Pruning Safety

Working with sharp pruning tools, electric shears or a chain saw can be dangerous. Handling these tools while on a ladder or perched in a tree compounds the chance of a mishap. Use common sense when wielding sharp tools. If you feel uncertain of your ability to control a large branch while cutting it, consider hiring a professional arborist to remove it for you. Heavy branches can twist in unexpected ways as they fall.

  • When pruning deep in a bush or tree with hand pruners pay attention to where your non-cutting hand is. It’s easy to cut your hand when you can’t see it.
  • Before attempting to prune from a ladder, look up for electrical lines and dead or hanging branches.
  • Consider where the branch will fall when it is cut or dropped from the tree — be sure it won’t fall on anyone or knock into the ladder.
  • Be safe. Use a stepladder or tie an extension ladder securely to the tree and keep one hand on it and one on the saw. Station someone on the ground as a lookout and safety checker.
  • Wear nonskid rubber-soled shoes, snug clothing, and leather gloves. When using a chain saw, wear leather boots. Professionals wear hard hats and protective glasses because it is easy to bump into a branch and scratch an eye or lose a contact lens.