Garden and landscape pruning tools

A snip here and cut there, it's all part of keep a flower or vegetable garden neat and landscaping shrubs and trees well manicured. When it comes to choosing the best pruning tools for the job, size matters.

Hand Pruners

There are two types of one-handed pruners that work in a shears cutting motion. Also referred to as pruning shears, hand pruners can be used to cut vegetation up to 3/4 inch in diameter.

Scissor Pruners. As the name implies, this type of hand-held pruner functions like a pair of scissors. Each blade has a sharp cutting edge that overlap as the handles are squeezed close. Scissor pruners spring open when pressure on the handles are released, allowing for quick cutting. Though scissor pruners can be used to cut vegetation up to 3/4 inch in diameter, these pruners are best suited to cutting soft tissue, like flower stems, rather than hard tissue, like shrub or tree limbs.

Anvil Pruners. One side of anvil pruners is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide and has a flat, arced surface. The anvil side of the pruner holds the stem in place for cutting by the opposite and sharp cutting blade. The curved blade makes it easier to capture a limb in the center of the arc. Squeezing the handles perpendicular to the limb will make a straight cut. Tip the anvil pruners to a 45 degree angle to make an angle cut.


Loppers or lopping shears have long handles for added leverage. Loppers are anvil pruners in design. Use loppers to cut limbs 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter or groups of small limbs, like capturing several small canes of a spirea or forsythia shrub and cutting all in one scissor-cutting motion.
Loppers, with their long handles, are also an excellent pruning tool to reach inside a shrub or tree to cut limbs.
Pruning Saws

A pruning saw may be a slightly curved blade for one-handed cutting or a straight blade in a frame for two-handed cutting. Pruning saws are used on tree limbs greater than 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Hedge Clippers

Maintaining the shape of hedges is accomplished with hedge clippers. The hedge clippers may be two-handed, manually operated shears with long blades to snip a 6 to 8 inch area. Power hedge clippers may be electric or gas powered and can cut a wider area of the hedge. The weight of the power hedge clippers may become tiresome to use; on the other hand, manicuring a hedge with power clippers can be accomplished much faster than manual clippers.