How many pruners do you have? Do you make the annual trek to one of the Big box stores each year and add another $10 pruner to your collection? There’s a reason why it only costs $10.00. Here the adage of “You get what you pay for” comes true.
Pruners are tools that can either help you in the garden or hinder you. Choosing the right one will make a big difference in the long run.
Pruners need to be stainless steel so they don’t rust. A rusted tool cannot be repaired so ends up in the garbage. What a waste of money! Also ensure that the blade can be sharpened. Poor quality tools will get dull in no time and make your efforts more difficult.
The blades, springs and handle should all be replaceable. This way you can fix the tool rather than throw it away when something breaks. Ask questions next time you’re out buying a tool. Look for quality tools that will last and get your moneys worth!
The pruner should have a safety latch and you should be able to open it with your thumb. Two-handed pruning is inefficient.
Pruners should fit your hand comfortably and not cause rubbing or stress on your hands. You might be pruning for a few hours and working your hands hard so a comfortable fit is key to being able to end the day without pain.
It helps if your pruners are brightly coloured as well. Green pruners are likely to be lost in the garden very quickly. Look for red handles or wrap some bright tape around the handles so they’ll be easy to find.
There are two main styles of pruners: anvil and bypass. The job that you’ll be doing with your pruners will determine the style of pruner you need. Anvil pruners have an upper cutting blade that comes down on a broad blunt blade, which crushes the wood leaving a ragged edge. The anvil pruner works best for dead wood or branches that have already been removed from the plant. The bypass pruner slices very close together with very little damage to your plants. The bypass pruner also allows you to cut very close to the plant eliminating long stubs on the plant. Because of the “clean” cut there is also less chance of disease entering the wound.
I prefer the “Felco” line of pruners– they will last for many years and meets all the suggested requirements listed above. My favourite is the Felco #8. These pruners are remarkably comfortable to use. They fit your hand well. They come for both right and left-handed gardeners. All of the working parts are easy to disassemble and clean, and the Teflon-coated blades are simple to sharpen or replace. Plus their handles are bright red-so your less likely to lose them!