Gardening Equipment – Pruning Tools
This is my site Written by Geoff on November 1, 2001 – 5:06 pm

This is the first in a series we will be doing over the next few months on Gardening Equipment. This month we will be looking at pruning tools for the home gardener. As with any gardening tool, always keep it clean and sharp and never use a tool beyond its capacity. Good pruning tools are not cheap. This is one area you really do not want to skimp on. Good tools with proper care will last a life time. Some of the tools we use have been passed down for generations. 

Selecting the proper tools for pruning saves time, effort and frustration. Using the correct tool assures the job will be done correctly and safely. Most pruning jobs can be done with just three or four simple hand tools. We will be discussing those tools that we have used and found, through experience, works best for us. 

The Bypass Pruner is ideal for cutting soft stems up to 3/4 inch in diameter. It is also recommended for roses. The bypass pruner allows cutting closer to the trunk of the plant, which means quicker healing of the bark. This pruner also allows a close, clean cut without crushing the end of the twig or limb. Great for cut flowers. Without a doubt, our best hand shears is the original Felco that has remained unchanged for over forty years. The Felco has replaceable precision ground forged cutting blade, with sap groove and soft wire cutter, easy grip forged alloy handles, and rubber shock absorbers. 

Anvil Pruners are best for cutting woody stems or dead wood up to 3/4 inches in diameter. Anvil pruners are usually lighter in weight and are easier to sharpen. Felco Anvilsbuilt with quality in mind having 1 1/2 inch carbon steel blade and a 3/4 inch cutting capacity. 

Bypass Lopping Shears are pruners with a long handle for extra leverage to cut branches up to 2 inches thick. Bypass loppers will cut a branch closer to the trunk. Corona Extra Large Professional Lopper we have found to hold up under hard use year after year. 

The Hedge Shears are used for shaping ornamental hedges. Hedge shears have scissor-like cutting action and are very easy to use. Some blades are serrated or notched to prevent foliage and small stems from slipping away during the cut. 

Pole Tree Trimmers are especially useful if you have tall trees. This trimmer usually has a cutter blade operated by a lanyard or rope pulled downward. The best poles are in sections that fit together in a telescoping fashion and have a combination cutter and saw. 

The Turbo Pruning Saw should have a curved blade with teeth sharpened in three directions that cuts on the draw strokes. This saw is recommended for work too large for a lopper. 

For heavier work, the home gardener should invest in a few good quality power tools. While these are relatively more expensive, they can save a lot of time for larger tasks. We would recommend the following: 

  1. Echo’s 18 inch chainsaw is a good quality, general purpose saw, which is also easy to handle.
  2. Echo’s powered pruner with a 12 inch cutting bar makes overhead tree pruning a snap.
  3. ECHOHedge Clippers SHC2100 offers great reach and superior balance because of its shaft-type design. The 20-inch double-sided, double-reciprocating blades, and 33-inch shaft increases reach.

While there are a number of excellent manufactures of pruning tools, we have found the ones made be the following to work well for us: 

  1. The people at Felco describe their product as “Simply the Best Pruners in the World” and we agree with this statement. Made with Swiss precision, their pruners are highly regarded by experienced gardeners. Many of us start out buying cheap pruners, often with a similar Felco-like appearance, from the local hardware store, not even aware of the difference. Once you have tried a pair of Felco pruners you will understand.
  2. Echo tools are world class. Made by Japan’s leading manufacturer of high quality power equipment, Echo offers, unmatched performance, unequaled quality, unbeatable reliability and unflagging durability.
  3. Corona Clipper began business in the late 1920’s manufacturing one product, orange clippers, in an old “Corona Foothill” packing house. Forgings were obtained from Los Angeles, as our manufacturing equipment did not include drop forge hammers. Others settle for stamped or cast parts. But only pounding, compressing and flowing hot steel under the blows of the forge hammer can yield the dense, uniform structure and greater strength-to-weight ratios required for Corona’s precision cutting tools.

We cannot say this enough, “Buy Quality Tools”! Once you have these tools, keep them clean, sharp, and well oiled. Good tools are a gardener’s best friend.

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Modified: March 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm UTC

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