Cordless sawzall for pruning?

I admittedly have never disinfected a chain saw blade. I suppose you could by rubbing it down with alcohol just like any other saw blade. But it would be a pain in the butt. I primarily use my chain saw for cutting up hardwoods for fire wood. When I have used it on fruit trees I’ve just cut and not worried about it.

In all honesty, I’ve never really been one to worry about religiously disinfecting tools . If I’m pruning healthy looking trees I just prune away. I keep a spray bottle of 91% alcohol with me in case I have to prune anything questionable. If I think something has canker or fireblight I always disinfect. But if I’m pruning two neighboring healthy looking apple trees I just move from one tree to the next. Might be careless on my part but it’s a risk that I’ve chosen to take.

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Most chain saws require oil lubrication which might actually disinfect as you go. I’m not really sure if the oil actually disinfects.

I don’t understand the advantage of that to a high quality manual pruning saw, loppers and hand shear for the smaller stuff, but in the end, every person needs to figure out what works best for them. My needs are not going to be the same as someone else- my skill set is different, for one thing- but varied opinions are inevitable even between craftsmen of equal experience.

I can claim someone else doesn’t know how well my tools work, but I wouldn’t even consider using a reciprocating saw as an experiment when small cuts take less than a full pull with a good manual pruning saw, can be kept in a convenient sheaf at your side so you are free to reach for you hand pruner with no loss of time (also in a holster). The loppers are somewhat problematic because they must be set down when not in use (the lopper holsters aren’t convenient for long handled loppers). Maybe I need to design a holster for the loppers that holds them on my back.

Loppers are most useful to me when I’m pruning peaches and other stone fruit- I don’t use them much with apples aside from pruning off excessively low wood or when I need more reach from my ladder.


For the big pruning jobs, I prune peach trees almost exclusively with loppers and occasionally a good hand saw. I have 3 different brands of hand saws, but like Silky the best. If I need to go through and remove some scaffolds, I use a chain saw.

Once I tried to use a sawzall with a pruning blade, but it’s not any faster than a hand saw on small stuff, and really slow compared to a chain saw on big stuff.

The little bitty 6" long shoots, which don’t grow good peaches, I remove those by tearing them off. So I don’t use hand pruners much at all during the heavy pruning of peach trees. I do carry hand pruners (ARS) when we thin fruitlets, because we are also trimming the ends of shoots, removing poorly placed shoots, and generally thinning a few shoots at the same time.

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of any commercial growers who disinfect tools between trees, but I’m sure there are some out there. My guess is very very few commercial growers disinfect.


I never have…it takes oil just like a 2 stroke chainsaw.

Electric is nice because i can saw logs on the kitchen table :wink:

I just bought an electric snowblower…we’ll get to test that tomorrow…6-8 inches in the forecast.


I don’t claim to be that diligent but I may be if my livelihood depended on it!


What disease do you fear spreading? A fruit growers livelihood depends on growing fruit efficiently. I’ve never even heard of disinfecting being recommended when you aren’t doing something like cutting out black knot.

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I use a reciprocating saw close to the ground on elm sprouts and particularly when there are tons of them. Tordan and a reciprocating saw make short work of all those junk seedlings in fence rows. Every job has a tool. I use hand saws only on my fruit trees and won’t dull them on elm. My pruners are the same wont use them around wire when it can be avoided I get in a hurry and nick my blades. That dewalt slices like butter 5-6 sprouts in a minute and once I’m done I go back and kill the stumps. Chainsaws are dangerous because they jump in those areas. You do a lot more pruning than me so you probably have a better plan. It’s a good amount of work my way. I say this stuff but who knows this weekend I may be doing all the things I need to do and wind up Doing it your way.

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Yeah, I can well understand not wanting to use a pruning saw more than necessary to spare the blades. I spend about $600 a year just on blades from my Silkies. Two of us pruning. Silky charges the most of any maker for their blades- and the ARS blades seem to be just as good, but they don’'t make as nice a handle. I never get a sore wrist from the Silky I use no matter how many consecutive months I prune.

Reducing wear on the blades gets me to go to my truck for my chain saw when there’s big cuts as much as anything else.

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Those ARS pruners are real quality so I imagine they make saws out of the same stuff! They keep an edge very well. Nice equipment sure makes things easier! I’m about ready to start spraying the fence rows in the summer to avoid my winter choirs.

After using a generic model, I bought a silky years ago, thanks to someone’s recommendation. It’s like using a different tool for me, well worth the money. However, I’m strictly a hobby orchardist, not commercial. With all the pruning you’ve got to do, maybe some sort of electrical power is the way to go.

Well I just ordered the Silky saw that Alan recommended too. Its like the old EF Hutton commercials…when he talks, I listen. :slight_smile:

I still wonder if a sawzall might not be handy. Might buy a wood blade for one of my corded ones and try it one afternoon. If I like ill buy a cordless.


Eric, they actually make a pruning blade for reciprocating saws. I bought some and used them with my Bosch to cut roots from a stump I was trying to rip out of the ground. They are very long and I used them by digging out around the 2-3" tree roots and cutting them. I didn’t want to use a chain saw for that purpose as there was a high probability of dull the blade by cutting soil. So I bought the pruning blades instead. They worked pretty well. But I haven’t used them for typical tree pruning. As mentioned by others, I use a pull saw for limbs in the 1/2" to 2.5" range, a chainsaw for anything 3" or bigger, and pruning shears for anything 1/2" and under. I also have some loppers that I rarely use.

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Well, when you write your comparison of the two tools I will “listen”- but you still should probably have a small and light chain saw of good quality if you remove a lot of scaffold sized wood. In an orchard your size I would likely go through it with a chain saw before finishing mostly with hand tools- but then, most of the work I do is on big apple trees initially trained by someone else. It seems to take about 20 years to organize the big wood on a poorly trained old apple tree (not that anyone else really notices what I’m doing).

My goal is almost always to have the least wood possible to hold the maximum, well lit crop in a trees given space. People usually leave far more wood than necessary when pruning apple trees. At least with peaches there is an often stated rule to only use 3-4 scaffolds on an open center tree.

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The cats ass! That is great Eric! My father used to say that all the time. He probably still uses that one. He had some very good phrases He likes to throw around. That made my day really.


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Its not a phrase I use often but it applies here. Its a great tool! Love throwing on my holster and going out to the orchard with them. The new Silky is due in today…im sure ill fall in love with it too.

What silky did you get? Did you get a fair price?

I ordered and recieved the Silky Gomtarro 300mm that Alan recommended. Was $72 shipped on Amazon. Worked with it trimming up a few peaches today. Its is quite excellent at chewing thru wood and in the hour that I used it, it didnt wear out my hand. The very best thing about it is the scabbard. Being able to access both my hand trimmers in my holster and the saw in it scabbard without having to take eyes off what im doing was fantastic. Easier on the eyes and the concentration. Far less mentally exhausting for me.

I still like the idea of the cordless sawzall for my orchard for certain cuts. There are many times that a chainsaw is a little unwieldy. We shall see. But yes @alan that silky is just awesome.

It’s always best the first day. Evaluate it after it has seen a little more use. It loses that extreme sharpness relatively quickly and than remains very sharp for a very long time.

I use a sawzall as well as a chainsaw pole pruner. I use a lot of tools, but I don’t have a SILKY.