How To Prune Plants: 5 Best Tools For Cutting Plants
Good tools make for good work, especially when it comes to pruning or cutting plants. Having a selection of sharp tools at your disposal means you can tackle a range of branch sizes and heights, and takes a lot of the stress out of this regular and essential maintenance task.
When you select cutting tools such as secateurs and pruning shears, you’ll be offered options on the type of blade. Secateurs and other cutting tools have the option of bypass or anvil blades. Bypass tools have two cutting blades that make them particularly good for making clean cuts on green plant matter such as living stems. Anvil-style tools have one cutting blade that cuts against metal. Anvil blades are good at making the strong cuts needed for cutting into old, thick or dead wood, but may bruise living tissue. To make it easier to cut, select a pair of secateurs or pruners with a ratchet blade. These give extra leverage and reduce the amount of pressure needed to make each cut.
The 5 best tools for cutting plants
Here’s our guide to the best pruning and cutting tools for your garden. You can find all of these cutting tools and more at your local Flower Power Garden Centre. Note, there is no single best tool for cutting plants - every gardener needs a range to deal with the size and structure of the different plants in their garden.
Even if you have no other cutting tool, a good pair of secateurs is a gardening must-have. Buy the best quality you can afford and that suits your style of gardening. If you enjoy caring for your tools, then go for top-of-the-range secateurs that can be sharpened and serviced to keep them in tip-top condition for years to come. If you are more likely to lose your secateurs or leave them out in the rain, go for a cheap and cheerful option that you can replace as needed. If you are left handed, you may be able to buy left-handed secateurs. Secateurs, however, are not suited for cutting thick stems (see loppers) or pruning hedges (see shears/clippers).
These tools are good for cutting green growth such as hedges or topiaries where an all over trim is required. They have long sharp blades and long handles, which makes them suited to cutting large areas of twiggy foliage. The blades usually have a sharp straight edge but there are blades with a wavy edge. While the wavy edge can be harder to sharpen, it is thought to prevent damage to soft green growth. Hedge shears or clippers are not suited for cutting thick growth (see loppers). Feel the weight of the tool before buying to make sure you can manage it easily for the amount of cutting in your garden.
If you have a lot of hedging or topiary work in your garden that requires frequent pruning, then opt for an electric tool over hand shears to make the job faster and easier. Electric trimmers come in a range of weights and sizes, so try them out before you buy. Select the one that feels right in your hands. For versatility and safety, opt for a cordless battery-powered trimmer with two rechargeable batteries. These can be used anywhere in the garden and are quiet when operating. For heavy-duty work – where there are lots of hedges or thick branches to be cut, use a petrol powered hedge trimmers.
These are heavy-duty cutting tools to cut through branches that are too thick or too hard to reach with secateurs. They may have bypass or anvil blades. For ease of use, select a ratchet lopper.
These are also useful tools for cutting back plants where this involves cutting through thick branches or removing old wood at the base of a shrub (such as a rose). Pruning saws have a blade that’s designed to cut both as you push and pull. Select a pruning saw with a comfortable handgrip. Some saws have foldaway blades for safekeeping.
After using any cutting tool, carefully clean the blade. Remove sap by washing them. Anything that doesn’t wash away may need to be lightly cleaned off with steel wool. Before storing tools, make sure the blade is dry, then protect it with a wipe of mineral oil. Most blades can be sharpened using a sharpening tool or whetstone. As necessary, replace damaged blades or springs to keep tools in good order. If you have trouble finding tools in the garden either select a brand with a brightly coloured handle or mark the handle yourself with a colourful, high-visibility tape.
Want more info on how to prune your garden plants? This article is perfect for you!