If you had to choose a single gardening tool to use for the next year, what would you choose? Would you want a shovel, or would you want secateurs to keep everything neat and tidy?
You may ask, "What are secateurs used for?" These handheld pruning shears are most often used to make cuts around the yard, but there are a lot of different ways that this tool can be used. As a jack-of-all-trades type of tool, secateurs can keep your yard in order easier than you can imagine. Let’s look at what secateurs really are and what they are used for.
The Basics of Secateurs
Secateurs are a type of pruning shears that are also known as hand-held pruning shears, or they may be referred to by their more specific types.
Secateurs are used in different ways in the garden, and that is why they are so popular. This one tool can handle dozens of various tasks in the garden, so you can be sure that you will get good use out of them.
Generally speaking, secateurs can be used to clean, cut, and trim away branches, weeds, and stems that are unwanted in your garden. This means that you can:
- Give shape to plants or bushes
- Safely cut thorny plants
- Remove damaged foliage
- Take back control of overgrown plants
- Promote plant growth in a specific direction
- Trim back unwieldy vegetable plants
- Harvest vegetables
These are just some of the many ways that you can use secateurs. Honestly speaking, there is no end to the uses that you can find for these hand-held pruners in your garden. Since they are small and easy to maneuver, most gardeners have a pair on them at all time when working in the garden.
Types of Secateurs
There are two main types of handheld pruners that you should be made aware of.
Anvil secateurs use an anvil action to crush and remove unwanted stems or branches. A straight edge strikes down on a metal plate when you squeeze these pruners, and this crushes the plant sections around it. This makes it very easy to remove dead branches or otherwise dried out foliage.
They are great on wood, but it is not recommended to use this type of pruners on live plants as it can take longer for the plant to heal due to the crushing-style cut.
Bypass secateurs generally have two blades, and one of those blades is beveled. This type of beveled blade allows you to create a very smooth, clean cut that only crushes one side of the plant.
When used properly, you will only crush the part of the plant that you are removing. This means that the plant can heal more effectively, and you will be able to make more precise removals.
Which Type is Most Popular?
Not everyone will agree with this, but most gardeners prefer to use bypass pruners due to the cleanliness of their cuts and how easier it is to maneuver them into small spaces. While anvil pruners have their uses, bypass pruners enjoy more general popularity.
Pruning with Bypass Secateurs
Now that you know a bit about secateurs and what they are used for, let’s talk about the right way to use them. You may make some changes to these steps depending on what project you are working on, but these are the general steps that you should follow when pruning with secateurs.
Find the right cut location
Line the blade up with where you want to cut. The blade will cut on the thick side, so remember this when lining up the spot. It’s OK to have this be slightly away from the main stem as it is less likely to cause damage when used that way.
Choose your angle
Does your plant grow with alternate branches or with branches directly opposite from one another? If alternating, cut at an angle away from the node as this keeps water from piling up and causing rot. If opposite branches grow, cut a straight line right above the node.
When cutting, open the pruners as wide as possible and cut the entire branch at once. If you do smaller cuts, it will be harder on you, and the plant, as well as will dull the blade on your pruners too quickly. Cut in one fluid motion to avoid this problem.
Try Them Yourself
What are secateurs used for? Practically everything in the garden, so why not try to use them now? It's not hard to use these types of pruners, so you can invest in giving them a try without worrying about this garden tool going to waste.
From trimming bushes back to making your own cuttings, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways that pruners can be put to good use in the garden. Get your own secateurs and find out why they are so universally loved by gardeners today!