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Every garden lover has those few tried and true tools in their shed for the most common outdoor projects. Garden hoe, shovel, pruning shears and hand trowel? Check.

But there are times when we’re not quite sure if we have the right tool to get the job done. Take, for example, a hedge trimmer and pole saw. Can a hedge trimmer double as a tree-pruning tool? Or, are pole saws OK to use on trees?

Read on to learn about the trimming tools that work best on trees and the ones that don’t.

Tree branch pruning: Which tools can you use?

From the burly branches of an oak tree to the skinny limbs of a dogwood, tree branches come in all sorts of sizes. That means there are a variety of tools to look to when it’s time to prune.

Can I use a hedge trimmer on tree branches?

Hedge trimmers are specially designed for the super thin, lightweight twigs and leaves of a hedge or bush. Their grooves are about ¾ of an inch to half an inch wide at most, and when you compare that to the size of your tree’s branches, it’s just not the right fit. Even the heavy-duty hedge trimmers with wider grooves don’t have the horsepower to cut through tree branches.

Fact is, hedge trimmers can’t do the job of more suitable trimming tools like pruning shears or loppers. For the best results, use one of these three essential tools for trimming trees.

Can I use a pole saw on tree limbs?

You sure can! A pole saw is the perfect tool to tackle hard-to-reach tree branches. It’s designed to grip branches and steadily saw for controlled, clean cuts.

As with all pruning tools, pole saws come in different sizes, so make sure you choose a model that’s ideal for the diameter of your tree’s branches.

Also keep in mind that pole saws were made to help DIY trimmers reach higher-up, manageable branches while standing safely on the ground. So, if you ever have to strain and stretch to reach a branch, find that a branch is too thick to cut or simply can’t reach a limb without a ladder, have a professional arborist prune the tree instead.

Read more dos and don’ts of DIY tree trimming here.

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