Pruning is a necessary maintenance chore for most trees. It increases yield on flowering and fruiting trees, helps reduce fungal diseases, creates an appealing or useful shape and prevents oversized trees from becoming nuisance plants. There are many sizes and types of blades for trimming trees and shrubs. It is important that any tools be kept clean, oiled and sharp to increase effectiveness in the landscape. The blade portion of pruning equipment is the most crucial part of the tool.
Types of Bladed Pruners
There are two main blades used in pruning: saw or serrated blades and sheer blades. Saw blades are useful for removing thick pieces of material, while straight blades make quick cuts and work best on thinner wood. Sheer blades are easy to sharpen, while the serrated saw blades require professional sharpening tools or just replacement. There are serrated saw pole trimmers, anvil action blades and several others that feature these type of blades, and each tool has a specific use.
Sheer Blade Pruners
Hand pruners are either anvil action or scissor type. They are useful for cutting wood that's 3/4 inch in diameter. Anvil pruners can cut larger twigs than the scissor pruners. The shape of anvil pruners facilitates larger cuts by increasing leverage. Anything up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter can be cut with lopping shears, which have long double blades and are held with two hands. These type of blades are best used on any wood that is easy to reach and smaller than 2 inches in diameter.
Saw Blade Pruners
Tree trimming requires large tools that can sever thick wood cleanly. A pole pruner is one such tool that is useful for tall trees. It can reach up high in the canopy and saw off limbs. Some pole pruners have both a saw blade and a rope-operated scissor blade. Serrated blades are also found on pruning saws. These require some muscle to sever the wood.The alternate teeth on the blade make a slicing motion rather than a closing motion. The blade is characterized by the number of teeth or points. They come in four and a half to eight points.
Uses of Blade Pruners
Hand pruners usually start a tree-trimming project. They are good for removing the dead wood, tip pruning, cutting out suckers and thinning the center smaller twigs. Loppers can remove some of the larger twigs that the hand pruners are not strong enough to cut. Then you graduate to a hand or pole saw for stem reduction and large diameter limbs. Cuts should not require the user to twist the blade. This means a larger tool is required. Cuts should always be 1/4 inch past a bud node and outside the branch collar.
Maintenance of Pruners
Pruner hinges and actionable parts need to be kept oiled with machine oil. They should be cleaned and dried after use to prevent sticking and rust. Sheer blades need to be sharpened and even changed occasionally. When using cutting tools, they should be disinfected before cutting into a tree to prevent the spread of pathogens from plant to plant. Saw blades need to be replaced when the teeth are bent or broken to prevent injury to the tree.