I just couldn't do it. Pay nearly $500 for my semi-dwarf Georgia Bell Peach tree to be trimmed. I'm sure It's worth it. That the professionals know the proper limbs to cut back and the angle and position to cut them to stimulate more growth. To trim it so that it doesn't continue to grow into the house. I planted it to close, I didn't know any better. But for a lot of people, me included, spending that kind of money on a little scraggly peach tree I bought at Home Depot before I knew anything about gardening just can't be justified. Christ! It was never even supposed to bear fruit according to all the "gardening experts." I did get peaches last year but this year when they were able the size of walnuts something terrible happened and the leaves and peaches all dried up and fell off. I holding out hope for peaches in 2012!
How I came to know that pole saws even existed:
As one of the Saturday 6 bloggers I visited the Troy-Bilt facility in Ohio back in April of this year. We went out to the big pavilion at the Troy Bilt lodge where there was a sea of gardening gadgets laid out for us to test. It was like we'd all been good boys and girls and were waking up on Christmas morning to a delivery from a Gardener Santa. I was struck by how many of us were drawn to the battery powered pole saw. Personally, I never knew such a thing even existed or I'd have purchased it a long time ago!
A pole saw is basically like a long stick with a mini chain saw on the end of it. It can be used to trim the longer branches of small trees and I would imagine, shrubs you have a hard time reaching. For example, the Hydrangea that I planted in the back of what has grown to be a lush wide perennial bed. It's not particularly tall, it's just so damn far back that I have to walk over peonies and coneflower to get to it.
Consistent with my experience with other Troy-Bilt products, I found this easy to assemble. The pole saw came in three pieces. The end with the actual saw on it, the end that holds the battery, and the extension pole that goes between the other two pieces. It took me less than 5 minutes to assemble. Each part connects by sliding one end into the next and hand tightening it. No tools were needed.
I found the pole saw easy to operate and very similar to operating the string trimmer in that you press a button on the battery end then squeeze the trigger to turn it on. The position of the trigger makes it easy and comfortable to keep depressed while using the equipment. I mention that because I know the first generation electric string trimmer had the button and trigger positioned in a way that made it awkward to hold but that has been fixed with the current generation of that string trimmer and it seems like Troy-Bilt considered that when designing this pole saw, too.
The hardest thing about using this piece of equipment was trimming the branches in a way that didn't cause the branches to be scratched up below the cut. I have never used any type of chain saw so I have no idea if this is unique to this pole saw but I am pretty sure it was my own technical problem. What I found is that for the longer branches I would start to cut them but because I didn't have enough control over the pole saw, the blade of the saw would hit the branch then bounce up and back down onto the branch scratching it up quite a bit. Once I was able to figure out the best way to hold the pole saw, the best body stance and foot position to keep it stable, the cuts were pretty clean. For a first time user, I would definitely recommend determining where you want to make your cut then cutting above it first to get a little practice. I feel like this would also be less of an issue using the saw at the 5 foot length than it was at the 8 foot length considering it all seemed to be able pole control. Still, it's something to consider because damage to the branches could leave them vulnerable to disease.
I am not a tree expert but I have heard that fall is a good time to trim them so now's a good time to think about doing that if you have a tree that needs it. For my small garden, this pole saw will be a life saver. It takes up virtually no space stored in the corner of my garage, is cordless with a rechargeable lithium battery (no gas! no oil! no emissions!) and it's easy to use. All things I look for in tools for my small home garden. I would certainly recommend spending the money to have a tree professionally trimmed if you are able to afford it. But if that is not in your budget or you are a big DIY person like me, you may want to consider a small pole saw like this.
Later this week I will be giving away one of these Troy-Bilt pole saws here on my blog so be sure to check back. The equipment will be shipped to the winner directly from the Troy-Bilt facility.
Disclosure: I was given this piece of equipment free of charge in exchange for an honest review of it here on my blog.