Not just beneficial for making your plants look perfect, pruning is essential for good plant health and growth. It’s not always obvious what you should use for each task, so in this blog, we’re going to cover the best tools for pruning – from small dead-heading to large brand chopping, let’s dive in.
Also known as secateurs, hand pruners are the go-to tool for most pruning jobs. They are small and easy to handle, making them great for reaching into tight spaces or working on delicate plants. There are two main types of hand pruners: bypass pruners and anvil pruners. Bypass pruners have a curved blade that passes by a flat anvil blade, similar to a pair of scissors. They are best for cutting living plants, as they create a clean, precise cut. Anvil pruners have a single, straight blade that comes down onto a flat anvil. They are better for cutting dead or woody stems but can crush or damage living plants which in turn can cause disease. Whichever one you choose, always keep them sharp by following our handy tips on our how to sharpen secateurs blog.
Loppers, fun word to say, fun tool to use! Loppers are larger versions of hand pruners that are designed for cutting thicker branches. They have long handles, which give you more leverage and make it easier to cut through tougher wood. Like hand pruners, there are two main types of loppers: bypass loppers and anvil loppers. Bypass loppers are generally considered more precise and suitable for cutting living plants such as reaching into your Dhalia path to trim. Similar to secateurs, anvil loppers are best for those tough and thick branches, useful for trimming things like conifers and hardy rose stems (or in Wonky HQ garden, pesky brambles!).
If you have a hedge in your garden, then a hedge trimmer is a must-have tool. We spent many a year at Wonky HQ trimming hedges with a pair of sheers and while you can certainly be precise, you also feel like you’ve done a workout after a quick hedge trim. Electric hedge trimmers (or fuel-based ones) are your best friend if you have a large hedge and come in a variety of different sizes, some with extendable arms so that you can reach those higher parts of a hedge.
For branches that are too thick for hand pruners or loppers, a pruning saw is the way to go. Pruning saws have a sharp, curved blade that is great for cutting through wood, and they come in both manual and electric versions. Manual pruning saws are lightweight and easy to use, but they can be tiring to use for long periods of time. Electric pruning saws are more powerful, but they can be heavy and require an electrical outlet to use unless you’re lucky enough to have a battery-powered one.
Pruning saws can also come as extendable versions or with a handle that can be swapped out to make it extendable. These varieties are fantastic when, like us, you have a few trees in the garden and need to do some pruning – vital for fruit trees if you want to keep a solid annual crop of fruit.
One of the best tools for pruning house plants and herbs around our garden, these small scissors have become more popular with the rise in bonsai ownership – but are useful for all houseplants. Whether it’s trimming off some dead leaves, dead-heading, or just shaping your thyme plant so that it has a great appearance on your windowsill – these are perfect to keep in the pocket of your favourite gardening work trousers for these quick snips.
In conclusion, the best gardening tools for pruning depend on the type of chopping you need to do. For small-scale jobs, pruning scissors or pruning shears are usually sufficient. For larger, thicker branches, loppers or pruning saws may be necessary. And if you have a hedge in your garden, a hedge trimmer is a must-have tool – especially an electric or fuel-powered one. No matter which tools you choose, it’s important to keep them sharp and well-maintained to ensure the best results – so ensure you have some oil in your shed and potentially a spare knife sharpening stone.