You can tell whether or not you’re dealing with a serious ornamental pruners by the selection of ladders on their truck. I have several types of ladders in my arsenal: several orchard ladders, two extension ladders, a pair of sawhorses, and the “secret weapon,” which is a 2” tall platform ladder.
You can purchase orchard ladders from 6’-20’ in length. I carry a 6’, 10’, and 14’ on my pruning truck, and we keep a 16’ back at the shop for the odd job that requires it. In Alberta, a 10’ orchard ladder is the go-to ladder on almost every ornamental pruning job. It’s easy to move in, under, and around most trees, and is tall enough for most pruning applications where professional tree climbing is not required. Orchard ladders are excellent on flat terrain, which is what we deal with most of the time. Sloped terrain can be a bit more challenging and requires a bit of practice to figure out. I find them much more versatile and safe to use that the common electrician’s ladder.
I’ve found there are really only two main uses of extension ladders: accessing a roof of a structure, and shaping tall conifers with hand shears.
If you long, tall hedges, a 12” plank supported by two sawhorses can be very useful to facilitate hedging.
The “Secret Weapon”
The secret weapon is a 2’ tall platform ladder, and is an extremely versatile tool for pruning and hedging, where you just need a little more height, without the bulkiness of carrying around a 6’ orchard ladder. Highly recommended. It also offers better footing than a ladder rung.
(c) 2018 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc.