There exists a wide array of tools to match the various kinds of pruning jobs which we need to carry out in our daily gardening. The basic types of pruning tools for most gardening activities are pruning shears, pruning saws and lopping shears. It’s best to have a few specific tools handy for the type of pruning job required, since some types of tools are better suited for trimming bushes, shrubs, and hedges whereas others are meant for rather more delicate operations, like sniping the buds off perennials.
- Secateurs – Cuts with a hook and blade and is the one of the most versatile shears for light or delicate pruning jobs. This shear comes in three forms, the anvil, bypass and parrot-beak. All are meant to thin out shrubs, hedges and small herbaceous plants but shouldn’t be used for more heavy pruning operations.
- Flower shears – These are used mainly by florists and they make cutting of bulbs fast and easy. The blades can also hold the flower cuttings .
- Fruit shears – These are meant to cut the stems of fruiting plants such as grape vines which typically are hard to sever as they do not break off, like woody branches.
- Hedge shears – Large shears that can snip off many twigs at once. They have long handles and usually have one blade serrated and notched. They have largely been replaced by electric powered hedge trimmers.
These are used for more heavy duty pruning when the added power of two-handed handles are needed.
- The lopping shears generally come in two forms: blade-&-anvil and the hook-&-blade types. The hook-&-blade type has a hook that will hold the branch, while the blade slices through it. The blade-&-anvil type has a sharp blade that will sever twigs when it lies between the the blade and anvil plate.
Pruning saws are used when you just cannot cut through the woody branches using the smaller shears. The pruning saws come in two kinds – curved and straight. The straight pruning saws cut through branches on the push stroke, while the curved ones cut on the pull stroke. I personally prefer the curved ones as the folding curved types have blades that can be folded into the handle for safekeeping, and are easier to wiggle into tight masses of branches.
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