Pruners buying guide
Removing dead flowers, leaves and wood will not only keep your garden looking beautiful, but it will also keep your plants, bushes and shrubs healthy and encourage future growth in years to come. Whether you’re looking to deadhead flowers in the garden or lop overhanging branches from a large hedge or tree, our guide will help you find the right tools to suit your gardening needs.
What types of pruning equipment are available?
Pruners, also known as secateurs, are small cutting tools that can be comfortably held using just one hand. They’re perfect for light pruning, deadheading flowers and cutting fruit from a branch. Pruners are suitable for cutting anything up to around 20mm.
If you’re cutting anything above 20mm you’ll want to look at loppers. These work in a similar way to pruners, but you’ll need to use 2 hands as they come with long handles that extend to give you more leverage and make it easier to get to those hard to reach branches. Loppers are what you need if you want to do heavy pruning and dead wooding.
Shears are used to trim and shape bushes and hedges of average height. They have long handles so they can be held using both hands like loppers, although the blades of shears are much longer.
What types of blade are available?
Pruners and loppers are available with 2 different types of blade, each of which has a specific purpose that you’ll want to bear in mind when buying.
This type of pruner has a single blade that slides down against a flat plate. It is shaped to make it easier to cut away dry and dead branches.
This blade allows for a cleaner cut that will encourage new growth. It should be used to trim green branches.
How do you care for your pruners?
Whichever pruning tool you choose you’ll want to look after it too make sure it lasts for many years. Just follow these simple guidelines to keep your pruners in the best condition.
- Wash them in warm soapy water and use a small brush to remove dirt, grime and dried sap. Make sure you don’t leave your pruning tools soaking in water for any length of time.
- Add a drop of maintenance oil to the pivot point, gears and spring of your pruning tool. Make sure to open and close the blades a few times to ensure the oil is distributed evenly.
- Sharpen the blades. Find the beveled edge and push a file away from you down the length of the blade, lifting and repeating as necessary. Don’t forget that while bypass pruners only have one beveled edge, the blades of anvil pruners tend to be beveled on both sides so you’ll have to repeat this step for each side.
- If you lack strength in your wrist, look for ratchet pruners – these are a type of anvil pruner with a special mechanism that makes it easier to make cuts on thicker stems.
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