A good pair of hand pruning shears (I like Felco pruners) is one of the garden tools for maintenance many plant owners should purchase early. They are one of those Indispensable hand garden tools.
A quality pair of pruning shears can last 10-15 years. I have a pair of Felco pruners I still use to this day that are over 25 years old and still going strong. I’ve replaced blades and springs but the old Felco workhorse still gets the job done.
There are many models of pruning shears… as varied as any garden equipment. Between the light pruning shears for roses and the heavy duty “loppers” there are no end of models. Fortunately, most shears are well-made.
I’ve purchased different pruning shears over the years.
The downside today is that many of the shears are well made but the materials used are not the highest quality. Blades and springs rust easily. I think this is why I prefer the Felco pruners, they cost more but the materials used to make the Felco pruners makes them very durable shears to carry everyday.
It is a matter of selecting a model or pruning shears most suited to the person and the work.
For best performance over a wide selection of plants there is the “Snap-cut,” where the straight cutting blade comes down on a soft metal anvil, or the curved-blade type, the selection of oldtime gardeners, with a ratchet lock nut.
Either will effectively cut 1-inch stems of gardening plants – not hard, dead wood. One or two of the lighter curved-blade models will cut lighter growth at the tip of the blade. When cutting, catch the stem well back on the blade and cut without twisting the tool or you will tear the bark. Use heavier shears for stems over 1 inch in diameter.
Older branches are best cut with long-handled lopping shears or with a pruning saw, which can also be used for dead wood, tree branches and the like. For this purpose the simple Duplex model with two edges is one of the best for most gardens.
If you have a hedge or expect to trim plants you will need hedge shears – manual, electric or gas powered. They are available in either American or English patterns and in weights and lengths from the 6 1/2-inch featherweight to the 10-inch professional, weighing over 3 pounds.
Some have one serrated (saw-tooth) blade which gives an easy cut but must be kept in shape. Other features to look for in hedge shears are a notch in the upper blade for cutting heavy stems that cannot be sheared and a properly set oversize bolt with a lock nut.
Nothing is so vexing when shearing a hedge as having to continually adjust a loose nut. Obtain a tool that will shear grass as well as hedges. To keep shears in condition, clean it after each operation and keep the edges oiled when not in use. Sap from stems collects on the blades, becomes hard and after a time will throw the “set” off.
When buying garden tools, take the time to do your research. Purchase quality tools like the Felco pruners and you will enjoy them for years.