pruner

(Question)

What good quality pruning tool would you recommend for:

3 beginning maple trees, Uki Gumo, Beni Shichihenge, very small Hana Matoi, Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, Cornus Prairie Fire, 1 old lilac and a young climbing hydrangea.

Thank you.

(Answer)

Choosing the right tool for the specific job when pruning is extremely important. There are three essential tools that will allow you to handle basic small tree and shrub pruning:

1) Hand pruners or secateurs are ideal for cutting soft and woody stems that are the thickness of a finger.  These tools are used most often by gardeners when pruning. Pick a bypass pruner with a curved blade, since they make clean, even and close cuts thus protecting the plant from pests and disease. Try and find one with a comfortable grip and non-slip handle. Make sure that the safety lock is easy to operate, ideally with the flick of your thumb.

2) A long handled pruner or lopper will cut through thicker branches and shoots and allow you to reach up higher or down lower in the tree or shrub. The longer handle gives leverage when cutting larger branches, so less effort is needed.  Once again choose one with a by-pass blade, as they may be easier to use in small spaces.

3) A hand saw with a razor-tooth curved blade and a wooden pistol grip is a really useful tool for cutting through thicker branches. The teeth maximize the cutting motion by cutting on both the back and forth strokes.

Another tool to consider is a pole pruner. Use to reach greater heights, up to 12 feet.   A pole pruner  has a cutter with a hooked blade above and a cutting blade beneath. The cutter is on a pole and is operated by pulling a rope downward.  Poles are usually made of fiberglass making them light in design. A saw can also be attached to a pole pruner. However, they are more difficult to control. Always wear safety glasses and gloves when pruning.

We do not endorse specific brands but any reputable garden supply store, plant nursery or online retailer will offer a wide range of pruning equipment.  Speak to staff for advice. Where possible handle the tool before purchasing to make sure it’s a comfortable fit for your hand. High quality tools are heavier and come in left and right handed models.