I have a pole saw with a typical pruning saw blade and it works great on fresh green palm fronds (which I really shouldn't be cutting, but I don't want them touching my roof line) but the ones that I just can't manage to cut are the tougher, older fronds, especially if they are completely dead. And the fruit is very problematic because it drops them by the thousands so I try to remove them soon as I can but they are very though to cut. These are all four Queen Palms, two of which are over 30 feet high so I've been using a ladder and my pole saw. It's one of the most tiring jobs I've done myself at home only because it takes so much energy to cut through the tougher fronds. There has to be a better saw than a typical pruning pole saw, perhaps something meant for palms? I'm the type who prefers to learn/do everything myself as opposed to hiring pros so bear that in mind. I am willing to pay for the perfect saw however to keep in my garage. If you have any tips on technique that would be helpful too. It strains my neck having to look up at what I am cutting. Thanks for any advice.
What is the best method/saw to cut through tough palm tree fronds with? (30-foot Queen Palms)
When you say pole saw I assume you mean a standard manual pole saw. If you're willing to spend a little money look into a chainsaw pole saw, that should tear through them in a hurry.
I have used high-quality Japanese saw blades to cut dry palm fronds (replacing them when they start getting dull). They cut through even dry fronds like butter (as long as the teeth are a good size: over 1/2 cm but less than 1, IIRC), and cut-on-pull is way easier when trying to balance on a ladder.
The saw I used was hand-held, but I suppose you could lash it to a lightweight pole (your old pole saw, or a length of bamboo) if you can't find a really sharp cut-on-pull blade for your existing pole saw.
I always used a bow saw or pruning saw to trim my big and little palms. They will cut through anything. Not good for high stuff. Mine got so big I had to finally break down and hire someone to cut them for me. Not worth going to the hospital.
I quickly gave up using a pruning pole saw, and now cut the dead fronds from my Washingtonias, and Phoenix palms, in minutes with cheap but efficient pruning shears which I bought from my local supermarket and have used for the last three years. You will, however, need a good ladder if your palms are 5 to 6 meters tall.
If you are going to completely cut down a larger palm tree, please be advised you will need probably 3 chainsaw blades because queen palms dull the blades very quickly (I have never seen this so fast vs other trees).
We used 3 blades on a 20 inch saw to take down a 25 foot queen palm and cut into 12 inch pieces for disposal because they are SO heavy.
BTW I would never plant a Queen Palm again because they require much maintenance of the fronds and seed pods which make a mess and this becomes a real challenge when the tree is over 20 feet tall.
I'm in precisely the same position with my tall palms over 30 years old. I'm not certain about telescopic pole chainsaws, given the potential for hazardous kickback at extended heights. I'm presently looking at manual high quality blade pole saws at this site http://www.forestrytools.com.au/index.php?id=24. And specifically the Silky Hayate 7.7m Pole Saw, aluminium pole saw, which is their longest reach.
I use a battery and 12V reciprocating saw with a good Diablo DS0905FG5 blade from Home Depot and they cut like butter. If you don't like ladders, hire somebody!
1Hi! I'm pretty sure that should be 12V, not 120V, for battery powered equipment. Also, Sawzall is just one brand of reciprocating saw. Thanks, and welcome to the site!– Niall C. ♦Jun 9, 2016 at 3:05