Pruning is a necessary and difficult garden task. Choosing good pruning tools such as shears, loppers, and hand pruners help make pruning gardens a pleasure.
Pruning is an integral part of gardening regardless of the size of the garden, and certain pruning tools and equipment are required to get the job done.
With a small city garden, a few basic tools mainly hand pruners and gloves will suffice, but with larger country gardens taking on beds, borders, roses, shrubs, and trees, a far greater array of tools will be needed.
Luckily nowadays, there are ample pruning tools and accessories to choose from, and the dreaded job of pruning and tidying has become considerably easier.
Buying Pruning Tools
Getting the right tool for the job is always a good idea and when buying pruning tools, it is important to get a feel for the tool.
• Judge its weight as it might have to be used overhead sometime.
• With long handled pruners, it is important not to buy too long a handle as to make using the tool unsafe. In some instances, it is possible to buy a telescopic handle pruner which is suitable for the tall and the short gardener.
• Telescopic alloy handles are strong and lightweight.
• Make certain that the handle suits the hand, and choose one that gives the maximum comfort, safety and efficiency.
• A ratchet style hand pruner is best when a lot of pruning has to be done. The ratchet mechanism makes the cut in stages, thereby making it easier to cut through larger stems.
Pruning Tools for all Purposes
Due to their design, all pruners will do the job of cutting away unwanted stems, but some pruners will do it better than other. So, learning a little about the different types will make the work easier and the result more satisfactory.
Hand pruners: There are basically two types, the bypass hand pruners and the anvil hand pruners.
Bypass Hand Pruners
The bypass hand pruners do exactly that; the blade cuts through the stem and bypasses the second, normally thicker blade, in a scissor type motion. The bypass hand pruners are the most popular type of hand pruner and are used for pruning live wood.
Anvil Hand Pruners
The anvil hand pruners have one blade which cuts through the stem and meets a flat surface underneath, just like a knife and chopping board. It is used for cutting away dead wood. The anvil hand pruners can have a ratchet mechanism making the cutting process easier.
These are used for hard to reach branches and have the same design as the bypass pruner, with a long handle between the blade section and the handles. By squeezing the handles, a wire passed through the long section operates the blades at the other end.
Some long-handled pruners can be fitted with a pruning saw for tackling thicker branches.
These are used for cutting more difficult branches and can cut up to 1” thick, especially if a ratchet mechanism is employed. Available with wooden or lightweight alloy telescopic handles.
Mainly used for clipping hedges or cutting grass; these can have either wavy or straight blades. The wavy blade shears is best suited for cutting grass as the design prevents grass from lodging between the blades.
Single Hand Grass Shears
These are used for finer work around the base of shrubs and roses and anywhere a larger shears has difficulty fitting.
The sap from some shrubs is toxic and may irritate the skin, so gloves should be worn to prevent any contact and also to give added protection against any accidental nicks.
Pruning Tools Care and Maintenance
To get the best service from the pruning tools and to make the work easier, it is advised to keep blades sharp and to keep all moving parts well oiled.
To ensure maximum sharpness, keep a whetstone close to hand and give the blades a quick rub before starting work. Clean the blades of shears and hand pruners after use and especially at the end of the season.
Pruning is just one of the many gardening tasks that are needed for the perfect garden. Correct gardening tools, such as mowers and trimmers and garden watering systems are all needed to ensure that a garden is always in peak condition.