Gardening: In praise of pole pruners, and no ladder climbing | Lifestyles

Compromises are unavoidable when you mount a chainsaw on the end of a pole. A compromise between weight and power, for example.

A powered pole pruner might relieve you of some effort in cutting, but you’re going to have to position and hold up that motorized saw perched at the far end of a long pole. If you make the saw lighter, that translates into less power. The cutting bars on these saws are usually less than a foot long.

Electric motors are lighter than gasoline motors, so provide yet another solution to the weight problem. Battery power would seem ideal, except that battery power is limited. A corded, electric pole pruner seems like a good compromise, then, as long as you’re not too far from a plug and have a good extension cord.


One variation on the pole pruner is causing a stir, in my backyard at least. That is the powered pole hedge trimmer, an oscillating trimmer mounted on the end of a pole. They, too, can be gasoline or electric powered.

Why put a hedge trimmer on the end of a pole? For tall hedges, of course! A nice feature of most pole hedge trimmers is that the angle of the head can be varied, a useful feature if you’re trimming the top of a high hedge to be flat.

Like stone or brick walls, big hedges create bold and venerable shapes that screen and enclose the landscape, and direct our eyes and feet through it. Since I’ve acquired a pole hedge trimmer, I’ve been able to sculpt my 9-foot-high tea crabapple hedge into a green wall with a “doorway” carved into it — all with my feet happily planted on terra firma.

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