pruning tools you need and how to care for them
From Triton Lawn Services
Just like with any hobby or DIY task, it helps to have the right tools for the job. Pruning tools come in many shapes, sizes, and forms, ranging from basic tools for general pruning to more specialized tools for specific tasks.
While you can use basic tools to complete most pruning tasks, you may feel more comfortable using specialized tools in case you are not confident in using ladders or if you are unable to grip tools for an extended period of time.
A pair of good garden scissors is an essential tool for all gardeners. They are perfect for pruning delicate plants and shrubs. Garden scissors are particularly suited for cutting flowers and removing dead flower heads.
Secateurs are, essentially, heavy-duty garden scissors. They are mostly used to prune shrubs with tougher stems, such as roses. To avoid accidents, and for easier use, it is recommended to buy a pair that will comfortably fit in your hand. If you cannot find an appropriate pair, there are adjustable versions available on the market as well.
Secateurs and the next tool on the list come in two varieties. These types are called a bypass and an anvil, respectively.
- Bypass secateurs work in the same way as scissors, with two blades passing each other. This results in a clean-cut, which is most suited to pruning more delicate plants.
- Anvil secateurs consist of one blade, which closes on a flat metal surface. They are perfect for plants with thicker and tougher stems.
Loppers are basically strong secateurs with long handles. The extra length allows you to exert much more pressure with both hands when cutting thicker branches. They are perfect for cutting smaller tree branches or stems in hard-to-access areas, such as the center of a thorny bush.
Cut and hold pruners
This tool will not only cut what you need it to but will also hold on to the branch or stem that has been cut. This means that you don’t have to continuously bend over to pick up plant trimmings. This makes them perfect for people with limited mobility who still want to enjoy gardening.
As trees contain an abundance of sticky sap, it can be difficult to cut through branches with a normal handsaw – the blade will get stuck and you will waste a lot of energy to constantly retrieve it. The teeth on the blade of a pruning saw are specially designed to resist sap and easily cut through green living wood, with many of them also sawing when you pull the saw towards yourself.
There are many variations of pruning saws available. Some look like a carpenter’s saw, while others may fold into a handle. When choosing a pruning saw, spend some time handling them and choose the one which feels most comfortable in your hand.
Tree pruning systems
These specialized tree pruning tools come with telescopic handles that you can use to extend them in order to reach higher branches. A variety of attachments are available here, including a collection of interchangeable saws and loppers to tackle branches of varying thickness. Other all-in-one tree pruning tools are also available, these consist of a telescopic pole, a heavy-duty saw, and a pull-cord-controlled lopper.
They are the perfect option if you don’t like the idea of cutting branches while perilously perched on a set of ladders.
Multi-change systems are the garden equivalent of a multi-tool. The interchangeable handles and heads make them an excellent all-around gardening tool. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a selection of specialized tools, this is the option for you. Multi-change systems give you the flexibility to tackle a wide range of tasks with a single tool.
Caring for your tools
To get the most from your tools and prevent the spread of plant diseases, it is incredibly important to properly clean your garden tools after using them. To disinfect your tools, either uses a commercial product or mix one part household bleach with nine parts water and carefully clean the handles and blades.
If you read or have read, any old gardening books, it is likely that you have seen that it is recommended to apply pruning paint to new cuts or wounds on trees that are larger than three inches. Pruning paint was traditionally used to seal fresh tree wounds in order to ward off disease and pests. With the passage of time and the accumulation of new knowledge, however, this practice dropped out of popularity. It is now common to be advised to leave the tree wound open and let it heal naturally so long as you prune the tree at the right time of year.
This is another reason why it is important to keep your garden tools clean. Diseases can easily spread from plant to plant if you prune them using an infected tool.