What are Pneumatic Pruners?

Sheri Cyprus

Pneumatic pruners are branch cutters powered by compressed air that travels through an air hose connected to a motorized compressor. Different sized cutter heads can usually be attached to pneumatic pruners to snip different thicknesses of branches. Vineyards and orchards are the industries most likely to use pneumatic cutters since many pruning cuts can be made in small areas or up and down rows of crops. Extension or telescopic handles allow cutter heads to reach up to 18 feet (5 meters) or more.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The main benefit to growers using pneumatic pruners over electric and manual cutters is speed. However, smaller growers sometimes dislike the noise and size of the large motors and find carrying the battery for electronic pruners in a fanny pack to be easier than lugging around the large compressor and long air hose used with pneumatic pruners. While the electronic way to prune may work for those with smaller acreage, many growers with large acreage still prefer the ease and speed of pneumatic snips hooked up to a powerful compressor.

Safety is a major issue with pneumatic pruners, as many pneumatic pruners are designed to close immediately upon contact. Therefore, a finger that gets in the path of the cutter part is just as likely to be cut as a branch. A cutting action that can be better controlled by the user would be much safer. Many electronic and manual pruners are safer to use than many pneumatic pruners.

However, many large growers see pneumatic pruners as the easiest, most effortless way to shear off tree limbs as they find it takes much less time than it does with other pruning methods. Since time is money when it comes to business, these growers find using pneumatic pruners more profitable for the time they save over manual and electronic methods. Some growers claim an increase in production by as much as 40 or 50 percent after switching to pneumatic pruning systems.

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