When it comes to landscaping and gardening, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of tools that you could use. From specialized garden hose nozzles to unique shovels for every job imaginable, learning about each one and their uses could be a gargantuan task.
An example of tools that are commonly used in the garden, but many people aren’t familiar with their name is secateurs. Have you ever heard of this tool before? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably used them!
The question now is "What are secateurs?" Here’s a hint: they’re a specific type of pruning shears! So, let’s learn more about secateurs and just how useful they can be in your yard.
What Are Secateurs?
As we mentioned, it’s possible that you’ve never heard the word secateurs before, but you've actually used them. That’s probably because this gardening tool is more often referred to by its other two names which are pruning shears or hand pruners. All these names are accurate ways to describe secateurs, and some names are more common in various areas than others.
If you don’t have any experience with the tool by any of these names, here’s what you need to know. Secateurs are small, easy-to-use, and handheld pruning devices that use a pressure mechanism to make small cuts and trims.
Generally speaking, secateurs are used any time you want to prune small stems or branches around the yard. These stems are typically too big for scissors but not so thick that you would need something more heavy duty.
Apart from that, there are other different ways people can use secateurs inside their gardens or yards:
- Trimming back bushes
- Maintaining unruly vegetable plants
- Shaping flower beds
- Cutting back weeds
- Trimming grass in hard-to-reach areas
Remember that there are no official rules about how you can and cannot use your tools. If there’s a job that you think your secateurs could handle, then it is time to give it a try.
How to Choose Secateurs
Types of Secateurs
Pruning shears come in many different styles, but all these styles typically use one of two mechanisms to get the necessary force for cutting.
Think of anvil blade secateurs as tiny, chopping blocks wherein there is a sharpened blade on one side and a flat, metal block on the other side. When you squeeze the secateurs, the blade chops down onto the block much like you will strike a tool onto a full-sized anvil. This type of cutting mechanism creates precise cuts and is especially good for cutting wood or dead wood.
If you need to cut ripe stems or semi-ripe stems, most people would agree that the anvil blades do not cut through this type of growth clean enough, and you might prefer to try the bypass shears instead. That is because the cut isn’t immaculate, which means the striking style of anvil secateurs destroys some of the stem on both sides and not just one side of the cut area.
Bypass blades are sort of like a large pair of scissors. Both blades on these secateurs are sharpened, making them a very versatile tool. They can cut in small spaces and at different angles.
Bypass pruning shears are often used for cutting back shoots, trimming large plants, and taking cuttings from a flower garden. This type of blade makes very smooth cuts because of the angled blades, so you will not damage the part of the plant that you are leaving behind.
Bypass secateurs are probably the most commonly used type of handheld pruners, and most gardeners wouldn’t be caught in the garden without them.
Size and Handedness
The final thing that you should consider when you are thinking about purchasing your own pair of secateurs is that they come in various sizes as well as various handedness.
For sizing, you want to make sure that you choose a pair of pruning shears that will not be too big for your hands. If you use a pair that is too big, you will be causing unnecessary strain on your hands.
Additionally, check that you can easily latch and unlatch the safety catch. If you cannot do this easily, then you are probably using the wrong size of handheld pruners.
For handedness, make sure that you invest in a pair made for left or right-handed use according to which hand is dominant for you. While some pairs of secateurs are marketed as being fit for both hands, you will notice considerable ease when using the correct pair, similar to how easier it is to use the right kind of scissors.
Now that you know the answer to the basic question, “What are secateurs?” you may have even realized that you have a pair at home already. Whether your pruning shears are anvil or bypass, left or right-handed, you’ll never run out of ways to use them in your garden.
With the best tools at hand, gardening will become easier than ever. So, what are you waiting for? Head out into your yard with your secateurs today!