Tools for pruning trees

If your tree is growing too large or out of shape, it will require pruning. Pruning, the cutting back of branches and shoots, can be difficult to do yourself. Getting the timing right and cutting the correct amount off for your particular tree is tricky. Getting a professional in can be easier and quicker but sometimes expensive. Pruning becomes easier when you have the right tools. If you do decide to prune your trees yourself, here is a look at the tools you might need.


These are a must have for most gardeners. They are easy to use and store, and have a safety catch. Secateurs range in size, however they are best used for cutting branches no thicker than 1cm, and also come in handy for deadheading roses and other flowering plants.

Similar to scissors in action, the majority of secateurs have two blades. There is another type which has a single blade cutting against a thick edge, known as anvil secateurs. The former is the most common although both work as well as the other. You can also get left handed versions.


Sometimes referred to as long handled secateurs, loppers are two handed and used for cutting branches up to 4cm thick. They come in the same variants as secateurs, either a scissor action with two blades, or an anvil with one.

The mechanism of the lopper can vary and you should choose yours depending on how you will use it. Telescopic loppers have extended handles and are good for hard-to-reach branches. Power lever and geared loppers are mechanical, taking some of the strain out of cutting. Ratchet action loppers, available only for anvil blades, cut through branches gradually. Combinations can be bought, such as telescopic geared loppers.

Pruning saw

These can do more harm than good to a tree and it can be wise to let professionals prune your tree if a saw is required.

Pruning saws are used for high growing trees or branches thicker than 4cm and are specifically designed for cutting live wood. These cut on the pull action, making it far easier to cut while preventing damage to the tree, unlike other common saws.

Pruning saws can be used by hand for lower branches but can be bought with a telescopic handle to reach high branches. Start cutting underneath the branch but, to avoid the branch splitting, finish the cut on top. For safety, buy a folding or retractable saw if possible.

Long handled tree pruner

Used for higher branches and hard to reach places, these are similar to loppers although they are capable of cutting thick branches. Long handled tree pruners use a cord and pulley system to make cutting easier.

Due to the nature of the long handled tree pruners, and pruning saws on telescopic handles, be careful when cutting over your head. If possible, always prune tall trees with someone else to steady your ladder or watch where the branches will fall.

For more information on tree lopping, contact a company like Woodpecker Tree Services.