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Secateurs are probably the most important piece of kit in any gardener’s shed. Fruit growers in particular could not live without secateurs or hand pruners, as these specially designed scissor-style cutting devices allow one to cut through even tough vegetation and stems of considerable thickness. They are therefore necessary whenever accurate cutting needs to be carried out on trees and shrubs for decorative or husbandry purposes, and are normally available in two different styles depending on the job for which they are required.
Anvil-style secateurs, for example, use a partially sharpened blade working against a flat edge to cut with a crushing action, similar to a knife against a cutting board, which is particularly suited to pruning tough, fibrous vegetation or stems of dead wood. Bypass secateurs, on the other hand, feature two blades to produce a scissor-like action which cuts more cleanly. This cleaner cut is both more accurate than the cut produced by an anvil-style pruner and heals more quickly to prevent infection, making bypass secateurs more suitable for use on thinner, living stems and for other lighter cutting work.
Another important consideration is ease of use. Most modern secateurs and hand pruners are ergonomically designed for comfort and convenience, with common features including soft-grip handles, angled blades and a slightly curved shape which fits neatly in the hand (some secateurs are also designed to be used comfortably in either left or right hand, which may make a big difference to the southpaws out there). This makes using your secateurs more comfortable, but more importantly also prevents strain when using them for prolonged periods.
Most important of all, however, is the quality of blade on your secateurs. This is vital as an inferior product will soon lose its sharpness and may damage the plants that you are cutting. The general rule to follow is “the tougher the better”, with blades made from stainless steel or carbon-steel alloys now the norm amongst top quality products, as these materials are corrosion resistant and hold a sharp edge for longer. Some secateurs also feature blades coated with a non-stick substance, which provides a little extra protection against sap and ensures that nothing will slow you down as you work.
These various considerations can make picking a pair of pruners difficult for the uninitiated, so at Lawnmowers Direct we’ve done our best to identify some of the best on the market for your perusal, including products from world-class manufacturers such as Wilkinson Sword, Bosch, Bulldog Tools and Wolf-Garten. Thus, whether you are a casual home gardener or a busy professional horticulturalist, you’re bound to find a tool perfect for you somewhere in our range.