Guide to Basic Pruning Tools

Be sure you have suitable basic pruning tools on hand for pruning chores all times of the year.


| July/August 2011


Pruning trees and shrubs might be the last thing on your mind during the height of the growing season. Hedges, perennials and many shrubs need your attention throughout the year, however, and the time for tree pruning will come long after the garden is done and the harvest put away. Have basic pruning tools on hand, and you'll be set no matter the time of year.

In late winter and early spring, our woody plant compadres call to us through the wind and slush, begging us for a little clipping and sawing before spring arrives and their buds burst in an explosion back to life. But there’s much more to pruning than random whacking; the right touch and proper tools are key to your snipping success.

Four basic tool categories are necessities: hand pruners for the 1⁄2-inch to 1-inch twig range; loppers for the whoppin’ 3-inch branches; hedge shears for all of those bushes, shrubs and hedges during the growing season; and the saw to tackle anything else.  

Selecting appropriate tools

The following four tools are essential to achieve consistent results – and they won’t make much of a dent in the pocketbook of even the most frugal gardener.

HAND PRUNERS – These are the tools you’ll use the most. Remember the two types of hand pruners: bypass and anvil. Each cuts in a different way and is designed for specific jobs. As a result, you’ll want to own both and know when to use them during different seasons and growth stages.

Bypass pruners use blades that slide by each other with a scissor-like cutting action. This lets you make clean, quick-healing cuts on healthy bushes, shrubs and plants. Anvil pruners use a straight-edge blade that cuts against a soft metal anvil. They’re designed for trimming dry and woody growth.

MEGHAN YEATS
7/6/2012 1:37:47 PM

I was hoping to get some information on sharpening and general care of pruning tools. Would like to learn how to sharpen my cutting tools at home. Years ago I had a fellow sharpen my pruners for me and he said it could only be done once or twice or they would not close correctly - is this true?


Hans Quistorff
9/21/2011 12:08:06 AM

I did not see pole pruner. these are essential for reaching branches higher than you can reach or into thorns that would tear your arms up with shorter reach. Especially important in controlling my Himalaya Blackberries.






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