How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach?
How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach?
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Do you have a nice orchard with tall and thick trees that must be pruned? Thick and heavy branches can damage the backyard or even hurt someone, so they must be trimmed or even completely cut. Below I will tell how to cut tree branches that are too high to reach with special instruments called pole saws. Also, my friends who happen to be professional gardeners shared a few expert advice on how to cut high tree branches. 

Trimming high tree branches of very tall trees with a pole saw

Pole saws are very popular instruments among gardeners who need to cut the bushes and trees. This very convenient gardening tool may work manually or almost automatically. Make sure to buy a pole saw according to your tasks. If you are going to trim the trees occasionally, buy the cheapest pole saw that resembles a small saw on a long telescopic handle. If you need to cut the tall and thick trees, it makes sense to invest in more expensive and powerful – electric or gas instruments. Check their differences. 

How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach?

Different types of pole saws:

1) Manual or mechanic pole saws look like modified garden shears with long handles. They are lightweight, relatively small, affordable and easy to apply. Among their cons are low effectiveness and a lot of muscle effort. So it won’t do for cutting too thick branches and I won’t recommend them if you have problems with muscle strength. 

2) Electric pole saws are devices equipped with an electric motor. There are cord-based and cordless instruments. The main advantages of electric pole saws are: low price, high power, easy maintenance, the cutting headset resembles a chainsaw, low noise, and low weight. I do not recommend buying cord-based electric tools because they limit the movements and won’t do for tall trees specifically. 

3) Gasoline pole saw is a garden tool driven by an internal combustion engine. It has exceptional performance. The main advantages are a professional headset, the ability to work in all weather conditions. The cons are high prices, high noise levels, and weight. However, they are perfect when you need to cut thick and tall branches at the very top of high trees. 

How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach?

Considering the above-mentioned facts, that is what you must check before buying a pole saw: 

  • The ratio of price and quality. Pruning high trees with thick branches needs a lot of power from a pole saw. But think – how many times are you going to use pole saw tools during a year? 
  • Performance and availability of professional headset resembling a chainsaw;
  • Weight and required muscle strength;
  • Noise level;
  • Device mobility;
  • Availability of additional features;

Step-by-step guide for cutting high trees limbs and trunk:

  • Trim the trunk properly with a pole saw. The best height for any tree is 6.5 ft. It is important to correctly cut the trunk – just above the upper branch near the trunk, literally 3-5 inches. If you leave a stump, it will soon decay, and a hollow will form on the crown where rainwater will fall. And then the tree will die quickly;
  • Cut all shoots growing inside the crown. They thicken the tree, air, and moisture stagnate inside, and pests may settle and, as a result, fungi multiply. Cut the tree until it resembles the shape of a bowl: empty inside, all the branches are located outside. Gardeners say: “A sparrow should fly through the tree’s crown”;
  • Trim the lateral branches. Their length should be approximately 8 ft. And you need to cut them to an external branch that “pops” out;

How to cut high tree branches: possible problems you come across

The first advice – the best time to cut the old and thick branches of tall trees is in early spring. Here is how you should cut tree limbs that are too high to reach

  1. Top branches. Some new shoots often grow inside the crown or directly on the trunk – in such a way, the tree is trying to restore the previous volume of the crown. But they need to be cut. Better yet, pluck as soon as they appear – in such a way, the trees will be less injured.
  2. Broken branches. The size of the crown and the volume of the roots of any tree are balanced. After the major pruning, this balance is violated – a huge number of roots actively pump water and supply nutrients to the top, leaving fewer shoots and leaves. But sometimes the branches grow to be too thick and break. And if the trees are very large and thick, then prune more than once a year.
  3. Check the wounded branches. After major pruning, the tree is literally covered with cut wounds. And any wound is an open gate for infection. AS soon as the tree is rejuvenated, immediately smear all the damage, including small sections of old thin twigs – use the shears. 

Pole Saw vs Chainsaw

Trimming high tree branches on the very top

  • Reduce the crown after the fall of leaves in autumn or before blooming in spring;
  • First, all dry, broken and diseased branches must be instantly removed. Then they cut branches intertwined with each other. Then cut the tree limbs that are too high to reach – usually they grow inside the crown. And only after that cut the crown itself;
  • Pruning should be done with a clean and sharp instrument;
  • Side branches must be cut into a ring;
  • You should not leave hemp during trimming – many top branches will immediately appear on them. It is necessary to cut branches. Then the tops will not grow so actively, and all the nutrition will go to the development of the crop;

How to trim high branches on fruit trees?

Pruning of tall and thick fruit trees should be done from the top if you need to cut the crown. Old apple trees and pears grow up to 20 – 25 feet, and cherry trees up to 30 ft. You can reduce the trees by 10-12 ft. First, cut over any branches that go to the side. After this, it is necessary to study the lower branches, determine their height from the ground. If they grow too low, the lowest limbs of a high tree should be cut. Next, remove the branches that grow inside the crown and twisted branches.

If you want to reduce the growth of a tree (for example, pears or apple trees) when it comes to the crown, then cut long branches and leave the short ones. These two species of fruit trees do not need their limbs to be cut. As for cherries, apricots, peaches, and walnuts, their twigs can be trimmed once or twice a year. They very quickly grow new branches that bear fruit abundantly next year.

Trimming high tree branches: common tips

  • A thick and tall tree has to be pruned annually – usually about half of all branches must be cut;
  • When pruning old or sick trees, you may find the branches affected by bacteria. Cut them off completely;
  • If the pruning was strong, then there will be many wounds on the tree, so you should treat them with a special garden putty. Be careful when cutting tree limbs that are too high to reach;

Final thoughts

As you can see, it is easy to cut tree limbs and branches that are too high to reach. Just use pole saws or shears with long handles. But be careful – if you are not sure in your strength, make sure to hire professional gardeners.


My name is Jack and I cut branches in my garden very often. That’s why I created this site.

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