Which Pruning Shears?
Every gardener needs this basic tool in their box. Pruning shears will make your life so much easier in the garden, and given how cheap they are now it's just not worth trying to use any other tool to do the job.
Types Of Hand Pruners
There three basic types of hand pruners - bypass, anvil and ratchet.
- Bypass Pruners. These are most popular. You get a clean cut from two curved blades that move past each other (hence 'bypass') just like a pair of scissors. One of the blades is sharp and cuts as it moves by a thicker unsharpened blade.
- Anvil Pruners. These have a one straight blade that cuts as it closes onto a flat edge (or 'anvil') - giving an action similar to a knife on a chopping board. They are usually slightly bulkier than bypass pruners which can make them tricky to get into tight areas. You also need to ensure the single blade stays sharp or you also end up crushing as you cut.
- Ratchet Pruners. These are really a type of anvil pruner, but with a clever extra mechanism to make light work of tough cuts. As you squeeze ratcheting pruning shears, they latch so you can release and squeeze again, performing the cut in easy steps rather than one go. Particularly good for those with less strength in their wrist, or for cutting thicker stems that regular shears cannot handle.
For beginners in the garden I would suggest getting bypass pruners first, as these give a very clean cut and are very versatile. These are also best if you want rose pruning shears, as they are less likely to crush the stem as they cut.
The big professional brands of shears are felco pruners and corona pruners. They may be a bit more expensive but will last you for many, many years. You will also be more likely to find spares for them, such as replacement blades, in the big stores.