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Tips to help you choose the right pole saw for your operation

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No matter the brand, tree care professionals say it’s important to get hands-on experience with a pole saw before making a purchase. (Photo: Bill Oxford / iStock / Getty Images Plus / getty images)
No matter the brand, tree care professionals say it’s important to get hands-on experience with a pole saw before making a purchase. (Photo: Bill Oxford / iStock / Getty Images Plus / getty images)

Tree pruning is a serious business. Safety is always the top priority. This is why, when it comes to purchasing the right tools to be effective and safe, price is just a number. Whenever a tree care professional can stay on the ground as opposed to climbing the tree, that’s a major bonus.

“If you have a good, sharp head with 23 feet of reach, you can make clearance cuts on the second story of a home without having to climb (the tree,)” says Levi Vogt, plant health care route manager, Ryan Lawn & Tree. “It’s a common problem throughout the Midwest: too many river birches planted too close to homes. If it’s something really heavy, we’re doing everything we can from the ground first, before somebody is trying to get set up to climb the tree.”

Here’s what two tree care professionals told us they prefer when choosing the best pole saws.

Jay Rotonnelli
Jay Rotonnelli

Jay Rotonnelli
Vice president, business development
Piscataqua Landscaping and Tree Service

“I’ve been in the industry a long time. This is my 34th year. I’ve seen a lot of products and new stuff come down the road. But Corona and Felco have always been the two major brands, major players in the industry who have really developed some great products and have really good long-term warranties and replacement parts. So those tend to be our go-to.

The next part of the conversation is we’re trying to work towards cordless operation and less gas and be more on the green side. Stihl and Felco seem to have the best setups from what we’re gathering. We’ve demoed and tried them. There’s a little bit more investment up-front for the cordless tools. However, I think in the long run, the ROI is much greater. Fewer parts that are going to break, less manpower and knowledge needed to mix the fuel. We still have the gas method, but we’re leaning more towards the electric cordless side of things at this point.”

Levi Vogt
Levi Vogt

Levi Vogt
Plant healthcare route manager
Ryan Lawn & Tree

“We use a notch-telescoping saw with a Silky Hayauchi head on it. It’s fantastic. It’s heavier, but you can get a ton of reach out of it. Those Silky heads are high-quality. They stay sharp for a long time. They’ve got a hook on the top and a bumper on the bottom, so it’s a fantastic style. They’re worth the money.

When you’re working in pruning, you’re hard on your equipment. No matter what you’re doing, you can’t take care of it as well as you want to, you’re still going to be hard on it. These have been proven through all of our pruning crews throughout the company.

Those are manual, but we also have a gas-powered one — the Stihl HT108. We like that one a lot. It’s heavy-duty and can go through a couple-inch limbs. But it’s also heavier. But if I know I’m going to be making a couple bigger cuts 10, 12 feet off the ground, I’ll use that one.”

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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