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Having the right tool for the job is the first step to successful pruning. Here is a brief list of pruning tools to help you choose the best cutter for the task.
Hand pruners or shears are used to cut stems and branches up to ½ inch in diameter. There are two common types of hand pruners: Bypass Action and Anvil Action.
Bypass action is similar to a pair of scissors. A thin sharp blade passes by (thus the name) a thicker sharp blade. Experts recommend using bypass on green wood because it provides a cleaner, closer cut.
Anvil pruners use a sharp blade that cuts onto a broader, flat blade. Its splitting action makes it great for cutting dry branches and stems.
• Ratcheting action pruners – the type that feature gear-driven cutting action is easier on your arm and hand muscles. Look for ratcheting action hand pruners, loppers and pole pruners too.
• The latest innovation in hand pruners is a rotating handle feature. The handle curves your fingers toward your palm as it cuts, reducing hand fatigue.
• Pick a hand pruner that fits your hand comfortably. You shouldn’t feel like you’re stretching your hand to either open or close the pruner.
• If you’re left handed look for a product designed to fit your left hand.
• Look for pruners that have a small oil reservoir, so you won’t need to oil them after every use.
Lopping Shears or Loppers
Loppers are pruners with long handles that provide extra reach. You use both hands to operate the loppers, which provides more leverage for cutting branches up to about 2 inches in diameter. Loppers are great for trimming trees and bushes and typically feature one sharp blade for cutting and one flat or curved blade to hold the branch in place.
Pole Pruners are made to reach smaller, out-of-the-way tree limbs. The cutting mechanism is similar to a loppers, usually with a hooked or flat blade that holds the branch and a cutting blade to do the trimming. The blades are operated by pulling on a rope. The pole itself is typically either telescoping or in several sections that fit together, allowing you to set the exact length.
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• Debris can be tricky to control when you’re using a pole pruner. Make sure you’re not standing directly under any tree or bush you are trimming and remember to wear eye protection.
If a branch can’t be trimmed with a hand pruner, it’s time to bring out the pruning saw. Pruning saws are great for branches up to about 4 inches in diameter. (For anything larger and you may want to use a tree saw.) A typical pruning saw features a straight or curved blade and will cut on the pull stroke (as you pull back.) The teeth of the saw are set wider apart to keep it from getting caught while plowing through the wood. Look for pruning saws with folding blades that protect the teeth and make them easy to carry around.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com
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