Tall trees, just like every other tree, need to be pruned or cut down. The challenge with tall trees is their height. Not to worry, in this article, I’ll be showing you how to safely trim a tall tree.

Besides being able to provide shades, tall trees also serve as homes for different animals. You must trim them, as that will help them remain healthy and maintain a beautiful look.

Some may feel it is unimportant to trim tall trees, giving height as an excuse. That kind of lazy attitude may lead to unwanted outcomes.

Why You Should Trim Tall Trees

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why trimming tall trees is important.


The branches of tall trees are usually longer than those of shorter trees. Some of these branches may be dead or decayed.

Imagine how hazardous such a branch can be. Since it is already weakened, it won’t take much for it to break loose and fall under the pressure of rain or wind.

It could hit a person and cause injuries, it could also damage your property (your car for instance).

The branches can also extend to your neighbor’s yard and cause them inconveniences.


The branches growing under the canopy of the tree may be so low that they cause obstructions on the walk-way or drive-way.

For this reason, you need to trim them occasionally.

The health of the tree itself

If you want your tree to remain in optimal health, then it is important you trim it, regardless of whether it is tall or short.

A decayed or infested branch can corrupt the rest of the tree and affect its general health.

So if you enjoy the cool shade your tall tree provides, and you plan to keep enjoying it, make sure you trim it regularly so it remains in good health.

What You Will Need To Trim A Tall Tree

Now that you’ve seen the importance of trimming a tree, let’s look at the items you will need to give it a trim.

  • Pruning clippers
  • Pruning pole
  • Tripod ladder (to climb and access hard to reach branches and leaves)
  • Safety harness (to prevent accidental falls)
  • Hand gloves (to prevent blisters and injuries to your palms)
  • Safety goggles (to protect your eyes from tiny pieces of chipped wood)
  • Non-slip boots (to have a firm stand on the ladder and to protect feet from blisters or thorns)
  • Helmet (to protect your head from falling branches)

Keep in mind that you can hire a tree expert to help you trim your tall tree, that’s if you’re not up for it yourself.

However, it is not such a difficult task, you can do it. You just have to be well equipped and follow safety protocol.

How To Safely Trim A Tall Tree

Follow these steps and you’ll do just fine!

Trimming tall trees means there will be a lot of falling branches. This means you have to make sure the surrounding area around the bottom of the tree is clear of people and valuable property.

Doing this will spare your loved ones from injuries, and your property from being damaged!

  1. Position Your Ladder

To get up the tree you will need a ladder. I recommend a tripod ladder since it can stand independently.

However, if you don’t own a tripod ladder then you can use a regular ladder. Just make sure it stands firm on the ground.

You can use the ladder spikes to screw each leg of the ladder into the ground. This will ensure the Ladder’s stability.

  1. Attach The Safety Harness

When you’re up the ladder, proceed to attach the safety harness.

You do this by wrapping it around the tree and tightening it. Make sure it’s locked in hard around the tree and your waist/hips.

In an event where you slip or the ladder shakes, the harness will keep you from falling.

  1. Check For Power Lines

Before you start cutting, be sure to check if any power lines are running across the tree.

PLEASE do not ignore this!

If you cut while there are power lines inside the trees you may be electrocuted!

If you find any power lines running across the trees then come down from the ladder immediately and call on the professionals to take care of it.

Don’t try to be a hero!

  1. Start Cutting (If There Are No Power Lines In The Tree)

If the coast is clear (no power lines), then you can start cutting.

Look for dead or decayed branches and cut them off with your pruning shears or pruning pole.

You can trim aesthetically if that’s what you want, but don’t remove any branch found above the bottom third of the tree.

To cut the branches of a tall tree, focus on the ones located 1/4 inches on top of the closest bud.

Do not cut leader branches which are extended from the tree at a 40° angle.

If the branches are thick, then you might want to use a chainsaw. They are faster and they give you precise cuts.

Using Pole Pruners For Tall Trees

Not everyone will buy the idea of working up a ladder with a very sharp chainsaw turned on. Well, there’s a way to avoid doing this – Use pole pruners!

There are different types of pole pruners you can use on your tall trees. They range from the basic scissor-like pruners fixed at the end of the pole, or a lightweight battery operated chainsaw attached to the end of a sturdy extended pole.

This article is about trimming tall trees safely, so even though you may not need a ladder when using a pole pruner, you still need to make sure you are safe while on the ground.

Here are some items you will need to keep you safe while you work –

  • Goggles for eye protection
  • A hard had/helmet
  • Gloves
  • Long-sleeved clothing

An extra safety tip is this – Do not stand directly under the branches you are cutting to avoid being hit by them when they fall.

One more thing, pole pruners with fiberglass handles are what I recommend. They are a bit more expensive, but I think the price is worth it since they are lighter and more durable.

Types Of Pole Pruners For Tall Trees

Here’s a list of the various types of pole pruners available.

  1. Ropeless Pole Pruners

This type of pole pruner is very lightweight, I guess that’s why it’s a beginner favorite.

They are perfect for cutting branches that are no more than 1 inch thick in diameter.

Ropeless pole pruners come in different designs. Some have handles that are about 6 feet long, while others have extendable poles that range between 7 feet to 12 feet.

  1. Traditional Pole Pruners

This type of pole pruner comes with the regular curved pruning blade at the end of the pole. The blade usually comes in lengths of 12 inches and 16 inches.

The blades on this classic pole pruner are usually very sharp and can cut 8 inch thick branches with ease.

The blades are replaceable, so you can switch them when they become blunt.

  1. Electric Pole Pruners

This tool is like a mixture of a traditional pole pruner and a hedge trimmer.

It can be extended as much as 8 feet, to give you access to tall branches. Unfortunately, it is a bit on the heavy side, thanks to the motor and the trimming head when attached.

Be advised, it is best to use this tool on the ground, and not up a ladder. I know it can only be extended to a maximum of 8 feet, but it’s a pretty heavy pruner to be taking up a ladder.

If you need to cut branches beyond this pole pruner’s limit, then I advise you to find a more appropriate tool.

  1. Electric Pole Chainsaws

These come in two types –

Whichever you choose, they are both excellent for cutting branches well above your reach with superb accuracy.

Being chainsaws, they are a bit on the heavy side. I guess that’s because of the kind of work they are designed to do.

Electric pole chainsaws have a reach of 10 feet to 15 feet, so you do not need a ladder when using this.

As for effectiveness, well they can cut branches that are up to 6 inches thick with ease.

If you have a good number of tall trees with thick branches around your home, then an electric pole chainsaw will be a wise investment.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Pole Pruner For Tall Trees

Since pole pruners are meant for trimming tall trees, it means you will do a lot of holding and stretching with both arms.

This means one of the first things you need to consider when buying one is its weight.

You will also want to consider the sturdiness of the pole itself, so you don’t buy one that starts to bend when extended to its maximum length.


Hopefully, this article on how to safely prune a tall tree has been helpful.

Stay safe!

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