Some homeowners dread the thought of trimming evergreen and deciduous shrubs. These staples in the landscape require yearly care to maintain full foliage and to control overall growth. Tools to trim shrubs include clippers for close in cutting, as well as stronger pruning shears to cut larger branches. Pruning requires planning to schedule the task at the appropriate time during the growing to realize optimum benefits for the plant. Most flowering shrubs should be trimmed right after blooming to encourage new growth.
Two types of pruning shears exist for use in trimming shrubs. Scissors action shears resemble a pair of household scissors with two flat blades. Blades are 3 to 4 inches long and pointed. Scissors shears should be used on the thinnest branches and for light grooming of branches smaller than 1/4 inch in diameter.
Bypass Pruning Shears
Trimming shrubs often requires the use of a strong pair of hand held shears to reach deep inside a plant. Bypass pruning shears feature two curved blades that resemble a bird's beak. These shears work like scissors with the blades slipping past each other to make a sharp cut to branches smaller than 1/2 inch in width.
The major difference between lopping shears and bypass shears lies in the length of the handle. These two tools share the same shaped blade. Lopping shears have long handles to allow for the increased leverage when pruning wider branches. Lopping shears work well to tackle both thinning and rejuvenation pruning of small and moderately sized shrubs. The curved blades make quick work of shrub branches up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
A pruning saw features wider teeth than a standard saw for trimming branches larger than 1-1/2 inches in width. These sharp bladed saws come in a variety of widths to accommodate thin or thick shrub branches. Saw blades can be quite small with 6-inch blades and have a downward curve to ease cutting. Larger sizes feature blades up to 20 inches in length. Many models have a safety feature allowing the blade to fold into the handle for storage.
Even the tallest shrubs need pruning at some point. Pole pruners allow landscapers to reach the top of the shrub without hauling out a ladder. Picture a 16-inch curved pruning saw attached to a long pole. A sharp hooked blade lies right below the saw blade on the handle to allow for cutting of 1-inch width branches. The user places the branch in the hook and pulls downward on a rope attached to another blade to cut hard to reach branches.
Hedge shears come in quite handy for shearing forms on appropriate hedge and topiary plants. Manual hedge trimmers are hinged with flat blades that cut with a scissors motion. The placement of the blade allows the user to trim flat surfaces for easy shaping of the hedge. Blades come in a variety of lengths for both large and small hedging tasks. Models also include a long-handled version to increase leverage when trimming large shrubs.