Trimming trees has never been so easy

Take your pick of outdoor cutting tools

Keeping things safely pruned back is a fact of life for all homeowners. Whether it's pruning bushes to help maintain a summer fire-free zone around your house or trimming trees to keep your roof safe from moss and winter storms, you need to have the right tools to do the job quickly and safely. Outdoor cutting tools can take one of four general forms: gas-powered, electric, battery-operated, and -- though we hate to even consider them -- manual. What you select depends on how much cutting you have to do, where you'll be cutting, and your budget. Gas-Powered: If you have a lot of cutting to do, especially heavy-duty work such as felling trees or cutting up large branches, or if you'll be cutting in areas where power is not available, your best bet is a gasoline-powered chainsaw. A 12-inch model -- which refers to the length of the bar -- is adequate for most pruning tasks, while a 14- to 16-inch bar is a little heavier but more versatile for larger, more heavy-duty cutting....