Gardeners tend to have a wide variety of jobs that they need to do in the garden. These jobs often follow the seasons and also follow the life cycle of the plants. As plants often follow different life cycles to their neighbours, the gardener's jobs usually overlap and can be carried out on different plants and different areas at different times of the year. One of those jobs is pruning.
Most plants respond well to some cutting back and to verying degrees. It could be that the gardener wishes to tidy up an unkempt rambling rose bush, train an ornamental shrub to grow bushier, induce a flowering shrub produce more flowers or a fruiting tree to produce more fruit.
Either way, a good prune is an essential job that is carried out often in the garden and at several different times of the year, depending upon where each particlular plant is in its life cycle.
Garden Pruners: Types and Their Uses
There are several different types of these gardening tools that are used by gardeners for pruning a variety of different plants. We'll look at the main types and expand upon their uses and why they are the way they are.
Of the many different types of pruning tools that often have specialized jobs in the garden, there are actually two basic forms of hand pruning tools (or secateurs as they are correctly known). These are:
These are probably the more popular style of cutting shears, where the blades slide past each other (or bypass each other), in a similar manner to scissors, in order to make the cut.
The Anvil pruner is a little different in that there is one very sharp cutting blade which closes down on a flat blade and makes the cut, in a similar manner to a tiny guillotine.
Both forms have their preferred jobs to perform and these will be described in more detail later.
Using these two forms of cutting actions, garden maintenance tools are subdivided into several specialized tools for the gardener ot make the various tidying upjobs in the garden more easy to accomplish. These are described below.
Specialized Garden Pruners
Each sub category of garden pruner has an associated job that it is best suited for and can be best described under the following headings.
These are ideal for those with limited strength in their hands or for the cutting of very tough woody stems that would otherwise be difficult with regular hand devices. These work on the principle of a continually closing ratchet that is operated by making several consecutive squeezes of the handles to slowly close the blades, thereby making the cut with little squeezing effort.
These pole based tools, otherwise called tree pruners, are telescopic cutters that are ideal for cutting branches from taller shrubs and trees while standing firmly on the ground. They are operated using a cord (or lever system) that closes the blades that are mounted at the end of a long pole.
Long Handled Pruners
These are larger versions of hand cutters and are useful for cutting thicker or tougher woody stems. Long handled versions of these shears enable the gardener to get more leverage with the long handles to make tougher stem cutting much more easy than it would be with regular hand pruning shears.
These are better known as hand hedge trimmers. They have longer handles than regular pruning shears and also much longer blades for cutting larger expanses of foliage and stems with a single cut. They are perfect for trimmimg hedges and for shaping larger shrubs and topiaries.
There is a further category of garden pruning tool that needs to be covered here, which are designed for making light work of pruning plants. These are the powered pruning devices and come in two basic types. Those that are powered by electricity and those that are powered by compressed gas.
Electric pruning tools can be either corded, where they have to be plugged into an electric outlet, or cordless where they run off a rechargeable battery.
Corded electric powered secateurs are generally only used by professional gardeners and landscapers as they are often heavy duty and not popular with private gardeners.
Cordless electric secateurs on the other hand are favoured by gardeners with limited strength in their hands, such as the elderly, those with disabilities or those suffering from medical conditions such as arthritis. They are very easy to use and are relatively light (depending upon the battery size) and portable.
They are operated with a switch whereby the gardener places the pruner's blades around the stem to be pruned, and simply pressing the switch which causes the blades to snap shut, cutting the stem.
Gas powered pruning shears operate using compressed gas, such as propane to force the blades closed at the flip of a switch. This makes them as easy to use as the electric powered version without the need for a weighty rechargeable battery, making them lighter and more portable. These clever tools have a small refillable gas cylinder which is refilled from a larger gas bottle as necessary.
Additional reading matter can be found on this very subject in an article here, entitled: Garden Pruners That Make Life Easy