How to buy and maintain your pruning tools

Well-maintained pruning tools are essential and keeping your tools in shape may be easier than you think. Here are the tools you need to create a beautiful landscape, and how to maintain them so they last for years.

How to buy and maintain your pruning tools

4 pruning and trimming tools you need

Pruning and trimming trees and shrubs keeps plants healthy and looking their best. Here are the basic tools you need for the job.

  1. Hedge shears: Resembling oversized scissors, these will snip many small branches at once. Buy shears that feel good in your hands and work easily.
  2. Loppers: For stems up to 2.5 to five centimetres (one to two inches) thick, use loppers, or long-handled shears. The scissor-type loppers make the cleanest, easiest cuts. They are preferable to the blade-and-anvil type, which require more strength to use and also crush as they cut, leaving a ragged wound.
  3. Pruning shears: Lop off fading flower blossoms with lightweight deadheading shears. For trimming smaller woody branches, use heavy-duty pruning shears.
  4. Pruning: Use these for larger stems and branches. Look for a saw that cuts on both the push and the pull for fastest, easiest cutting. The bow type is the most common. A curved blade is easier to use than a straight one.

Easy ways to maintain your gardening tools

Follow these simple instructions and your gardening tools — and subsequently, your plants — will be in tip-top shape for years!

  • Clean tools regularly: Brush or scrape off dirt and debris after each use, and store them out of the weather.
  • Keep metal parts lubricated: Keep metal parts lubricated by rubbing or spraying them with household oil or penetrating oil. An easy way to clean tools is to fill a bucket with sand, and mix in some automotive or lawn mower oil (leftover oil from your car's last oil change is ideal). After scraping off excess dirt, plunge a tool into the bucket of sand several times. It will emerge clean and well oiled.
  • Sharpen tools: Take your tools to a professional sharpener once a year, or sharpen them yourself.
  • Keep tools in good repair: For example, you should tighten the bolts on wheelbarrows periodically and check the air in the tires. Mend or replace splintered wooden handles on rakes and hoes. Patch leaking hoses. If rust develops on metal parts of a tool, remove it with a wire brush and apply a coat of naval jelly.

The best pruning tools are generally more expensive, but maintaining good-quality tools will last you longer. Consider these tips when purchasing your tools to get exactly what you need, and keep them in excellent shape to create a beautiful landscape in no time!

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