Since pruning is an essential part of a gardener’s work throughout the growing season and beyond, a really good hand pruner is a must. The trick to perfect pruning is choosing the right tool for the job, keeping in mind that quality counts. You’ll find many different types of pruners available in commerce but there are two that stand out for smaller jobs. One is the anvil-style pruner, which includes the ratchet pruner. The other is the bypass pruner.
What are Anvil and Ratchet Pruners?
An anvil-type pruner cuts with one sharpened blade. When you squeeze the pruner handles, the blade slices through wood to press against the anvil on the other jaw of the tool. These types of hand pruners allow for easy and precise cutting of old wood stems. Since the anvil type tends to crush the material that is being cut, it is best used when cleanliness of cut is not as important as removing the branch.
Ratchet pruners are basically the same as anvil pruners but provide more leverage and ease of use with a cutting mechanism that performs in stages. As you squeeze, they latch onto the branch and hold it in place, allowing you to release and squeeze again. These hand pruners work particularly well if you plan on doing lots of pruning, as they don’t put as much strain on your hand and wrist. Hand pruners such as this also better for heavier pruning of thicker branches, usually around ¾ to 1 inch in diameter.
What are Bypass Pruners?
Anvil pruners have one sharpened blade, but bypass pruning shears have two sharpened blades that slice together like scissors, one blade passing the other. They make clean, precision cuts and can get into awkward cutting places that other pruners may not reach, making them one of the most popular hand pruners. Bypass pruners are best for cutting live wood, and particularly suited for cutting shoots down to the nearest bud. They are ideal for taking cuttings. A bypass pruner should always be used when the cuts you are making will affect the health of the plant.
These pruning shears work perfects for small bushes, brambles and perennials. And many of them are ergonomically designed so you make perfect pruning cuts without having to awkwardly bend your hands and wrists.
Nothing is as important as keeping your garden plants pruned and well maintained, but it does help to have a set (or two) of good pruners that can get the job done quickly, easily, and painlessly. Choosing a hand pruner that cuts well and feels comfortable in your hand helps gardeners accomplish these tasks. That’s where pruning tools like ratchet and bypass shears come in handy. Cate’s Garden is a great place to find well-made pruners of both types with ergonomic handles for pain-free pruning.