pruning saw
ECO gardener

Cutting thick branches is essential for plant growth, but it’s a tough job. Having the right garden tools help maintain a pristine and safe garden! And if you’re wondering what kinds of tools are best for cutting shrubs and thick branches, this guide is for you!

The Importance of Cutting Back Thick Branches

old man cutting a small branch of tree

Safety: Perhaps the most crucial reason you should trim trees regularly is the safety of everyone and every property nearby. Trees with dead, dying, diseased, or infested branches are a safety risk – these could fall and cause damage to property and injuries to anyone unlucky enough near them.

Extreme weather conditions like heavy winds, snow, and severe storms could cause dead or dying tree branches to fall and wreak havoc in the yard. That’s why it’s essential to check the health of your trees and tie them up if there’s an advisory for bad weather.

Tree Health: Diseased, dead, dying, and infested branches spread pathogens and pests much more quickly. If one tree is infested with pests or disease, it’s only a matter of time before the infestation spreads all over the garden.

A healthy structure is key to better tree health! Trimming weak branches will improve the tree’s health while helping control an infestation. Regular trimming also helps sunlight reach the thicker foliage, keeping your tree leaves healthy and strong.

Tree Shape: Misshapen trees are an eyesore, especially in small gardens. Uneven growths could also cause certain tree parts to turn yellow due to lack of sunlight. Bedraggled trees will definitely ruin the look of your garden, so a much-needed trim is just the thing to restore the beauty and order in your outdoor space. If you have several trees, trimming keeps the garden looking neat and organized.

Better Garden Health: Trees become unhealthy when they are not trimmed regularly. Apart from causing leaves to turn yellow and brown because sunlight is not reaching the dense foliage, the heavy branches could also stunt their growth.

What’s more, even the plants around the tree will be affected. When the branches and leaves of the trees spread all around, they block sunlight, stunting the growth of smaller plants and possibly, killing plants due to insufficient light. Keeping your trees trimmed regularly enhances the aesthetics of your outdoor space while improving the health of the plants around them.

How Often Should Trees Be Pruned?

two woman cutting a small branch of tree

Pruning should be done regularly, especially for big trees. Generally, mature trees should be pruned every 3 to 5 years. Younger trees should be pruned every 2 to 3 years. Evergreens and fruit-bearing trees don’t require regular pruning, but it should be done when the branches become a safety risk.

It’s best to prune trees late in the winter season to prevent the spread of certain diseases. Pathogens tend to spread more quickly as the weather warms up, so avoid trimming tree branches during the spring and summer.

What Tool Is Best For Cutting Thick Branches?

Hand Pruner

ecogardener hand pruner

A hand pruner is a handy tool to have if you’re cutting back branches about 1 inch in diameter or less. A bypass pruner like the 8-inch Garden Pruning Shears is perfect for making clean cuts quickly and easily. You want to make the cleanest cut as you prune to minimize the effects of the trimming on the plants. Crushing the stems with a dull pruner makes the trees vulnerable to diseases and pests!


A lopper features a pair of long handles and a metal bypass blade. This tool lets you cut thick tree branches about 2 inches in diameter or more. The long handle lets you reach high or narrow areas, making clean, neat cuts as you prune. Some loppers have mechanisms to boost cutting power, like the ECOgardener heavy-duty pruning shears. If you have a weak grip, mobility issue, or suffer from joint pain, this tool will make pruning infinitely easier and quicker.

Pruning Saw

pruning saw

Some tree branches are too thick for conventional loppers and pruners. Big, mature trees usually have branches at least 3 inches in diameter. You’re better off using a pruning saw for pruning that requires more effort.

A pruning saw is a manual saw with a narrower blade than a conventional wood saw. The blades are crafted from tempered metal, so they stay sharp for a long, long time. What’s different about a pruning saw is that every movement makes a cut. It cuts when you push and pull the saw into the tree branch, making pruning easier and quicker.

Telescopic Pruner

ecogardener telescopic pruner

A telescopic pruner is a step up from a regular lopper. It’s similar to a lopper, but the handles are adjustable, allowing you to cut tree branches about 2 inches thick in high places. If you are using a ladder to cut back unruly tree stems, this tool will be your best friend! It lets you prune trees without using a ladder.

The ECOgardener telescopic pruner is lightweight, durable, and comfortable to use, allowing you to prune trees with ease at a great height. It’s a great tool to have if you do a lot of trimming in the garden. The bypass blade lets you make clean cuts quickly, while the ergonomic handles make pruning easier on the hands and shoulders.

Rope Saw

This is an alternative saw for big branches at least 5 inches in diameter. As the name implies, the saw features a cutting chain so that it can cut tree branches with a pulling motion. With this tool, you can cut thick tree branches while standing up. You can also cut trees high above while standing on the ground because the chain could reach up to 25 feet! Because it’s made of metal chains, it’s very space-efficient and portable. That’s why it’s also called a pocket chainsaw.


man cutting big tree branch using chainsaw

This tool lets you cut tree branches that are 5 inches or more in diameter. It’s a power tool that lets you trim trees within minutes. However, this tool will require skills and experience to operate, so do not use it without supervision from a professional if you’re doing it for the first time. If possible, let a professional do the pruning with a chainsaw, just to be on the safe side. If you’re using the chain saw, wear protective gears and estimate where the tree branches will fall as you cut all around, so you don’t damage nearby properties or cause injuries.

How To Stay Safe When Cutting Thick Branches

Pruning involves the use of sharp tools and bladed electric trimmers. You could get injured from the sharp blades and be vulnerable to electric hazards. If you are pruning for the first time or are using power tools, read the manual first and check the safety procedures.

It’s equally important to check the tool if it’s working correctly, particularly the tiny moving parts. Blades should be sharpened; moveable joints should be lubricated. Power tools must be checked before plugging them in.

Wear safety gear such as:

  • Protective goggles
  • Hard Hat
  • Work Gloves
  • Utility belt
  • Steel Toe Boots
  • Long-Sleeved Shirt
  • Long Pants

Do not prune tree branches within 10 feet of a power line. Instead, call your local utility company to get a qualified professional to do the pruning for you.

Don’t hold too many pruning tools while climbing ladders because you might slip and injure yourself. You might also drop the tools as you work, which is a no-no. Wear a utility belt if you’re using several pruning tools to keep your hands free while working.

Inspect the area before cutting a tree branch. Be sure it falls at a safe distance, away from people and properties when the branches fall. Focus when cutting the branches; you don’t want to accidentally cut yourself or cut the branch you’re leaning on. Maintain a safe distance when working and warn people around you when a branch is about to fall.

Never prune during a storm or in bad weather because this will increase the risk of injuries, accidents, and property damage!

Have the right gardening tools on hand and never use the tools beyond what they’re capable of handling. If a pruning tool could only cut branches 2 inches in diameter, do not use it to cut a branch 5 inches in diameter. This will damage the tool and make pruning even more taxing than it already is.

Most important of all, do not overexert yourself because you might end up injuring yourself in the process. Take frequent breaks, keep yourself hydrated, and eat a snack. Stop when you’re feeling dizzy or nauseous because of heat exposure.

Pruning may be tough on the back but with the ECOgardener’s core pruning tools, you’ll be

working faster and more comfortably than ever before. Check out our newest gardening tools and essentials.

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