Fiskars, makers of the famous orange-handled crafting scissors and assorted gardening pruners, among other things (turns out they make boats too. o-kay), recently sent me their Power Stroke Telescoping Pruning Stik 12-Foot Tree Pruner as a solution to a problem we’ve been having at the community garden with weed trees taking over and throwing shade onto what were previously sunny plots, mine included.
I just need to hold for a moment here to say, Ummm… Power Stroke? Really? They make it too easy.
Back to the garden. Over the years, we’ve tried managing the problem with shorter tree loppers, even going so far as to send my brother up into the trees to cut some branches out. The trouble is that getting up into the trees to get at the tall growth at the top is becoming increasingly difficult, if not dangerous. We don’t have a tall ladder, and even if we did how would we transport it from our home to the garden short of marching through the neighborhood with it strapped to our backs? Completely impractical, if not a little bit strange.
This is where the pruners come in. As an urban gardener I find that I can generally get away with owning only a small handful of tools, so it came as a surprise to discover that I actually NEEDED a gigantic tool like this one. They’re looooong — 12 feet in fact and an ample length required to reach the offending branches.
We took it over to the community garden the other day to get a head start on pruning early in the season before the leaves fill up the trees and while we can still see what we’re doing. We used the standard pruner attachment and were able to easily and smoothly remove branches just over an inch in diameter. I have never used another tree pruning tool so I’ve got nothing to compare with, but it was easy enough, and I’m not particularly muscular these days having spent long hours over the winter months sitting on my butt staring at a screen and pushing a mouse. My spouse found it to be incredibly easy, possibly even too easy, since I had to take the thing away to keep him from going nuts removing every branch on every tree! It’s surprisingly light for such a massive tool (the website says it weighs only 5 pounds) and is simple to manipulate even when fully extended. Weight is important since we are not only concerned about pulling a muscle during use but potentially losing control and accidentally touching one of many nearby electrical wires. So far this has not been a concern, although I would avoid doing this kind of work on a windy day. It has a rotating head that allows you to get into difficult spots and cut on appropriate angles, which was something we weren’t too concerned about since we were pruning weed trees, not the family cherry tree.
We weren’t able to cut all of the branches we needed to remove with the pruning attachment, but this thing also came with a large saw attachment that is used for cutting branches thicker than 1 1/4″. We haven’t had a chance to try it out yet but will be back at the garden next week to finish the job. I’m not worried about whether it can handle the remaining thicker branches, that thing has got bite. In fact I’m rather afraid of the saw attachment on its own, even while still in the package! Stick it on the end of a sturdy, 12-foot pole and I’ve no doubt that it could cut through a small arm. Which is why I intend to keep my arms and all other appendages over at the opposite end of the garden when anyone but myself is wielding it!
Bonus: Doubles as a terrifying Freddy Kruger/Edward Scissorhands Halloween costume arm.