How To Use a Pruning Saw
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How To Use a Pruning Saw

Pruning saws are a tool you may want to consider having in your gardening toolkit if you don’t already have one. They’re necessary for helping keep trees, large shrubs, and even smaller shrubs and saplings healthy and happy or producing strong beautiful leaves, fruit, etc.

Pruning improves the looks of your larger plants as well as their health, and they help you reduce disease concerns and pest problems.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at how to use a pruning saw, which includes folding saws, hand saws, and pole pruners – and how to do so safely.

What You Need for Using a Pruning Saw

pruning branch
Image credits: Antonio Jose Cespedes via Pixabay

Before you get started with this useful tool, let’s see what’s necessary for a safe pruning habit for your garden and trees.

  • Pruning saw of your choice
  • Safety goggles
  • Thick gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt or jacket
  • Full-length pants
  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Hard hat (if working with a pole pruner above the head)

Step by Step Instructions

Step One: Put on Your Protective Gear

protective gear
Image credits: M.H. via Pixabay

Before you do anything else, do yourself in the proper protective gear, including gloves, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, full-length pants, safety goggles, and thick gloves.

Step Two: Make Sure the Blade is Sharp

sharp blade
Image credits: Adriano Gadini via Pixabay

A sharp blade is incredibly important for your safety as you trim your branches and plants, so make sure, first and foremost, that the blade is sharp and secured properly to the handle. It should not wiggle or feel loose at all. This is especially important with folding saws with a pivot action that could weaken the bond between blade and handle.

Step Three: Plan Your Cuts

plan your cuts
Image credits: Hybrid Storytellers via Unsplash

Look at the branches that need to be cut. Determine if they exceed 2-inches in diameter. If they do, you should position yourself so that you’re cutting the branch from above. Other branch thicknesses don’t matter as much.

But because thick branches require more effort, they require more control, which means an “overhead” angle will give you the added leverage and control.

Step Four: Determine Where to Cut

where to cut
Image credits: sandid via Pixabay

Look for the slightly swollen, ridged area of the branch where it meets with the trunk of the tree or larger branch. Cuts should be made just outside of this area, known as the branch collar.

Never cut the branch flush to the trunk as this removes the collar and prevents healthy regrowth and healing.

And never cut in the middle of a branch or several inches from the collar, as this will cause the limb to die back and leave a stub that’s likely to become diseased or pest ridden.

Step Five: Position Yourself Properly

position yourself to cut
Image credits: Jerzy Gorecki via Pixabay

When you’re ready to cut, position yourself close to the branch you’re cutting. This gives you better control over the saw.

And over over-reaching. Over-reaching weakens your hold and control and can cause you to topple over and get injured. Generally, you’re prone to doing this when you’re using a ladder or stool, so watch out.

And be sure that you think through where the blade will go when you’re finished with the cut. You don’t want to be positioned where the blade could come in contact with your body once it has done its work.

Step Six: Make the Cuts

Pruning Saw
Image credits: hiphoto40 via Canva

Hold the branch firmly with the non-cutting hand, and make sure the hand is far enough away from the portion to be trimmed. Saws can bounce out of the cut and injure your hands, so watch this carefully.

Place the saw teeth on the branch and slowly draw the handle toward you. This is “seating” the saw and will help make the cut clean and safe.

When the blade is seated, slowly and carefully draw the blade back and forth, using the full length of the blade for the most effective, efficient, and safest cut.

Make steady, smooth-cutting motions, never rushing the process. Rushing may lead to injury to you or the plant.

If the saw feels stuck, do not force it. Slow down as you approach the end of the cut. This will help prevent potential injury.

Do not release the branch until the cut is finished. This protects you, the tree, and whatever may be nearby.

Trim, Prune, and Care for Those Plants and Trees

Now, you’re ready to take on the next phase of caring for your plants and shrubs – by pruning them properly and safely.

Follow each step of the tutorial for safe limb cutting and shrub trimming, and you’ll have healthier, happier plants soon. And remember – though it may be tempting to skip the protective gear, doing so could lead to serious injury.