I have a mature firethorn growing on the front of my house planted by the previous owners. I pruned it back at the start of the summer but it is growing over the windows again.  In addition to branches growing in front of the windows I feel like I'd like to be able to reduce the overall thickness and height of the bush in places.

The bush is maybe around 30 - 50 cm in thickness in front of the house which makes it very awkward for me to get a ladder resting against the side of the house to prune it. I've so far used garden shears and a branch lopper to cut back the branches growing in front of the windows. The problem with the shears is that many of the branches are too thick for the shears to cut, the problem with the branch lopper is that it is very slow and they are awkward to use at the top of a ladder. 

So my question is which tool would be better for this type of job? Should I be considering a small chainsaw? Is it easy to use a chainsaw? What about at the top of a ladder?

Any suggestions appreciated. I am a pretty novice gardener, we've lived in this house a year and a half and our previous house had no garden.


  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Chain saws and ladders are a no no. Very dangerous.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 28,280

    James I'm assuming you want to keep it so I'd suggest using a hedgetrimmer to take it back to the depth you want and perhaps cut it down to just below the windows with the loppers (and even an ordinary saw for the thicker branches) so that it's more 'hedge' like. Any new growth from there should be easier to maintain where you want it with secateurs or shears. It's not really the right time of year as this is when the berries appear which the birds love, but I appreciate you just want to get it manageable. If you feel it's too invasive for your site, you might want to hack it back to the ankles and then take it out  completely and replace it with something easier.  Make sure you have sturdy gloves! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,117

    Hi James,

    you could get your self a fold up pruning saw. It looks like an oversized penknife and the blade has very jagged teeth. The blade folds up into the handle. You should be able to get one from any garden centre. I have a large firethorn that has orange berries, and I cut it back quite hard as it seems to grow in all directions at once. I even had to cut it back to just a stick to work on the front of the house, and it bounced back. Also I use secateurs on alot of it and only resort to the saw if loppers don't work.

    Hope this helps.

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