How to Use Hand Pruners

How to Use Hand Pruners (Secateurs)

If you have thin wood pieces or stems of perennials to cut, the perfect instrument to use is a pair of pruners. Usually, pruners can cut wood not thicker than half an inch. Luckily, the tools don’t require any extraordinary skills to use.

Note that you may have to put your pruners to use very often if what you have are shrubs and perennials instead of a lawn.

If this is the case, you must take time out to find out how you can make the whole task easier for you and healthier for your plant. Here’s how to use the tool.

The Two Types of Pruners

Pruners come in two types. The first is called bypass pruners while the second is anvil pruners. Bypass pruners are the best but let’s see what both of them can do.

Bypass pruners: These are the most popular pruners kind. They possess a one-edged blade that cuts past a solid base as it closes.

Anvil pruners: On the other hand, anvil pruners have a blade that cuts to the middle of the thick lower base. The blade reaches the base at the end of the cut.

What Makes Bypass Pruners Better?

Hand pruners are not supposed to be powerful but should be able to make precise cuts. Bypass pruners are well known for this. They are accurate and make clean cuts.

Bypass Pruners Better

However, anvil pruners exert a lot of force which causes the tool to crush plants. This is not healthy for your plant and is very obvious, especially when the pruners are blunt.

So, better to go with bypass pruners than the more forceful anvil-style ones.

General Technique for Pruning Using Hand Pruners

The Cut Location: To make an accurate cut using hand pruners, position the blade such that it lines up with the cutting site.

Do not forget that the blade goes to the side of its thick base and as such, the particular area that the blade comes through moves about a 1/4″ when you turn the tool.

You will usually feel that your instrument should be upside down whenever you’re slicing near the main stem.

Choose the Correct Angle: The angle from which to cut a plant that has opposite-branching is above the node and straight across the stem.

For plants with alternate- branching you might want to slice through on an angle that is slanting away from the sole bud that is at the node, though you can slice directly across.

The sloping cut, however, helps to remove rainwater from the bud such that it doesn’t remain on the stem and cause decay.

Get the wood deep into the pruners: When cutting makes sure to open up your pruners entirely so that the branch can go into it.

While you may be tempted to cut bit by bit avoid it as this will not only blunt your pruners but also get you tired quickly. Place your wood rightly and make your cut in a single fluid movement.

Other Tips and Cautions for Using Pruners

Work comfortably: When it comes to using pruners, a lot of muscle work and power are required especially from your hands.

All these muscle work can cause your hands to get sore unless you prevent them from doing so somehow. So, the number one way to avoid soreness or at least minimize it is to cut using the deepest part of the blade.

This gives your hand and the full branch leverage. Also, you will want to avoid handling the pruner with your fingertips.

Use the base of your fingers and the balls of your hand instead. If you notice that the wood is too thick for your pruners to handle don’t stress it. Switch to loopers, or a pruning saw (read product reviews).

Carry Your Pruners in a belt Holster: Professional gardeners carry their pruners in a belt holster. This allows them to have easy access to the tool. You too can do the same.

Just make sure the holster is the right size for your pruners and has an opening at its base. Instead of your pruners collecting dirt, the hole will serve as the exit point for debris, wood chips and dust.

Don’t cut wires: We all face the temptation of using our pruners to cut wires at one point or the other. However, this is a bad habit and should never be done.

Cutting wire with your pruners, of course, takes its toll on the tool, leaving it with a permanent indentation which in turn makes it much harder to use next time.

Maintain Your Pruners: The tool should always be sharp and clean. Why sentence yourself to the hardship of cutting with blunt instruments when you can easily sharpen them? Like every other tool, pruners perform best when well maintained.

Now that you know what it’s like to use hand pruners effectively go ahead and give it a try. Is using it as easy as it appears? Find out.