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Invest in Quality Pruning Tools

Maureen Sexsmith-West ISA Certified Arborist, PR4600A

Don’t scrimp when it comes to your tools. Investing in well made pruning tools can make the task of trimming your trees and shrubs a breeze for years. If well maintained, they can last you a life time. A bargain pair at the wholesale outlet might make it through one year. If you have to buy new tools every year, you are likely to end up spending more money in the long run. Keeping them rust free and all hinges or moving parts oiled ensure you get a clean cut every time. Crud cutter is good to keep sap from gumming them up. A mister with bleach keeps them sterilized. I keep a handy little sharpener in my tool kit for spot sharpening on the job and leave bigger tasks for the shop. Have them professionally sharpened at the beginning of the season.

Size matters. It is important to match the tool to the twig. Over extending can cause twisting and bending of the blade. This ensures a nice clean cut. For smaller twigs (up to about 1/2 inch) use a pair of secateurs (or hand pruners). By-pass work best since anvil cutters can crush the twig. I have used Felco pruners with great success. They have a fine tip which allows you to get close to the branch collar and into tighter spaces. Despite frequent use, they have lasted 12 years. The only thing required was to replace the blade when sharpening was no longer an option.

They offer a wide range of styles in a variety of handle grips so find one that feels comfortable in your hand. They also have holsters so can have them handy as you move around the yard. They are easy to lose track of when set down among your trimmings.


Loppers are designed in a wide range of handle lengths and cutting capacity. I have a pair of vine loppers with a 16 inch handle that are ideal for tight spaces. The 30 inch handle pair has a 1 1/2 inch capacity. They come with either wooden or metal handles. For years we have used Corona products. They are well made, durable and parts are readily available when needed.

A basic pruning saw will get most of the rest a typical DIY residential pruner needs. Anything over 3 inches are best left for a chainsaw operator. The best method for removal of larger branches is a three-cut technique. You can do it, but it can be pretty exhausting work since you have three times the number of cuts to make with your hand saw. With Christmas coming fast – consider one of these great items for the gardener in your life.


Pocket Sharpeners make a great stocking stuffer that be used for scissors, etc. in addition to your outdoor tools. Look for these quality tools at your local professional garden centre, arborist supply store. This gives you the ability to try the tool in your hand vs on-line buying.

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