Pruning a tree can be a lot of work without the proper equipment. Using a ladder and chainsaw is often precarious and dangerous, especially if you're working alone. Fortunately there are a number of tools designed specifically for cutting high, hard-to-reach branches.
A long-reach pruner allows you to stand comfortably with both feet on the ground while cutting out-of-reach branches. A handle operates the scissor-style clamp that makes the cuts. Most long-reach pruners are able to cut branches up to 3/4 inch in diameter, while some heavy-duty models can handle thicker ones. Pruners vary in size, with some models offering an adjustable reach from 7 feet to 15 feet.
A pole saw consists of either a saw blade or small gas-powered chainsaw unit affixed to the top of a pole. Manual units have a drawstring to move the blade back and forth, while motored units have a pull-string like a standard chainsaw. Pole saws are usually from 5 feet to 7 feet in size. Manual units are recommended for branches up to 3/4 inch in diameter, while motored units can handle thicker jobs.
Rope saws are very simple in design. Two ropes of equal length are attached to either end of a sturdy, toothed blade. To make a cut, you pull the ropes back and forth to move the blade across the branch. As the rope can be any length, this tool can be used for branches of almost any height. A rope saw can handle branches of most any thickness, but cutting very thick branches is labor-intensive.