Choosing the Right Pruner for the Job

by Marty Ross

Pruning and trimming projects are easier when you have the right tool, or when you use a versatile tool that can tackle more than one task. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best tool for the job.

Choosing the Right Pruner for the Job

The best time to prune is often debated, but it is tempting to take care of pruning tasks whenever you have a sharp pruning tool in your hand. When you work with quality tools, you'll make clean cuts that will not injure your plants.

Whether you are cutting back perennial plants or pruning fruit trees, shrubs, or hedges, it is important to follow a few basic guidelines. Pruning is great for keeping tall plants within bounds, encouraging branching and more blooms as well as tightening up plants that get lanky during the growing season.

Three tools that every gardener should own are hand pruners, hedge shears and a pair of loppers.

Pruners: Fiskars PowerGear2™ pruners are great for pruning shoots on fruit trees, keeping perennial flowers neatly trimmed and for pruning long, wayward branches out of shrubs. As you work, the pruners' comfortable rotating handle follows the natural motion of your hand to help reduce fatigue. This pruner is designed to cut branches and stems up to ¾" in diameter.

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Pruners can be also used to help open up dense shrubs. Removing a few small branches with your pruner will allow more light and air into the center of the plants. Pruners are also great for deadheading, which will make blooming plants look tidy.

Hedge shears: Even if you don't have a hedge, these shears are a great tool to have in your collection. The PowerGear2™ hedge shears have long, 10" blades that make sharp, clean cuts all the way to the tip of the blade. The blades are coated to reduce friction without compromising the sharp edge. In spring, use hedge shears to quickly cut last year's stems from asters, chrysanthemums and other perennials. You can also trim ornamental grasses to 4" to 6" high just before new growth begins.

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Of course, if you have a hedge, the hedge shears are the tool you will want to use to shape them. PowerGear2™ hedge shears are designed to give you better leverage than other gardening shears in order to cut more easily. You can even prune shrub roses with hedge shears. The shrub roses will recover and come back into even denser bloom in no time.

Loppers: Don't force your hand pruners to try to cut branches that are too big for them. A sharp pair of loppers easily trims larger branches in one smooth cut as well as extending your reach. Loppers are useful for just about any pruning job that requires cutting through a thicker branch.

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PowerGear2™ loppers are ideal for pruning fruit trees and other small trees and shrubs. The 18" loppers are light but powerful and will cut through branches up to 1½" in diameter. In just a few minutes, you can limb up small trees, remove old stems and take out tall stems that look out of proportion.

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Loppers also help extend your reach. PowerGear2™ loppers are available in three sizes: 18", 25" and 32" long. The largest loppers are able to cut branches up to 2" in diameter.

No matter which tool you use, take your time when pruning. Remember to step back after a few cuts to study the shape and structure of your plants. With sharp tools in your hand, you're in charge of your garden's good looks.

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