're working up a tree. This is a relatively inexpensive model that works quite well on branches up to about 10" in diameter. It can be used as either a regular chain saw or as a pole pruner, with the included extension pole. The fiberglass and aluminum pole extends 15' and the cutting bar itself is 10" long. Safety features include a chain grabbers, for broken or derailed chains, and front and rear hand guards. Some reviewers have complained that the bushing burned after prolonged use, so it may not be the best choice for continual operation. But as a handy tool when you need it, it's a good deal.
A cordless, chargeable 24-volt motor makes this pruner a handy tool to reach for in a pinch. The 10' telescoping fiberglass pole provides orbital cutting action, to speed up the process. They promise up to 30 3-inch cuts per battery charge, which should last you the day. A nice deal for the price. $78.
If you like the ease and portability of gas powered tools, you might like the Ryobi Gas Pole Pruner. The 12' pole gets you well into the tree. A shoulder strap and J-handle give you a sense of control over the machine. It's got Ryobi's ZipStart Plus technology, so your not standing around cursing it for not turning over. And the 10" bar and chain cutter automatically lubricates itself, so you have no excuse. 2 year warranty. $179.
Photo Courtesy of PriceGrabber.com
This is a lightweight, easy-starting, battery powered pruner that gets high marks from users. It only comes with one battery, which (depending on what you are cutting) doesn't last through a whole day's worth of cutting, but it is interchangeable with other B & D 18V batteries, in case you have others in this tool line. The chain is 8" long and the pole reaches up to 14'. Branches up to about 6" in diameter should be no problem.