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There are many different types of pruning tools on the market. Choosing the right tool for the job will make the task of pruning faster and easier whether it's removing a limb from a tree or pruning back your roses.
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Hand pruners are the most commonly used pruning tools so invest in a high quality pair. The scissor-type pruners (top pruners) are preferred over anvil pruners (bottom pruners.) Use them for pruning limbs or canes up to about 3/4" in diameter. Keep them sharp and clean. Never use your pruning shears to cut wire or other non-wood materials!
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Long-handled loppers are used for removing limbs " to about 1 1/2" in diameter. The longer the handles, the more leverage you have. Try to find a pair with handles that are at least 24" long.
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Pruning saws are necessary for trimming larger limbs. Pocket pruning saws are handy and useful for limbs up to a few inches in diameter.
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A bow saw is used for cutting larger limbs and small trees
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Hedge shears are used to trim or shape shrubs. Try to find a pair that has one straight blade and one serrated blade.
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A sharp knife is an indispensable pruning tool. Use it for air layering, making cuttings, and grafting. Also, when you remove a limb from a tree it's often necessary to clean up the wound with a pruning knife. Special pruning knives with curved blades are especially designed for this purpose. Keep blades sharp and clean.