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Choosing Between Loppers and Hand Pruners

Pruning can be hard work, but you can make this gardening task easier and quicker by using the right tools. The right tool can not only save you time and energy but can also help ensure that your plants remain healthy and strong—free of any damage that might be caused by improper pruning. Two commonly used gardening tools for pruning are hand pruners and loppers. So how do you know which one to use?

bypass hand pruners

The width of the branches you plan to trim will determine whether you should use hand pruners or loppers. Using the wrong one can result in damage to both the tool and the plant.

Pruners are one-handed tools used for smaller branches and stems around half an inch or less in width.
Loppers are two-handed tools that are used for medium-size branches and stems that are too big for hand pruners but are thinner than 1 to 1.5 inches. (For larger branches/stems use a pruning saw.)

In addition to selecting the right type of pruning tool, it is important to know whether to use a pair of anvil pruners or loppers or bypass pruners or loppers.

Bypass pruners or loppers are the most common; these blades are best for cutting through live material. The upper blade passes the lower in a scissors-like motion, creating a clean slice. Make sure to keep the blades razor-sharp.
 Anvil pruners or loppers have a straight blade that slices to—rather than past, the lower, non-moving base—making contact to the base once the branch/stem has been cut, basically smashing it. This blade isn’t as clean or precise as the bypass and is preferably used for cutting dry and/or dead branches/stems.

Tools We Love is a great downloadable guide to help you shop for tools, and use them, with confidence.

Prune through live material in ease with a sturdy pair of Premier Bypass Pruners.

The Pruning Answer Book has all the answers to your pruning questions.

Download the Garden How-To University: Honing Your Essential Skills for the correct ways to preform necessary garden chores.

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