Pole Pruner with detachable head for tree trimming.
A saw can be inserted in place of it.
A hand pruner is the main cutting tool. Choose a pruner made of
high-quality metals and polymers. Be sure it has an ergonomic
design to fit the hand. A high-quality hand pruner should also
have replaceable parts. Hand pruners are designed to cut woody
stems up to ¾ inch thick.
Pruners come in two main configurations — bypass and anvil.
There is also a hybrid configuration called a ratchet pruner
helpful to those whose hand or wrist strength might need an
assist. Quality pruners can be purchased to accommodate
left-handed users or those with smaller hands.
bypass pruner has two blades that are separated by a metal
spring. As the blades are closed, the top (cutting) blade
“bypasses” the bottom (non-cutting) blade, producing a smooth,
clean cut. This is the best all-around style for a gardener to
also has two blades separated by a metal spring. As the blades
are closed, the top (cutting) blade comes to rest on the flat
part (anvil) of the bottom blade. The area where the top blade
meets the anvil results in some crushing of plant tissue. For
this reason, an anvil pruner is best for cutting dead plant
is hybrid of an anvil pruner, but with two distinct advantages.
First, rather than using a spring to open and close the blades,
this type of pruner uses a ratchet mechanism. As the blade is
closed, the ratchet assists cutting through the plant tissue by
moving the blade in small increments. This results in a
significant reduction in stress to the hands and wrist. Second,
a few inventive manufacturers have modified the anvil part of
the lower blade. A channel is cut into the center of the
ratchet. As a result, when the blade cuts, it moves into the
channel, resulting in a cleaner cut similar to that of a bypass
pruner. This tool is ideal for people with hand issues but with
a caveat — if you choose this type of pruner, be sure to
purchase one that is ergonomic, made of top-quality materials
and has a manufacturer’s extended warranty.
Bypass loppers used on a branch too large for hand pruners
looks like a pruner on steroids. It has a larger cutting head
and longer handles providing increased leverage because you use
both hands. It cuts stems that are too wide for a pruner to
handle — up to 2 inches in diameter. Loppers are available in
bypass, anvil and ratchet configurations with short, long and
extendable handles. A high-quality, ergonomic lopper should be
part of a gardener’s tool box.
Pruning saw (folding)
The third cutting tool is a
It’s small and compact and fits into a pocket when closed. It
allows one to cut woody material that is larger than 2 inches in
diameter. The saw’s blade can be 6 inches long or longer, with
small, medium or large teeth. The teeth should have a tri-edge
design, which produces smooth, clean cuts on woody plants. As
with the other two tools, buy a high-quality, ergonomic saw.
These shears weren't properly dried-off and developed some
light rust. WD-40 works well for these situations.
Maintenance of Tools
Once you’ve invested in good pruning tools, it is important to
care for them properly to increase their longevity. The
following guidelines will help keep these tools in prime working
Detergent clean, rinse, dry and lubricate after completing
Keep the blade sharp to minimize damage to plant tissue. Sharpen
pruners with a sharpening stone or diamond file each spring or
if cuts become less crisp.
If diseased plant tissue is being cut, disinfect the tool with
70 percent rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Dip or swab the pruners
and let dry. Do not rinse. Disinfectants are not a cure-all for
all plant diseases, but they help to reduce the spread of