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Select the Best Pruning Tool for the Task

Before you head out to the garden to do a bit of pruning, make sure you have the right tool for the job.

Use a bypass hand pruner for deadheading and pruning woody stems up to ¾ of an inch in diameter. These pruners have two sharp blades like scissors, resulting in a clean cut that closes quickly. Look for a quality pruner with replaceable blades.

Employ a bypass lopper to extend your reach when pruning small trees, shrubs and roses. Most loppers cut branches up to 2 inches in diameter. Those with longer handles give you greater leverage. And some have ratcheting devices to increase the cutting power with less effort on your part.

Invest in a small pruning saw for larger stems and branches. Foldable pruning saws have short blades to reach into tight places. The blade tucks into the handle for safekeeping and to reduce storage space.

A bit more information: Limit your use of hedge clippers. You’ll be able to shear and shape the plants, but you’ll be making indiscriminate cuts. This results in short stubs that are subject to drying and are entryways for insects and disease. Rather, use the hedge shears for cutting back large perennials and grasses in the spring before new growth begins.

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