Dull pruners can cause aching hands and wrists, and can make ragged cuts on your plants that take longer to heal and invite pests or disease. Improperly cared-for pruners may rust, and depending on the model may be expensive to replace. Replacing even cheaper models can add up over time. You can save your hands, your plants and your pocketbook by taking a few extra minutes for bypass pruner maintenance.
Clean your bypass pruner blade with a stiff-bristled brush dipped in soapy water. Scrub to remove dirt, debris and rust.
Remove pitch or sap from the blade by dipping it in kerosene.
Allow the blade to dry, then use a soft cloth to apply a thin coat of motor oil.
Use your permanent marker to color the bevel of the pruner blade.
Place your sharpening file against the blade at the same angle as the bevel.
Push the file along the blade away from yourself from the base of the blade to the tip. Use short strokes; as the file sharpens the blade, it will remove the permanent marker from the bevel.
Use the colored area to maintain the correct angle with your file. If only a small line of the marker disappears, adjust the angle of the file.
Check the blade's sharpness with a finger once all of the marked area has become shiny. Repeat the process if more sharpening is needed.
Remove filings from the opposite side of the blade with your file.
Give your sharpened bypass pruners a liberal coat of oil after sharpening to help prevent rust. Wipe off the excess oil with a soft cloth.