null  User manual
Misuse may result in serious or fatal injuries. You must
read, understand, and follow these safety instructions
and the instructions in your Operator’s Manual before
operating a Power Pruner.
Overhead pruning can result in serious injury or
death. Wear head, eye, face and ear protection that
meets ANSI standards to avoid injury from falling objects or prolonged noise exposure. Place blade cover
on blade when transporting or storing unit.
This manual describes how to protect yourself and others from hazards related to operation of a gasoline powered pole pruner.
Before assembling, fueling, or operating your pole pruner, you must read
this Safety Manual and your Pole Pruner Operator’s Manual. You must also
understand and obey all safety rules, precautions, and operating instructions.
You must also be alert at all times, and be physically capable of handling and
controlling a pole pruner in a variety of cutting applications. If you are unable to
handle the pruner safely, or if you feel that the cutting task you wish to perform
may put yourself, your property, or others at risk, please call a professional
landscape maintenance company to handle the job.
Table of Contents
SAFETY SYMBOLS AND WARNINGS.............................................................3
OPERATOR SAFETY........................................................................................7
Safety Apparel
Safety Precautions
Equipment to Bring Along
Forces to Control
Proper grip on the Pole Saw
Balance and Body Position for Cutting
Pinching, Binding, Splitting
Limbing and Bucking
Pruning 20
When do you call for professional help?
Circle/Slash Prohibition Symbol
This symbol means that the specific action shown is
prohibited. Ignoring these prohibitions can result in
serious or fatal injury.
Safety Alert Symbol
The Safety Alert symbol is used to alert you to potential
personal injury hazards. To avoid serious or fatal injuries,
obey all safety messages that follow this symbol.
Safety Alert Symbol/DANGER Signal Word
The safety alert symbol appearing with the word
“Danger!” calls attention to a hazard which will result in
death or serious injury if not avoided.
Safety Alert Symbol/WARNING Signal Word
The safety alert symbol appearing with the word
“Warning!” calls attention to a hazard which could
result in death or serious injury if not avoided.
Safety Alert Symbol/CAUTION Signal Word
The safety alert symbol appearing with the word
“Caution!” calls attention to a hazard which could result
in minor or moderate injury if not avoided.
NOTICE signal word only. (No safety alert symbol)
The word "NOTICE” calls attention to a situation which may
result in property or equipment damage if the information that
is provided is not followed .
These important safety symbols and warnings are used throughout this
manual, and may also appear in your Operator’s, Attachment, or Installation
Instruction Manual. These symbols and warnings are provided to help make
you aware of potential hazards, and the precautions you must take to protect
yourself from injury. You must read and understand this information, and obey
the instructions. These symbols may also appear on safety labels as a visual
reminder to follow these important precautions whenever you are transporting,
fueling, operating, servicing, handling, or storing your unit.
Read Operator's and Safety Manuals
Read manuals carefully, and follow rules for safe operation.
Failure to do so could result in serious or fatal injury.
Wear Head, Eye, and Hearing Protection
Wear head, hearing, and eye protection that meet ANSI
Wear Hand Protection
Wear heavy duty work gloves to protect hands
Sharp Blades Alert
Contact with blades can result in serious cuts and amputation
Carbon Monoxide Hazard Alert
Do not operate indoors. Breathing carbon monoxide can
cause serious or fatal injuries.
Explosion Hazard Alert
Gasoline vapor can explode if exposed to sparks or open
Burn Hazard Alert
Contact with hot surfaces can cause serious burns.
Fire Hazard Alert
Risk of fire from gasoline spills or leaks. Wipe up spills
immediately and dispose of wipes in an approved fire-safe
Shock Hazard Alert
Unit not insulated against electrical current. Avoid power lines.
Slip Hazard Alert
Wear slip-resistant footwear to reduce risk of falls.
Finger Sever Hazard
Moving parts can amputate fingers or cause severe
injuries. Keep hands, clothing and loose objects away
from all openings.
Prohibited Clothing
Wear protective clothing and shoes. Loose clothing, dangling
accessories, or open footwear increases risk of serious injury.
Stop Symbol
Indicates the “Stop” position for the engine ignition switch
(Stop Switch).
Keep Bystanders 15m (50 feet) Feet Away
Keep bystanders at least 15m (50 feet) away when
operating unit.
(50 feet)
Do Not Operate Near Electrical Lines
Do not operate closer than 15m (50 feet) to electrical lines.
(50 feet)
Flame Prohibition
Do not allow flames or sparks near fuel or fuel vapors.
No Smoking Prohibition
Do not smoke near fuel.
Do Not Operate Equipment While Impaired
Do not operate equipment while under the influence
of alcohol, medication, or any other substance that
can impair judgment, reflexes, vision, or coordination.
Operating a unit while impaired can result in serious
injury to operator and bystanders, or cause damage to
property or equipment.
Gas Powered Pruners only
This symbol is used to denote that a specific safety
precaution is more applicable for gas powered Pruners.
Electric Powered Pruners only
This symbol is used to denote that a specific safety
precaution is more applicable for electric powered
Gas and Electric Powered Pruners
These symbols seen together are used to denote that
a specific safety precaution is applicable for both gas
powered and electric powered Pruners.
Make sure engine switch is off or unit is unplugged (for
electric) and saw chain has stopped moving before
clearing jammed material.
Safety Apparel
Also, ECHO Inc. recommends wearing hearing protection
at all times or hearing loss can occur. You should reduce
the risk of hearing damage by wearing either “headset” type
protectors or approved ear plugs. (Note: Stuffing ears with
cotton is not recommended.) All persons who make part
of their living using saws should be tested periodically for
hearing deterioration.
Operate a pole saw only while wearing eye
and/or face protection that conforms to ANSI
Z87.1 or CE Safety Standard (Z87 or CE is
stamped on the eye protection).
Never wear loose clothing, unbuttoned
jackets, flared sleeves and cuffs, scarfs, tie
strings, neckties, cords, chains, or jewelry.
Also, secure long hair which could snag or become entangled in the saw chain, power head
or underbrush.
Never operate a pole saw when you are alone. Arrange to have
someone remain within calling distance in case you need help.
During transportation a guide bar or blade cover known as a scabbard, should always be used.
Failure to follow these warnings can result in serious injury or death.
Always wear a “hard hat” when felling or working under
trees. Wear heavy duty, nonslip gloves for improved grip,
and also for protection against cold and vibration. Safety
tip shoes or boots with nonslip soles should be worn.
To reduce the risk of back strain, consider the use of a
lumbar support brace or belt.
Clothing should be of sturdy, protective material. It
should be snug-fitting to resist snagging, but roomy
enough for freedom of movement. Trouser legs should
not be flared or cuffed, and should be either tucked into
the boot tops or trimmed short. Safety vests, leg chaps
and logger’s pants of ballistic material are available. It
is the operator’s responsibility to wear such additional
protection if conditions warrant.
Always wear eye protection conforming to the ANSI Z87.1 or CE Standard
when operating a pole saw (Z87 or CE is stamped on the eye protection).
Wood chips, dust, snapping branches and other debris can be tossed by the
cutting saw chain into the operator’s facial area. Eye protection may also offer
some protection in the event the chain hits the operator in the eye area. If
conditions warrant that a ventilated face shield be worn, eye protection must
be worn underneath it. Hay fever (rhinitis) sufferers may purchase disposable
masks at hardware or medical supply stores to help reduce the intake of
allergenic particles.
Safety Precautions
Do not attempt to start or operate your pole saw until
you have carefully read and completely understand
your Operator’s and Safety Manuals. Locate, understand and follow the warning decals on your pole saw.
Be familiar with the controls and the proper use of the
unit. Know how to shut the unit off. Failure to follow
these warnings can result in serious injury or death.
Kickback Safety Precaution for Pole Saw Users
KICKBACK may occur when the nose or tip of the guide bar touches
an object, or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain
in the cut. Tip contact in some cases may cause a lightning-fast
reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up and back toward the operator (this is called a rotational kickback). Pinching the saw chain
along the top of the guide bar may push the guide bar rapidly back
toward the operator (this is called a linear
kickback). Either of these reactions may
cause you to lose control of the unit, which
could result in serious injury.
Do not rely exclusively upon the safety devices built
into your pole saw. As a pole saw user, you should
take several steps to keep your cutting jobs free
from accident or injury.
• With a basic understanding of kickback, you
can reduce or eliminate the element of surprise.
Sudden surprise contributes to accidents.
Understand that rotational kickback is preventable
by keeping an unshielded guide bar nose from
touching an object or the ground.
• Do not operate a pole saw with one hand! This
can result in the pole saw “skating” or skidding,
which can result in personal injury due to loss of
control. Serious injury to the operator, helpers
or bystanders may result from one-handed
operation. For proper control, always use two
hands when operating a pole saw.
• Keep a good firm grip on the pole saw with both
hands, with the right hand on the rear handle and
the left hand on the front handle, when the engine
or motor is running. Use a firm grip with thumbs
and fingers encircling the pole saw handles and
grips. A firm grip will help you reduce kickback
and maintain control of the pole saw. Don’t let go.
• Make sure that the area in which you are
cutting is free from obstructions. Do not let
the unshielded guide bar nose contact a log,
branch, or any other obstruction while you are
operating the unit.
• Normally cutting at high engine speeds will
reduce the likelihood of kickback. However,
cutting at part-throttle or low engine speeds
may be preferable to control the pole saw
in tight situations and may also reduce the
likelihood of kickback.
• Follow sharpening and maintenance
instructions for the saw chain in your
Operator’s Manual. Do not resharpen saw
• Use only replacement guide bars, saw chains
or blades specified by the manufacturer.
• Do not over reach.
• Do not operate the unit if you are fatigued,
or under the influence of alcohol, medication
or any substance that can affect your vision,
dexterity or judgment. You must be in good
physical and mental health to operate a pole
saw safely.
• Never operate your pole saw unit without its
proper guards, shields, and protective devices
in place. Check to make sure before operating.
• Do not operate a unit in disrepair, or with
damaged or missing parts. Use only genuine
OEM replacement parts. Check that the
cutting attachment, guide bar and saw chain
are firmly attached and in safe operating
• All maintenance specified in your pole saw
Operator’s Manual should be performed by
you or an authorized servicing dealer. Any
service or repair work that the Operator’s
Manual does not address should be done by
an authorized servicing dealer only.
• Use caution when handling fuel. Move the pole
saw at least 3m (10 feet) from the fueling point
before starting the engine.
• Do not allow other persons to be near the
pole saw when you are starting or cutting with
the saw. Keep bystanders and animals 15m
(50 feet) away from the work area. Do not let
anyone hold wood for you to cut.
• Keep all parts of your body away from the saw chain or blade when the
engine is running.
• Before you start the engine or motor,
make sure the saw chain or blade is not
contacting anything.
• Carry the pole saw with the engine or
motor stopped, the guide bar and saw
chain or blade to the front, and keep the
hot muffler away from your body.
• Do not operate a pole saw that is
damaged, improperly adjusted, or not
completely and securely assembled. Be
sure that the saw chain or blade stops
moving when the throttle control trigger is
• Shut off the engine or motor before
setting the unit down.
• Use extreme caution when cutting smallsize brush and saplings because slender
material may catch the saw chain and
be whipped toward you or pull you off
• When cutting a limb that is under tension,
be alert for springback so that you will
not be struck by the limb or saw when the
tension in the wood fibers is released.
• Keep the handles dry, clean, and free of
oil or fuel mixture.
• Do not operate a pole saw standing in a
• Fuel your pole saw safely. Handle
flammable fuel with care. Use an
approved gasoline container. Do not
smoke or bring sparks or flame near
the fuel supply. Use proper fueling
procedures recommended in the pole
saw Operator’s Manual. Do not over fill
the fuel tank. If spilling occurs, clean
up before you attempt to start the unit.
Always make sure engine fuel cap is
securely tightened before operating.
• Use only one approved extension on your pole saw.
• Do not hit rocks, stones, or other foreign objects with the saw chain or blade.
• If the cutting attachment strikes an obstruction, stop the engine or motor
immediately and inspect the cutting attachment for damage, do not contact
ground with saw chain or blade.
• When transporting your pole pruner use the appropriate guide bar or blade
• Do not run the gasoline engine indoors, or
where there is poor ventilation. Engine exhaust
contains deadly carbon monoxide poison.
• Keep both feet on the ground. Do not work
from off-the ground positions. Working from
ladders is extremely dangerous because
ladders can slip, as well as, limit your control
of the pole saw. Working aloft should be left to
• Use your saw only to cut wood or wood
products. Do not cut solid metal, sheet metal,
plastics or any non-wood materials.
• Stay on the uphill side when pruning, limbs
may roll down hill when cut.
• Work only when there is adequate lighting to
see clearly.
• When there are several workers, they should
be stationed where they will not interfere with
one another. During cutting operations, only
one person should be working on a tree.
• Before cutting, clear the area of materials likely to
start brush fires or interfere with you or the saw.
Be sure the path of retreat is clear. It is wise to
plan two exit paths in case one becomes blocked.
• Do not go under trees during periods of high
wind or heavy precipitation. If a fallen or broken
tree creates an emergency, leave removal to a
professional tree removal service.
• Any tree with a hollow rotted trunk, thick
loose bark, and dead branches is extremely
dangerous to disturb by cutting. Such trees
should be worked on by professionals.
• Do not allow anyone to enter a zone of 15m (50 feet) from where you are
working. If the risk of eye injury exists to people outside of 15m (50 feet),
require them to wear ANSI or CE approved eye protection.
• Always disconnect and move the spark plug wire away from the spark plug
before you work on the unit or leave it unattended.
• Ensure that the operator can see where the cutting action is occurring. Use
the proper tools. If the branch or limb cannot be safely cut with your pole
saw, use other tools such as hand pruners or hand saws or consult with a
• Be aware of local ordinances which may restrict the use of a pole pruner product.
• Use only certified dielectric cleaning material such as “hot stick” for cleaning
dielectric tools. Refer to your Operator’s Manual for additional information.
The pole saw’s engine can continue to run
when the chain is jammed. Before attempting
to release or free the jam, always switch the
engine off, disconnect the spark plug wire
from the spark plug. After assuring the chain
and engine have stopped, proceed to clear
the jam. Wear gloves while clearing material
from the jammed chain. Never grasp the
sharp, exposed cutting teeth of the pole saw.
If you contact the cutting chain, serious personal injury may occur.
• Do not misuse the blade or the unit. Never use
the unit for anything other than it was intended.
Do not use it as a hammer, lever, or crowbar.
• To avoid burns, always make sure that the muffler
side of the engine is away from your body.
• Shut off the pole saw immediately if the unit starts
to shake or vibrate excessively. This could be a
sign of danger. A part may be broken or loose.
• After shutting off the engine or motor, keep
your fingers and body away from the cutting
attachment until all movement has stopped. Saw
chain or blade will coast to a stop after releasing
the throttle.
Heavy clothing can increase an operator’s fatigue.
Heat stroke or heat exhaustion is possible. Under
these adverse conditions, you must judge whether
wearing heavy protective clothing or lighter but less
protective items bears the least risk. Or you might
wisely choose to delay work until the temperature
It is believed that a condition called Raynaud’s
Phenomenon, which affects the fingers of certain
individuals, may be brought about by exposure to
cold and vibration. Accordingly, your pole saw has
a vibration reduction system designed to reduce
the intensity of vibration received through the
handles. Exposure to cold and vibration may cause
• Keep your body warm, especially the head, neck, feet, ankles, hands and
• Maintain good blood circulation by performing vigorous arm exercises during
frequent work breaks and also by not smoking.
• Limit the number of hours of cutting operation. Try to fill a part of each work
day with jobs other than pruning.
• If you experience discomfort, redness and swelling of the fingers, followed
by whitening and loss of feeling, consult your physician before further
exposing yourself to cold and vibration.
It is believed that overusing the muscles and
tendons of the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders
may cause soreness, swelling, numbness,
weakness and extreme pain to the areas just
mentioned. Certain repetitive hand activities may
put you at a high risk for developing a repetitive
stress injury (RSI). An extreme RSI condition is
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which can occur
when your wrist swells and squeezes a vital nerve
that runs through the area. Some believe that
prolonged exposure to vibration may contribute to
CTS. CTS can cause severe pain for months or
even years. To reduce the risk of RSI/CTS, do the
• Avoid using your wrist in a bent, extended or
twisted position. Instead, try to maintain a straight wrist position. Also,
when grasping, use your whole hand, not just the thumb and index finger.
• Take periodic breaks to minimize repetition and rest your hands.
• Reduce the speed and force in which you do the repetitive movement.
• Do exercises to strengthen the hand and arm muscles.
• Immediately stop using all power equipment and consult a doctor if you
feel tingling, numbness or pain in the fingers, hands, wrists or arms. The
sooner RSI/CTS is diagnosed, the more likely permanent nerve and muscle
damage can be prevented.
Equipment to Bring Along
When using gasoline powered engines, fuel supplies should be carried in
approved fuel containers. Bring an extinguisher or shovel in case of a fire.
Despite the precautions which can be taken, operating a pole saw presents
some dangers so keep a first aid kit handy.
tingling and burning followed by loss of color and numbness in the fingers.
We strongly recommend that you take the following precautions because the
minimum exposure which might trigger the ailment is unknown.
Forces to Control
This section is about forces which must be controlled to avoid injury when
operating a pole saw. Pros and cons of various safety devices are included
in the discussion. Always remember that your best defenses are to exercise
caution and use the pole saw properly.
Here is an example of a reaction to an action: if you sit on the floor and push
forcefully enough against a wall with your feet, your body will slide away from
the wall. For pole saw operators, when the saw chain forces its way into
the wood from one direction, the reaction tends to move the pole saw in the
opposite direction.
PULL, PUSH and KICKBACK - terms for the direction a reaction takes.
• PULL - This occurs when you are cutting
on top of a log with the lower portion of
the saw chain moving toward you. The
pole saw will be pulled into the wood and
away from you.
• PUSH - This is the cutting on the
underside of a log with the top of the bar.
It pushes the pole saw toward you.
happens when the saw chain is moving
downward around the upper nose of
the bar. Solid contact in this situation
may dangerously drive the guide bar tip
upward in an arc toward you.
• LINEAR KICKBACK - Describes a
sudden PUSH reaction when the guide
bar is buried in a cut which closes and
pinches the saw chain along the top rails
of the guide bar. This propels the pole
saw straight back toward the operator.
Rotational kickback is predictable,
preventable and controllable. If the operator is not alert to the possibility of
a kickback, it may come as a complete surprise. The best defense against
rotational kickback is making sure the saw chain contacts nothing solid at
the upper nose of the guide bar. PUSH and PULL forces are controlled by
anticipating which reaction will happen and adjusting your position and stance
to compensate.
When you are operating a pole saw you must accommodate for gravity.
Maintain proper grip and stance. Keep good footing. Don’t cut while off balance
— gravity may work against you. Never reach too far with the pole saw.
When you’re about to complete a cut, be ready to throttle back and hold up the
pole saw so that the cutting attachment will not follow through into you or hit
the ground after the guide bar or blade cuts through the branch.
This condition occurs when the saw chain or blade
does not dig in properly when starting a cut. In other
words, the saw chain or blade does not get tracked
as it attempts to penetrate the wood. The guide bar
or blade can then begin hopping or skidding sideto-side along the surface. At this point, you do not
have full control of the saw, and the guide bar nose
or blade could strike an obstruction and create a
If you are holding the saw with one hand and a branch with the other, the saw
could skate laterally into your hand holding the branch. To prevent or reduce
skating, hold the pole saw with two hands and make sure the saw chain or blade
has established a groove for cutting. Throttling down the saw chain or blade
speed may help to get a groove started, but once the saw chain or blade is
grooved, throttle the unit up to complete the cut.
On guide bar and saw chain configured pole
saws, proper saw chain tension cannot be
maintained when and if the:
• Drive sprocket is worn.
• Guide bar is improperly clamped to the pole
• Tension adjuster has not engaged the guide
bar, thus allowing the guide bar to shift.
• Guide Bar rails are in poor condition.
• Guide bar and saw chain are improperly
Equipment, including your pole saw, should not be transported
in the same compartment as passengers, and must be secured in
some manner. Cover the saw chain and guide bar or blade with a
scabbard or serious injury may occur.
Proper grip on the Pole Saw
A firm grip is one requirement for pole saw control. The saw should always be
held firmly with both hands with thumbs and fingers encircling the front and
rear handles whenever the engine or motor is running.
• Wear heavy duty nonslip gloves to improve
your grip on the handles.
• Grasp the front handle firmly with your
left hand. Use the proper grip with fingers
encircling and the thumb on the underside.
Thumb position is the key to a strong grip.
• Grasp the rear handle in the same manner
as the front handle. Use index finger to work
the throttle trigger, and practice operating the
engine stop switch without losing your hold on
the unit.
Always use a wraparound grip. Never use a grip where the thumb
and finger do not encircle the unit handles. If you use an improper
grip, even a slight push or kick of the unit may dislodge your hand
and cause serious injury.
Balance and Body Position for Cutting
Pole saws are designed for light to medium trimming of limbs and branches up
to 20.3 cm (8 in.) in diameter. After starting, pick up the pole saw and proceed
as follows:
• Plan cut carefully. Check direction
branch will fall.
• Do not stand directly beneath branch
being cut.
• Plan a retreat path from falling
branches. Branches may bounce
when striking the ground.
• Stand with your weight on both feet.
Adjust your stance so as to be away
from the saw chain or blade and the
line the limb will fall.
• When ready to cut:
Hold front cutting guide against
branch. This will prevent the branch
from whipping. DO NOT use back and forth sawing action.
• Look out for the branch immediately behind the one being cut. If the saw
chain hits the rear branch damage to the saw chain may occur (or kickback).
• Accelerate to full throttle.
• Apply cutting pressure.
• Ease cutting pressure when nearing
end of cut to maintain control.
• When pruning a limb 10.2cm (4 inches)
in diameter or larger cut as follows:
1. Under cut 1/4 limb diameter near tree
2. Finish top cut slightly further out on
limb from tree trunk.
3. Flush cut stub at trunk.
• Long branches should be removed in
several pieces.
• At completion of the cut, let go of the
throttle trigger, carefully lift the pole
saw clear, and idle the engine before
moving away.
• DO NOT use Pole Saw for felling or bucking.
Moving toward the next place to cut before throttling down and lifting the saw clear of the cut can cock the saw chain or blade against
the sides of the cut. Always throttle down and let the saw chain or
blade come to a stop and lift the saw clear of the wood before moving away. Failure to do so may result in serious injury.
• Review your cuts carefully. Sometimes the way the branch is stressed will
endanger you.
If a branch starts to fall, causing your saw to bind, LEAVE THE SAW
AND GET AWAY FAST! or serious injury may occur.
• Do not let the nose of the guide bar come
near any solid object while the saw chain
is rotating. Never let the guide bar dip into
the ground.
• Keep your body out of the path of a
potential kickback. During all cutting, do
not bend toward or otherwise crowd the
guide bar or blade.
• Cut only one piece of wood at a time.
• Do not thrust the nose of the guide bar into
a pile of branches or dense brush where
you cannot see if the nose is in the clear.
• When starting a cut, be ready to control
any tendency of the guide bar to skate
as it attempts to penetrate the wood.
Kickback could be a secondary reaction if
the guide bar nose or blade skates into an
• When completing an elevated cut, be
ready to hold up the pole saw as it cuts
into the clear, so it will not follow through.
• Limit your cutting to the range within which
you can control the pole saw fully. Don’t
reach out because you could lose your
• Make limbing and pruning cuts one at a
time. Do not try to prune more than one
branch at a time.
• Do not prune near power lines.
Pinching, Binding,
Wind bends trees. Gravity bends branches
that are not flat on the ground. A branch
weakened by a cut over 1/3 the diameter is
like two branches hinged together. The cut
may either close or open wider, depending
on how the branch is lying.
When cutting branches, always make the
weakening cut from the direction (opposite
the hinge side) which causes the cut to
widen. If made from the wrong side, the
cut will close, binding the guide bar and
pinching the saw chain or blade.
If the branch is under heavy stress, prevent
splitting by making a shallow cut (up to
1/3 diameter) on the hinge side first. But,
always finish with the weakening cut in a
direction toward the hinge side.
When the branch is supported on both ends
and is to be cut in between, underbuck
(cut upward from the bottom side) for the
finishing cut.
Limbing and Bucking
When you wish to cut off an unsupported
section from the end of a branch, the
weakening or finishing cut should be an
overbuck (from top down). However, you
may begin with a shallow underbuck to
avoid splitting and some damage to the
tree or limb.
Do not cut, walk or stand on a limb while cutting. Serious personal
injury may result.
If the saw chain becomes pinched in a bind, SHUT
OFF THE ENGINE OR MOTOR. Free the bind by
lifting the limb. Use levers, poles, etc. for lifting.
This avoids back injuries.
When a branch is held off the ground by its limbs,
determine which of these are needed for support.
Leave these while you cut off all the other limbs and
You will lose support of the limbs as sections of the
branch are cut. Go to the high ground side of the
branch to buck off limbs. Be sure to have a retreat path should the limb roll
toward you as branches are removed.
There is danger of kickback during
boring. It is not recommended to
bore cut with a pole pruner. Do not
use SRS models for bore cutting.
Serious personal injury or death can
result from improper bore cutting.
Avoid windfalls. Windfalls are tangled
branches, roots and trees. Clean these out
only by cutting from the perimeter.
Pruning is vital to the health and beauty
of trees. Pruning controls the size and
direction of growth, improves a tree’s
health, diminishes risk of infection
and increases the size of flower and
fruit production. Proper pruning also
encourages growth by opening up the
tree’s canopy and branch structure.
But first and foremost, proper pruning is
important for tree health. Dead wood that
is left on a tree is a food source for fungi
and bacteria that can damage a tree. Such
dead and decaying wood can also open
passageways for invasive insects.
On most trees, the ideal time to prune is
during the winter months when sap flow
has either stopped entirely in northern
regions or slowed considerably in southern
regions. Early spring is also a good time to
prune, as long as trees have six weeks of
healing time before the first signs of growth.
There are exceptions. Trees and shrubs
that flower in the early spring, such as lilacs
and redbuds, are best pruned within the
two-week period following blossom drop.
Many varieties of needled evergreens are
best pruned in the spring as well, just as
new growth emerges.
Pruning should be matched to the needs of
each tree, in technique and timing. Some
trees require frequent pruning while others
require very little.
Before pruning any tree, determine the
objective. There are several reasons to
prune a tree. As a general rule, prune a
tree first for safety reasons, then for health,
and then for aesthetics.
No matter what the reason is for pruning,
as a general rule of thumb, remove no
more than a quarter of the tree’s foliage.
Pruning techniques vary depending on the
size and location of the branch.
When a small branch is pruned away,
the cut should be made close to where
it emerges from a larger branch. This
way, the plant’s natural growth pattern is
encouraged. Cuts on branches or stems
should be made at a moderate angle; too
great an angle exposes a large, oblong
wound that takes longer to heal and is more
susceptible to infection.
When trimming side branches, the final
pruning cuts should be made at the outside
edge of the branch collar (the slightly
swollen area where the branch attaches
to the trunk). On larger, heavy branches pruning cuts may have to be made
several inches from where the branch emerges, to avoid any tearing of the
bark when the branch falls.
For larger branches, a three-step approach is recommended to avoid tearing
or ripping the tree’s bark.
• The first cut should be a shallow notch, made on the underside of the
branch several inches from the branch collar.
• The second cut, which goes entirely through the branch, is made just
outside the first cut.
• The remaining stub is then cut just outside the branch collar.
Always prune branches to the point of origin. Remove small twigs where they
emerge from small branches and remove large branches at the juncture with a
larger branch or at the trunk.
Be sure to remove all dead or damaged
branches first, followed by branches that
interfere with each other or those that form
weak angles. Retain the strongest, best
placed branches; remove the weaker ones.
Wound dressings have been shown to
interfere with the natural development of
callus tissues that eventually close the
pruning wound. In some cases, wound
dressings can even harbor disease
organisms much like what occurs when a
Band-Aid is left on a skin cut too long. It is
far more important to make the cut smooth,
outside of the collar and allow the wound
to dry.
If a wound dressing is desired for aesthetic
purposes, use a very thin coat, just enough
to darken the wound area. The best are the
aerosol sprays of water-emulsified asphalt
sold in garden centers. Do not use oilbased paints, thick tars or other materials
containing petroleum solvents.
The key to good wound closure following pruning is to maintain a healthy
tree through proper watering, fertilizer application and pest control. Trees
under stress from drought, over-watering, pest attack, lawn mower and other
mechanical damage, and poor nutrition cannot successfully fight off invasion of
Many shrubs have growth patterns similar to trees, but on a smaller scale.
They should be pruned like trees, with these considerations:
• Prime pruning periods for deciduous shrubs depend on the purposes
for which the shrubs are grown. For example, shrubs whose foliage is
the greatest attribute can be pruned anytime during the winter to early
spring. Shrubs whose spring flowers are their best feature are best pruned
immediately after the blooming period. Shrubs grown primarily for their
summer blossoms can be pruned during the winter.
• Up to one-third of a deciduous shrub’s growth can be removed at any one
time. By selectively removing the oldest, heaviest branches at ground level,
you automatically reduce its height. Some of the most sturdy hedge plants
can be cut back further, to within six or eight inches of the ground during late
winter. These plants will shoot up new growth in the spring, thickening a
young hedge or rejuvenating an old one.
• With most needled evergreens, pruning is confined to trimming back a
portion of new growth to control height or spread, or to even the shape.
Pine growth tips (commonly called candles) can be cut back from one-third
to three-quarters prior to the time the needles of the candles unfold. The
growth tips of spruce and fir can be trimmed back by as much as threequarters while the shoots are still tender and flexible.
When trimming shrubs and hedges, there are two approaches. One involves
pruning away old wood to induce new shoots and growth; the other involves
clipping or trimming the shrub to reduce its total height. Small-leaf, closetextured shrubs respond well to repeated clipping and make the best formal
hedges. Larger-leaf, open shrubs are better suited for pruning and not trimming
with a hedge clipper.
When operating hedge shears or clippers, hold the cutting blades parallel to
the surface you’re trimming, and cut back to the point where you’ve previously
sheared. By starting low and working your way up, it makes it easier to trim
the top part of the hedge. Tools like a new shaft hedge trimmers help to
extend reach while the articulating hedge trimmer makes sculpting a breeze
and facilitates reaching across the top of taller hedges while still maintaining a
parallel cut.
When the trimming project is done, remove the bulk of the clippings, but don’t
worry about the few that remain on top of the hedge or that fall within its borders.
In a few days they will shrivel up and die.
Two common practices are particularly harmful to trees and should be avoided
at all costs.
• The other is called tipping, the cutting away of lateral branches to reduce
crown width.
Both practices not only leave behind an unsightly tree, they also inflict damage
that will kill the remainder of the cut branch and quite possibly cause additional
tree stress.
Still, one of the most common ways trees are injured is to simply not follow
recommended pruning practices that needlessly rip away bark or otherwise
leave trees susceptible to insects, disease and decay. Also, latest research
has shown that painting tree wounds is not necessary. Trees develop their
own barriers to seal off damaged or freshly pruned tissues.
Routine pruning is vital to the health of all trees and shrubs. When done properly,
it will work to maintain health, vigor and beauty and help ensure these landscape
elements deliver years of trouble-free enjoyment to property owners.There are
times that the solution to a problem with a mature tree is best handled by a
professional arborist.
When do you call for professional
There are times that the solution to a problem with a mature tree is best
handled by a professional arborist.
• When you don’t have the expertise and proper equipment to safely
accomplish the job.
• When the tree is too large and pruning requires extension equipment like a
bucket truck.
• When the tree is located near utility lines, buildings or a highway you should
consult a professional.
• When major storm damage requires judgment on whether and how to save
a tree.
• If you are not sure when or how to
Be selective about who you hire to care
for your trees. Look for a company
that uses certified arborists trained to
properly care for trees. Inquire about
the equipment they use. For example,
will they use a bucket truck to reach
your high branches or do they use
extended-reach pruning equipment?
Do they use safety accessories and
safe equipment, like insulated power
equipment for use around highvoltage wires? Always ask a tree care
company for customer references.
Take the time to visit them and look at
the job that was done on their trees.
• One is referred to as topping, the indiscriminate heading of large upright
branches to reduce the height of a tree.
Power head, handles, cutting assembly and pole.
Gasoline And Electric Powered Terms
Choke Lever
The engine control attached to the carburetor that is
used to enrich the fuel mixture for cold starting. Refer
to Operator’s Manual for more details about correct
position and use of the choke lever.
The mechanism that transmits the rotation of the
engine’s crankshaft to the cutting assembly.
Dielectric Material
A material that reduces the likelihood of shock or
electrocution from non-intentional contact during
operation by providing protection against current flow
through the unit to the operator.
A term that is used to describe the size of wire
required when using extension cords with electric
units over specific distances.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. An electrical circuit
breaking device which provides protection against
electrical shock hazards.
Ignition/Stop Switch
An electrical switch which allows the engine to start
and run, and turns the engine off. Refer to Operator’s
Manual to learn and understand the stop and start
Throttle Trigger
The device that controls the fuel and air flow to the
gasoline engine, either increasing or decreasing the
engine’s RPM. Refer to the Operator’s Manual for an
illustrated description.
Throttle Trigger
Lockout Lever
A lever on the top of the throttle handle which must be
depressed before the throttle can be activated. When
the operator releases the throttle trigger lockout lever,
the throttle trigger will lock in the idle position.
Throttle Trigger/
Stop Switch
An electrical switch which allows the electric motor to
start and run, and turns the motor off when released.
Refer to Operator’s Manual to learn and understand
the stop and start procedure.
Throttling Back
Releasing the throttle trigger to allow a decrease in
engine speed (rpm).
Throttling Up
To increase the engine’s RPM by depressing the
throttle trigger to desired level.
General Terms
ANSI Z87.1
The established standard for eye protection devices
set forth by the American National Standards Institute.
A special material used in protection devices designed
to reduce the risk of penetration from saw chain
Closing the cut or shifting the wood, possibly trapping
the saw blade in the cut. Binding includes pinching.
(Also, see PINCH on page 8.)
A secondary shoot or stem arising from one of the
main axes of a tree or woody plant.
Branch Collar
Trunk tissue that forms around the base of a branch
between the main stem and the branch.
Brushing Out
Cutting or otherwise removing undergrowth and brush
in the cutting area and along the planned path of
Generally the standard cross cuts made to section
a log or felled tree. Variations include overbucking
(cutting from top down) and underbucking (from
Chain Tensioner
The device which permits precise adjustment of the
saw chain tension.
Specially designed leg protection which can reduce
the risk of injury due to contact with a moving saw
The engine control used to enrich the fuel mixture for
cold starting.
Removing undergrowth and saplings from an area.
The process of woundwood covering a cut or other
tree injury.
The angle formed at the attachment between a branch
and another branch, leader, or trunk.
The upper portion of a tree from the lowest branch on
the trunk to the top.
Crown Cleaning
The removal of dead, dying, diseased, crowded,
weakly attached branches from the tree’s crown.
Crown Reduction
The reduction of the top, sides, or individual limbs by
the means of removal of the leader or longest portion
of a limb.
Crown Thinning
The selective removal of branches to increase light
penetration and air movement, and to reduce weight.
The exposed wood area resulting from the removal of
a branch or a portion of it.
Cutting Shoe
The lower front of the guide bar cover used as a work
stop and/or pivot point when sawing the blade into the
Degradation of woody tissue caused by biological
A mask to shield the face from flying objects. Face
masks alone do not provide adequate protection for
your eyes. Eye protection goggles or glasses meeting
ANSI Standard Z87.1 must be worn underneath the
face mask. See GOGGLES/GLASSES (below).
Face Shield
A device worn in front of the eyes and a portion of, or
all of, the face to supplement eye protection. A face
shield alone does not provide adequate protection
for your eyes. Eye protection goggles or glasses
meeting ANSI Standard Z87.1 or CE Standard must
be worn underneath the face mask. See GOGGLES/
GLASSES (below).
Equipment or structure used to deliver or provide
protection for the delivery of an essential service such
as electricity.
Follow Through
After the saw completes a cut and is no longer
supported by the wood, the bar and chain can
continue on its path and strike the legs, feet or body of
the operator or helper.
A device covering the eyes and sockets, having
impact-resistant lenses. Such goggles/glasses must
meet the ANSI Z87.1 or CE Standard. “Z87” or “CE”
is stamped on approved goggles/glasses.
Guide Bar
The railed structure that supports and guides the saw
Hearing Protection
These are ear-muff or plug-type devices worn to
reduce exposure to harmful noises while permitting an
operator to hear certain sounds.
Hot Stick
Is A Non Conductive Insulated Pole Used By Electric
Utilities In Moving Live Downed Power Lines.
Cleaning Material Designed With “Hot Stick” Is
Certified For Cleaning Dielectric Tools.
The restriction of the motion of the saw chain or
blade while the engine is running due to an excessive
cutting load or pinching as the cut closes against
the guide bar and saw chain. This can occur when
attempting to cut branches or stems with an excessive
feed rate to the blades.
Face Mask
• Rotational Kickback– The violent reaction that
can occur when the saw chain at the upper section
of the nose is suddenly stopped or impeded,
thereby dangerously driving the guide bar nose in
an upward arc toward the operator.
• Linear Kickback– A push reaction, which can
occur under certain conditions when the guide
bar is buried in a cut and the cut closes, pinching
the saw chain along the top rails of the guide bar
and propelling the saw straight back toward the
A dominant upright stem, usually the main trunk.
There can be several leaders in one tree.
Same as branch, but larger and more prominent.
To hinder, block, close off, or be in the way of; to
hinder or retard a desired effect or shape.
Parent Branch Or
The tree trunk; or a large limb from which lateral
branches grow.
Specifically the closing-in of the wood which pinches
and stops the saw chain along the top rails of the
guide bar during a cut. This can result in the saw
being propelled straight back toward the operator
(called a Linear Kickback). Pinch can also occur on
the lower rails of the guide bar, resulting in the saw
being pulled away from the operator.
Precut Or
The two-step process to remove a branch before
the finished cut is made so as to prevent splitting or
bark tearing into the parent stem. The branch is first
undercut, then cut from the top before the final cut.
Removal of plant parts.
Cutting Blade
A moving blade that alternately changes direction on a
linear cutting axis.
Saw Chain
A saw chain which has been demonstrated to reduce
kickback on some saw models during ANSI testing.
A sheath to cover the saw chain and guide bar during
transport and at other times when the pruner is not in
This Describes Two Highly Dangerous Reactions
That Can Occur. When Used Alone In This Manual,
The Term “Kickback” Refers To Rotational Kickback.
Kickback Can Occur If The Unshielded Guide Bar
Nose Touches An Object Or The Ground.
When the guide bar and saw chain or blade fails to
dig in during a cut, the guide bar or blade can begin
hopping or dangerously skidding along the surface
of the branch, possibly resulting in the loss of control
of the pruner. To prevent or reduce skating, properly
hold the pruner with two hands and make sure the
saw chain or blade has established a groove for
Spring Pole
Be alert for spring poles and stay clear of them during
cutting. A spring pole can spring suddenly when cut,
or when the wood holding it down is cut away. A
spring pole can strike you or deflect the saw into your
An undesirable short length of a branch remaining
after a break or incorrect pruning cut is made.
Stress Fracture
Structural blade or housing damage resulting from
jamming in a cut, using the guide bar/blade as a lever,
dropping the unit, or other abuse.
Terminal Role
Branch that assumes the dominant vertical position on
the top of a tree.
The removal of a branch or branches at the point of
original or the shortening of a branch or branches.
Tree Cutting Wound The opening that is created any time the tree’s
protective bark covering is penetrated, cut, or
removed. Pruning a live branch creates a wound,
even when the cut is properly made.
An entity that delivers a public service such as
electricity or communication.
Utility Space
The physical area occupied by the utility’s facilities
and the additional space required to ensure its
Push And Pull
When cutting is done along the bottom rails of the
guide bar, the reaction on the saw is a pull away from
the operator. When the top of the guide bar is used,
the reaction pushes the saw toward the operator.
Both are normal reactions that must be controlled by
the operator.
Qualified Line
Clearance Tree
A tree worker who, through related training and onthe-job experience is familiar with the techniques in
line clearance and has demonstrated his/her ability in
the performance of the special techniques involved.
This qualified person may or may not be currently
employed by a line clearance contractor.
Person(s) who, through related training and on-the-job
experience, are familiar with the hazards of pruning,
trimming, repairing, maintaining or removing trees and
with the equipment used in such operations, and have
demonstrated ability in the performance of the special
techniques involved.
Reasons For
The reasons for tree pruning may include, but are not
limited to, reducing hazards, maintaining or improving
tree health and structure, improving aesthetics,
or satisfying a specific need such as: removing
diseased, dead, dying, decayed, interfering or
obstructing branches; training young trees; and, utility
line clearance. Before pruning, the primary objective
should be clearly defined. That objective should be
accomplished in the manner most beneficial to the
health of the tree.
Qualified Tree
Worker, Person, or
To locate your nearest ECHO dealer visit our website,,
or call 1-800-432-ECHO (3246).
Ask how to obtain a FREE Safety Video. Echo’s Supplemental Safety Video
provides helpful safety and cutting information.
To locate your nearest Shindaiwa dealer visit our website,,
or call 1-877-986-7783.
Ask how to obtain a FREE Safety Video. Shindaiwa’s Supplemental Safety
Video provides helpful safety and cutting information.
PHONE: (847) 540-8400
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