I have a variety of pruning tools that I use for deadheading flowers, trimming bushes, and snipping off unwieldy small tree branches. Sometimes I wonder why I need all these different devices, but it’s important to have the right one so you make clean cuts and not injure the plants.
Amanda Weibel is a senior communications specialist with Fiskars. She says people try to cut too many things with one tool. The correct tool for the job depends on the size of what you’re cutting.
"You would use a snips on very small, light delicate growth. Think of a flower stem, or a light branch," says Weibel. "Moving into something a little bit heavier, you’ll want to step up from a snips to a pruner. Pruners can generally cut through a small branch up to about ¾”."
Snips and pruners fit in the palm of your hand. Tools with long handles give you extra leverage, extend your reach, and have a beefier cut.
"If you’re cutting really small growth like a hedge, you’ll want to use a hedge shears, a two-handled tool with a little bit longer handles. But if you’re getting into something bigger than when you would use a hand pruner, so from ¾” up to about 2”, you’ll want to use a lopper," says Weibel. "Loppers come in multiple styles and sizes, so look at the capacity that that lopper is designed to handle. But the bigger sizes can cut generally up to about a 2” branch."
When a small branch is up high and you can’t reach it, Weibel says a tree pruner allows you to make a cut while keeping both feet on the ground. They generally extend from 6'-12', and the blade is manually operated by pulling a rope.
More on choosing the right pruning tools
Use the tools correctly with the proper pruning techniques
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