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Cutting & pruning garden hand tools buying guide

From loppers to edgers, your pruning kit explained

Pruning is an essential garden task that keeps plants healthy and tidy. It covers everything from deadheading old flowers to chopping branches. It removes any dead or diseased growth, shapes the plant and limits its size. Pruning also encourages the production of buds to make flowers and fruit.

Your garden relies on this regular pruning to maintain its healthy balance. You can even prune to create new plants by taking cuttings from established trees or bushes.

 

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Before you begin

What plants are you cutting?

Understanding what you’ll be cutting will help you choose the most suitable tool. Are you going to be pruning flowers and shrubs? Removing branches from established trees? Or trimming and shaping hedges? It can be helpful to think of the scale of these pruning tasks. From small, light jobs, such as taking cuttings from young plants with easy-to-cut shoots, through to bigger ones, like sawing large branches from trees.

What height are you cutting at?

The height at which you cut doesn't have to be the height of the plant being cut. We offer tools with long handles to help you comfortably take on tall tasks (such as cutting high tree branches) or ones closer to the ground. These long handles are also useful for areas that are trickier for you to reach.

For plants that are more easily accessible, or if you’re looking to prune, trim or shape pot plants, look for hand-held options. And whether reaching up high or getting down low, it's always worth thinking about what your preferred height will be during your cutting job.

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Flowers, small branches & hedges

Tools include: garden scissors, secateurs, garden knives, brush hooks, hedge shears and loppers.

Garden scissors

*Use to dead head and trim flowers*

Garden scissors enable you to make delicate and precise snips to flower stems. This can be especially useful for indoor flower arranging.

Our garden scissors are available with:

  • Stainless steel blades with serrated edges for extra control
  • Ergonomic loop handles for comfortable movement.
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Secateurs

*Use to cut woody stems and soft shoots*

Secateurs are also known as pruners, hand pruners and pruning shears and are offered in two types. Choose from:

  • Bypass secateurs (pictured) - these are designed like scissors with two cutting blades – one thin, one thick. They cause minimal damage to the stem, and so are best suited to cutting live plants and lighter tasks (such as cutting flowers). The thin tip helps to get the blades into tight spots.
  • Anvil secateurs – designed with one sharp blade that cuts against a blunt, flat surface. This type is best for dead plants or thicker, woodier stems (such as small branches) as the action gives you more leverage.

Our secateurs are available with:

  • Stainless steel or corrosion-resistant carbon steel blades. Stainless steel rusts less easily and is more attractive. Look for ones with a non-stick coating to reduce friction and make cutting and cleaning easier.
  • A range of ergonomic handle features, including soft grip, adjustable and ultra lightweight
  • Moulded cushion grips
  • A geared mechanism to provide extra power when pruning.
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Brush hooks

*Use to cut small branches, strip bark and clear weeds*

Our brush hook is available with:

  • A carbon steel blade with a hooked end
  • A lightweight ergonomic handle for comfortable cutting.
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Hedge shears

*Use to trim and shape hedges, cut long grass, deadhead large flowering plants and cut back leafy perennials (plants that return year after year)*

Our hedge shears are available with:

  • Corrosion-resistant carbon steel blades. Look for ones with a non-stick coating to reduce friction and make cutting and cleaning easier.
  • Ergonomic handles for comfortable cutting
  • Adjustable fittings (telescopic), so you can increase the length to reach higher bushes
  • A geared mechanism to provide extra power when pruning.
  • For larger jobs (such as long hedges), consider investing in a powered hedge trimmer. Head to our Hedge trimmer buying guide to learn more about your options.

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Loppers

*Use to cut through woody stems or tough branches higher up the plant or tree*

Loppers (also known as long-handled pruners) boast long handles so you can extend your reach without having to stretch too far. Like hedge shears, they feature telescopic handles so are fully adjustable. And like secateurs, are available in two designs - bypass and anvil (pictured).

Our loppers are available with:

  • Carbon steel blades. Look for ones with a non-stick coating to reduce friction and make cutting and cleaning easier.
  • A range of ergonomic handle features, including soft grip and ultra lightweight
  • Adjustable fittings (telescopic), so you can increase the length to reach higher bushes
  • A geared mechanism to provide extra power when pruning.
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Thick branches & trees

Tools include: tree loppers, pruning saws, bow saws and axes.

Tree loppers

*Use to prune high, difficult to reach branches on taller trees*

Tree loppers (also known as tree pruners) feature a long pole with a rope running along the length of it. This rope connects the handle at one end with the blades at the other, allowing you to safely control the blades at distance.

Our tree loppers are available with:

  • Stainless steel or corrosion-resistant carbon steel blades
  • Non-slip, cushioned grips
  • Fixed or adjustable fittings (telescopic), so you can increase the length to reach up to 6metres(m) high
  • A non-stick, steel branch saw with anti-rust coating on the blade
  • An adjustable head with cutting angles up to 230 degrees
  • A geared mechanism to provide extra power when cutting.
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Pruning saws

*Use to cut coarse woody branches or stems*

When a branch or stem is too thick to cut with secateurs or a lopper, a pruning saw is what you need. Designed with a variable-toothed blade, this allows for cutting on the pull and push stroke for faster sawing.

Our pruning saws are available with:

  • Hardened steel blades for extra strength. Look for ones with a low-friction coating to make cutting and cleaning easier.
  • Ergonomic handles for comfortable cutting
  • Fixed or folding designs. The folding option offers safer storage
  • Variable tooth blades for faster sawing action.
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Bow saws

*Use to cut thick hardwood branches*

For branches that are too big for a pruning saw, the larger bow saw is a more effective cutting tool. More of a versatile home saw than just one for gardening, bow saws are used where heavy pruning work is necessary in less confined areas.

Our bow saws are available with:

  • Replaceable, hardened steel blades for extra strength. Look for ones with anti-rust coating to prolong the life of your saw.
  • Non-slip grip.

For bigger tasks, consider a chainsaw. Head to our buying guide to find out more about this helpful power tool.

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Axes

*Use to cut the thickest branches, logs and small trees*

When selecting an axe, look for one that suits your job and is comfortable to use (not too long or too heavy). Choose from the following axes.

  • Hatchet – short-handled axe which is used to make kindling and firewood for campfires or outdoor heating.
  • Universal axe – these are offered in two sizes – small and standard. The small option is ideal for carpentry and small wood work, while the larger one is best suited to splitting medium-sized logs.
  • Splitting axe – long-handled axe perfect for splitting large logs.
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You might need

Once you’ve chosen your pruning tools, pick up a few further essentials to get the job done.

Cutting accessories

Get the best out of your cutting tool, time after time. To do so, you might need:

  • A sharpener to keep axes and other tools sharp.
  • A splitting wedge. Insert into a crack in a log and strike it with the axe for accurate cutting.
  • New blades for your bow saw. Our bow saws come with removable blades so it’s easy to switch out the old one and replace with a new one.
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Protective gear

As with all tasks that require sharp tools, cutting and pruning plants in your garden carries some risk. Wearing gloves will ensure that you keep a good grip on your tools as well as protecting them from anything that could cut them. Choose those with leather as they’re thicker and offer more protection.

It’s also essential to protect your eyes from any splinters or debris by wearing safety goggles. And depending on the height of what you’re cutting, as well as how heavy the branches are, you may want to invest in a safety helmet.

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Equipment for clearing up

Once you’ve completed your pruning, you’ll want to get rid of all the debris. Here are our top picks to help with the post-pruning clear up.

  • Composter - A lot of the leaf litter can be put straight into a composter. We composters to suit the size of your garden and to ease the turning process.
  • Garden shredder - Bigger branches with woodier stems may need cutting into smaller pieces before composting. To help with this, consider a garden shredder. They can also create mulch to be used on your beds and borders.
  • Wheelbarrow – This garden staple makes easy work of transporting the cuttings for disposal - especially in larger gardens. Our selection offers different sizes to suit your needs and they all come with easy grip handles for comfortable use.
  • Garden sack – Great for clearing up after smaller jobs or in small spaces.
  • Garden broom – Choose from soft brooms for sweeping dry, fine debris, stiff brooms for heavier litter like leaves and combination brooms which are both soft and stiff for wet conditions.
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