There can be many reasons for pruning a tree or plant. You may need to remove old or diseased branches, excess foliage or heavy limbs that are overloading the canopy. Furthermore, tree pruning is an annual routine maintenance job that optimises the yield of fruit trees or gives ornamental plants the desired shape. Tree pruning is also necessary for other reasons, such as lack of space, safety issues due to large branches projecting into the road, or even to keep the neighbours happy, by preventing leaves and fruit from falling into their garden.
Choosing a professional pruner
In all these scenarios, a telescopic pruner is the ideal pruning tool for delimbing at height, being both comfortable to manoeuvre and effective. Unlike a pruner with a fixed rod, it has a telescopic rod that can be extended to easily reach branches from the ground, without using a stepladder, and even passing over obstacles such as walls or ponds.
If you need to use an aerial platform, for example when pruning tall trees, a pruner helps you cut branches comfortably from the basket. One of the best Efco tools for pruning tall trees is the petrol-powered PTX 2710 telescopic pruner which reaches a total height of 3.8 m when fully extended, including the 25 cm guide bar at the tip. It allows you to cut branches at a maximum height of around 5 m.
Organizing your work area for pruning trees
Pruning should be carried out when there is good visibility and light and favourable weather, so avoid heavy rain, thick fog, strong winds and intense cold or heat. Before starting work with your telescopic pole pruner, make sure the working area is clear, so that you can easily vacate the area if necessary.
Keep people and animals at a distance of at least 15 m. Check for the presence of power cables in the vicinity of the tree: the pruner must be at least 10 m away from power cables to prevent the potential formation of dangerous electrical arcs. Even branches and other objects can conduct electricity, especially when wet.
If you need to work in closer proximity, contact your electricity supplier so they can disconnect your power supply for the duration of the plant pruning procedure.
Preparing the telescopic pruner
Wear a harness, attach it to the telescopic pruner with the carabiner and adjust the buckle so that the tool is at the right height and well balanced. Keeping the chain and muffler at a distance, hold the pruner close to your body and at a 60° angle to the ground. Do not place the weight of the machine too far forwards, and stand a safe distance from the spot where the branches will fall — and possibly rebound as they hit the ground.
With your right hand, firmly hold the front control handle while your left hand grips the pruner shaft: do not work with one hand or a crossed grip.
Cutting techniques using a telescopic pruner
Adopt a stable and secure stance on the ground or in the basket of the aerial platform. Do not lean forward and do not use a stepladder or climb the tree while holding the pruner. Pay particular attention when working on sloping or uneven ground. To help the pruned branches fall to the ground, cut the lower branches first. Thick branches (at least 10 cm in diameter) should be cut into sections of around 20 cm in length. First make a small relieving cut on the underside of the branch, then cut down through the branch from the upper side. Cutting can be facilitated by changing the angle of the pruner guide bar. For example, the PTX 2710 has five adjustable positions, from 0° and 90°.
Safe tree pruning
When carrying out limbing work, besides using professional pruning tools, wear cut-resistant safety clothing, anti-slip boots with blade blocking protection and steel toecap, chain-resistant gloves and protective spectacles, noise filtering ear defenders or a protective helmet including visor and ear defenders. Avoid scarves, bracelets or anything that could get caught in the branches, pruner or chain. The oil-petrol mixture for the pruner’s engine is flammable: do not smoke when preparing it or when refuelling the tool.