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Straight vs. curved pruning saws: What works better?

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Many gardeners would be curious to know the answer to the question of what works better out of a straight and curved pruning saw. After looking into it, I wrote a post on this topic with all the relevant information.

Straight and curved pruning saws are both highly useful in particular situations. A straight saw is better suited for pruning somewhere between the height of your shoulders and waist. A curved saw is more useful when either pruning above head height or below the waist.

Table of Contents

The reason for the saws being better suited for use at different heights is due to the logistics of the human body. More comparisons and benefits will be explained in detail in the following sections.

Things worth considering when choosing a straight or curved pruning saw

As I touched upon in the introductory section, the main functional difference between the two saw types is the heights they allow you to prune comfortably.

Using the wrong type of saw will make the pruning process less safe, produce unsatisfactory results and potentially make you vulnerable to repetitive strain injuries.

This makes it very important that you take some time to analyze the branches or stalks that you want to prune.

Where do they measure up to on your body? Are they comfortably within reach, or do they require you to reach vertically? Answering these questions and establishing what you’re working with before purchasing your pruning saw is a must, as it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Considerations for choosing between a straight or curved pruning saw

The height you intend to be pruning is the most crucial factor to consider, but it is not the only one.

Curved and straight saws also have different sawing capabilities that should also be noted. Here is a breakdown of the numerous factors considered when asking what works better, straight vs. curved pruning saws.

The height you intend to prune to your body.The thickness of the branches or stalks.
Accessibility of the branches or stalks.Species/type of plant.

Your experience using a saw is also essential in choosing which of the saws to purchase.

For multi-purpose usage, choose the straight saw.

You might think, “I want to use my pruning saw at different heights.” If it is the case that you intend to use the saw on numerous plants and trees which are diverse in stature, it is better to get a straight-bladed saw.

The reason for choosing a straight saw is that it provides you with more options when pruning and is generally easier on the body.

Another bonus is that it is multi-purposed and can be used for DIY around the house, whether lopping off wood or cutting out a frame on a wall.

To summarize this section, both curved and straight pruning saws are equally effective in their field, but straight saws boast more versatility, so if you were only to get one, that would be my recommendation.

The strengths and weaknesses of a curved pruning saw

If you are doing a lot of sawing above your head or below waist level, a curved pruning saw excels.

Due to the curved blade design, the curved saw can dig into the wood in this position.

It also feels much easier on your body to use a curved blade in these awkward positions than a straight pruning saw.

Considerations for the curved pruning saw.

The weaknesses of curved pruning were mainly due to their limited versatility. Other than high or low pruning, they make the sawing process more difficult at other heights.

This is because we naturally saw back in forth in a straight line, provided we are using it within a comfortable reaching range.

A curved blade means the motion must be slightly arched, making it less comfortable and ineffective.

Overall a curved pruning saw should only be used for those awkward high or low positions that are difficult to get at with a regular straight pruning saw, but other than for that purpose, their effectiveness is limited.

The strengths and weaknesses of a straight pruning saw

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of a straight pruning saw.

Pros of using a straight pruning sawCons of using a straight pruning saw
A straight saw is adept at making cuts somewhere within the range of your waist level and shoulder level.A straight pruning saw is unsuitable for cutting in awkward positions, especially high up or low down.
It is versatile. Because of its simple design, the straight blade can be used for many purposes, including woodwork and other household building projects.The straight angle makes it difficult to apply pressure and can cause damage to your wrist if you use it in these positions that are tricky to access.

Using the straight pruning saw will make the sawing process quicker and more efficient in most cases.

It essentially promotes a natural cutting motion that is less strenuous on the body due to you being apple to put your weight into the cutting process, speeding it up.

How to make pruning easier with either a straight or curved saw

Pruning can be an enjoyable task, but it can also be pretty hard work. Thankfully, you can follow specific methods to make the process as easy as possible and minimize the risks involved.

  • It’s essential to prune your branches equally, considering the side branches too. If you provide an all-over prune but neglect these side branches, it will result in unsightly regrowth, which makes the tree look like it has a weird shape.
  • Be sure to wear protective gloves; if you look up while pruning, eye protection prevents loose trimmings from causing an injury.
  • If you are removing larger limbs, it’s essential to make a slight undercut around 30 cm from the trunk. This will prevent a tear from occurring, and the stub will be cleanly cut off after pruning.

Smaller trees can be pruned and tidied up in the spring and summer. Maintaining them in this way will prevent you from having a mammoth task on your hands every couple of years.

It is easier to keep the smaller trees tidy with slight trims than to spend days trying to prune them in their entirety.

Working with the trees and pruning habits

When you decide which saw works better for your needs, analyze the trees you will be pruning. It’s always a good idea to work with the tree rather than against it.

By this, if a tree naturally forms a particular shape, try to enhance or tidy that shape rather than completely ignoring the tree’s intentions.

Working with how a tree is naturally growing will result in a much tidier result, and less work will need to be done to achieve it.

Be very careful not to over-prune your trees.

Take your time pruning your trees, especially since the after-effects of over-pruning them can take years to resolve. The chances are it will continue to grow that way in years to come, which may be dangerous for the tree and yourself as the tree owner.

Over-pruning your trees can damage them and set their growth back. Allowing all sorts of illnesses and diseases to take hold as you have weakened the tree. To ensure you do not over-prune your tree, I recently wrote this article on over-pruning trees and how you can fix the damage caused. You really should check this one out.


Conclusion on straight vs. curved pruning saws

Using a straight pruning saw between the waist and shoulder height is much easier because you can keep all saw’s teeth contacting the branches. If you were to use a curved saw in this position, it would be challenging. The arch of the blade would tend to pull away from the branch, making it difficult to get a clean cut.

Hopefully, all this information can aid you in deciding which pruning saw to buy. It all boils down to giving you better ease in cutting and ensuring the user’s safety.

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