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I don't know about you, but I'm never tall enough when it comes to pruning shrubs and trees, even though I'm over 6ft tall. This either means wobbling on a chair [not recommended] or getting a ladder out [can be awkward] unless you are the proud owner of a. . . Wilkinson Sword telescopic pruner and lopper. This is a modern take on an old solution to high level pruning- you used to have a long pole with a cutting head operated by a metal connecting rod and lever near the base. This was ok, but restricted. Wilkinson Sword have made their pruner out of two fibreglass tubes that slide neatly one inside the other; locked to whatever length you decide with a clamp and handscrew. This enables you to adjust the reach from 2m to nearly 4m, plus, of course, your height, so you should be able to prune over 5m high, which is plenty for most modern fruit trees. The business end is a j shaped hook that you can put over the branch to be sliced,then by pulling on an adjustable T-handle on a nylon cord which passes over a pulley,a sharp blade cuts through, passing on into a slot to ensure a complete and clean cut. The j-hook is also useful for dragging down any bits that get hung up on other branches. If you need to cut thicker than the 35mm limit of the blade and hook arrangement, the tool is supplied with a pruning saw blade which is easily attached onto a moulded lug by using a wing nut. This saw has hardened teeth and cuts on the pull stroke; I have successfully trimmed branches in excess of 100mm with the pruning saw- the only difficulty comes in making a relief cut on the underside of the branch, so that the bark doesn't tear down, leaving the tree open to infection and rot. The use of fibreglass for the poles, and a moulded plastics head makes the tool light and manageable, and also is warm to the touch [important in british autumn/spring when we do most of our pruning]. There are
thoughtful design touches: an end cap on the pole, so it doesn't fill with mud when stood on the ground, a plated mechanism return spring and coated blade to avoid corrosion problems when stored. The mechanism is easily stripped down for sharpening or to replace parts. I have also used it aloft in a tree when I wanted to trim the lighter branches that wouldn't have taken my weight [no rude comments!]: I could have cut back further, with a bow or chain saw, but this enabled me to leave the tree a pleasing shape. I have used this for a few seasons now, and it works as well as ever, despite sketchy maintenance: it just gets stored hanging from the underside of the roof in my shed.