What It Is

You all made some great guesses and invented some interesting products while trying to guess what was underneath the many miles of bubble wrap. I’ll take the seed bomb launcher, the combine for a container wheat field, or the automatic garden weeder, please.

One guess was really close, but went a bit too far. (Daniel: Since you were the closest, send me an email with your address and I’ll mail off your prize.) The others focused too much on the paddle-like shape, which it turns out was really just a protective box and not a good indication of what was inside.

And so……


It’s a 12 foot telescoping tree pruner!

I think I threw you off by having the photo taken on the roof when it isn’t intended for that garden. Over the years, weed trees at our community garden have been growing and slowly diminishing light onto some of the plots, mine included. Unfortunately, the trees on that side are fronted by a slope that makes setting up a ladder difficult… if we could get a ladder that tall there in the first place. I have traipsed through the neighborhood with some interesting things, but an enormous ladder might be crossing a line. If not incredibly heavy and difficult! There is also a long bed of plants we don’t want to trample on in the pruning process. The last time the trees were pruned was years ago — my brother climbed up into them to do the job! By now there are no large limbs, but lots of thin branches and bushy leaves.

We’re hoping that the 12 foot pruners will allow us to get up to the tall growth that is doing the most harm, without hurting ourselves or the existing plant beds in the process. I’ll admit that I’m a bit afraid of this device. Especially if I were to attach the giant saw blade it came with. I’m afraid of that blade on it’s own, even while still inside the package!

I’ll let you know how it works out. The first thing I have to do is parade through the neighborhood with this giant, terrifying weapon-like object in tow. That shouldn’t scare the neighbors. The good news is that the community garden is within walking distance, and accessible via side streets. I won’t need to ride my bike with it, carry it on the streetcar, or, god forbid, hail a cab.

I often tell new gardeners that in general, fancy tools are not necessary to grow a garden. Frankly, when container gardening, you could get by with a pair of gloves and a spoon. Actually, I rarely use the gloves. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that we would need something like this for our small urban garden… but here we are. Either those branches are pruned or I don’t grow tomatoes in my plot. The answer is obvious.


Davin insisted I include this fighting pose with the handle retracted. It’s a little less threatening… but not by much.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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13 thoughts on “What It Is

  1. Gayla!
    Thanks for entertaining me from so far away!
    I hope you LOVE your 12-foot tree pruner. They are wonderful! I used to use one of those in my old job with the MNR (to sample lower branches for insect and diseases). And yes, the box had me confused … I guess I had to think outside (or rather deep down inside) of the box to get the right answer. Garden on!
    Salt Lake City (formerly Windsor, Ontario)

  2. I have one exactly like that. It’s heavy work, much more than I was expecting. Also try always to cut the branches perpendicular, otherwise it will jam and get stuck. Avoid the ticker branches that someone like me always try to optimistically cut.

  3. I’ve coveted a telescoping tree pruner for years, but I continue to rely on a step ladder and my prehensile tail to reach the high branches when pruning my fruit trees.

    I didn’t realize there was a prize involved in this guessing game. Thank you! It was entertaining… and hard to stop with the silly guesses.

  4. Haha, that thing is awesome! I can easily say that’s the biggest pruning device I’ve ever seen in my life.

    I think you should parade it through the streets, and document the reactions you get from people.

  5. Kelly: A protest just marched by. We get a lot past here. I am thinking that the next time one approaches I should run out there with this and march alongside.

    Daniel: I did not know they had chainsaw versions until your comment. Unbelievable!

    I didn’t announce a prize but someone asked and I figured, why not?

    Jose: Tips are always appreciated. Clearly I have no experience wielding such a beast.

  6. On windy, crappy days like today, you’ve always got the bubble wrap….pop pop pop. lol!

  7. We’ve got one of those and LOVE IT! Ours is fairly inexpensive and I’m always surprised at how large of a branch it cuts through. The only warning that I have is that once your family and friends find out that you have one you’ll suddenly find yourself invited to many a tree pruning party.

  8. Google “pruning” for some great tips. It will build your confidence once you apply them to your situation. There’s loads of great help for this.
    Also, do not fear the saw! It is your friend! I suggest you try out both the saw and lopper on some fallen branches to get the feel for it. you will soon see that each has its own range of usefullness.
    Okay, so remember that you want to cut back in stages, try not to damage the branch collar, and the saw works on the pull stroke. Happy pruning!

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