Pruning shears are a vital tool for any home gardener. In fact, most avid gardeners will have an assortment of pruners, each suited for a different type of garden task. Pruning shears can come in all sizes and prices, depending on the quality of their construction and the type of handles or ratcheting mechanisms that are offered. Here are a few tips to help you find the right pruning shears for your gardening needs.
Bypass pruning shears have two curved blades and look similar to scissors. These shears produce sharp clean cuts and are generally used to prune stems. Bypass pruning shears can usually handle stems that are up to 3/4 inches in diameter. Anvil pruning shears are similar to a knife and cutting board arrangement. There is one straight blade that comes down onto a blunt, flat edge. These pruners work better for dead stems and plants because they often squish one side of greener stems without making a cut.
Ratchet-style pruning shears make cuts in progressive phases, with each one going deeper than the previous cut. Their design is similar to anvil pruning shears, but the ratcheting mechanism assists the user in making the cut. Ratchet pruners are an excellent choice for gardeners with limited hand strength or for cutting through large stems.
Long-handled lopper pruning shears are for heavy-duty cutting of tree branches or thick patches of flowers. Their extra-long reach makes it easier to get to corners and other difficult to access areas in your garden. Hedge pruning shears work very well for trimming hedges and bushes, but do not have many other practical applications. They look similar to a large pair of scissors and can make long, straight cuts, evening out those shaggy hedges.
Which one to buy?
The most common type of pruning shears are the bypass style, but you will probably need more than one pair if you have a lot of different gardening tasks to complete. If you do not have the money to purchase an assortment of shears, stick with the versatile bypass style to start off with. When deciding on a pair of pruning shears, be sure to try them out in the store before purchasing. Of course, most stores will not allow you to actually cut anything, but you can get a feel for how comfortable the shears will be in your hand. Open and close the shears several times, mimicking the actions you will be performing in your garden. Some pruning shears may seem comfortable after the first cut, but will tire your hands out after pruning an entire plant.
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