A Guide to Pruning Tools December 07 , 2016

Pruning hedges, trees and plants not only tidies up their appearance but also encourages new growth and aids in controlling pests and disease. There are a range of pruning tools available to the gardener, all have their purpose, some are designed to cut thick branches while others will only cut small stems.


Choosing a pruning tool is fairly easy if you know their capabilities and how they work. Here are the most common pruning tools that you will need for cutting and trimming anything from flowers up to mature trees.


Floral Snips


Resembling a pair of scissors they can be used for delicate pruning of flowers as well as deadheading flowering plants to encourage new blooms.


Secateurs or Hand Pruners


Good for taking cuttings and pruning small branches up to ¾ of an inch or 19mm. There are two main types of hand pruners called bypass and anvil. Bypass secateurs are the most popular choice as they are better for pruning living plants due to their cutting action which produces a cleaner cut and will limit disease. Anvil secateurs have a cutting action where the blade moves forward to meet a bar similar to cutting vegetables on a kitchen chopping board.


Hand Saw


Hand saws are an excellent choice for close in pruning of branches up to 3 inches or 75mm.There is a choice of fixed blade, folding and retractable models. Folding or retractable saws have the advantage of being able to be carried on a belt or pouch.


Hedge Shears


Essential for anyone with a hedge in their garden, they are also ideal for tidying up lawn edges. Over the years blades design has moved forward and has given rise to more efficient cutting. Plain blades have the problem of letting twigs slip out the end when the cutting action is performed. Serrated and wavy blades are designed to hold the twigs in place.




Suitable for cutting branches up to 2 inches or 50mm, loppers also have bypass and anvil versions. Because of their shaped blades bypass loppers are better for close trunk work and they leave hardly any stub. Anvil loppers are preferred for heavy cutting and pruning back dead wood. Telescopic variations are available to give the user extra reach and more leverage.


Pole Saw


Cutting high tree branches can be easily carried out with a pole pruner and usually without using a ladder. Equipped with both a lopper and a saw attachment they are able to reach up to 11 feet high to cut small and large branches.


Bow saw


For thicker branches a bow saw will easily cut a 10 inch or 250mm branch. Most bow saw blades are designed to cut on the push and pull stroke to aid cutting. For close in pruning a version with a tapered front is a good choice.



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