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Pruning tools….hand saw or electric?

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I’ve not used such a saw on branches, but would see no reason why it won’t work. My main concern, without having used it, would be to make sure the weight of a larger branch can’t bind down on the blade – the motor might overheat in those circumstances. I would cut any largish branches, where possible, from the top side, and with larger branches use the 3-point-cut system, making cut #1 on the underside of the branch, a few inches beyond where I intend for the final cut to be, and cutting only half way or less through the branch, then make cut #2 out a few inches from there, cutting all the way through from the top – the half-cut from #1 allows the branch to sag without binding, and if it rips off under its own weight, a strip of bark is not torn off, running down the trunk. The final cut, #3, is to take off the stub, and should be made just about level with the branch collar, or barely into it. Having a helper, to lend a hand with larger branches and with keeping them well supported while you cut, would also be a help.

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I would also stop to clean sap off the blade every so often, and keep a spray bottle of alcohol to disinfect the blade between trees/shrubs, just so you don’t spread any possible disease or fungus from one to another.

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My only other advice is to follow the accepted “good pruning” practices – which you probably already know, but to repeat – cut only after looking over the tree or shrub carefully to decide the needed cuts; take dead and crossing branches first; look from all sides before taking off a large branch; and if in doubt, wait for a while or another day to make up your mind – gluing branches back on is NOT an option! And you can decide to do only half of what you think REALLY NEEDS to be done now, live with it and do the rest another time – it’s only you that is deciding how much is enough, too much or not enough, after all…. Also remember to try to take off no more than a quarter to a third of the canopy of any tree or shrub in any one growing season, unless you decide to take it all the way to the ground and start over again.

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