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How To Care For Your Pruning Shears for Perfect Cuts Every Time

How To Care For Your Pruning Shears for Perfect Cuts Every Time

 Do you ever find it frustrating when you're all set to prune your plants, only to discover that your trusty pruners have rusted or aren't cutting as cleanly as they should? Or perhaps, as you're carefully tending to your roses, shrubs, or trees, you notice the cuts aren't as precise and might even be causing unintended harm to your plants?

Just like any tool in your arsenal, proper care and maintenance are key to keeping your gardening shears in top-notch condition. When you prioritize their upkeep, not only do they last longer, but they also protect your plants from harmful pathogens carried by neglected or unclean tools. So, if you've been overlooking their maintenance, now is the perfect time to dedicate a little attention to cleaning and sharpening your pruning shears!

Ensuring your pruners stay in peak shape is straightforward. Let's explore what you should do after each use and at the close of every pruning season:

Clean Your Pruner After Each Use

Wipe your pruner with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. You can also use disinfecting wipes to remove remaining sap, bacteria, or fungi. Next, use some steel wool with a drop of vegetable oil to polish the blades. This is a good way to lubricate the blades and prevent rust.

Seasonal Pruner Maintenance

Simply wiping your pruner every day may not be enough. Once the pruning season is over, giving your pruners a deep clean is a must. Disassemble your pruner and wash each part individually with warm, soapy water, scrubbing any sap or sticky residue left behind. Wipe each part with rubbing alcohol or any sterilizing product. Allow the parts to dry before you reassemble and store them. Remember, never store your garden shears while they’re still wet! Any wet tool placed in storage can rust and damage the blades.

Preventing Rust

Preventing rust formation is far more manageable than addressing it later on. Once your pruner is dry, use a mineral or multipurpose oil (such as 3-in-1 or WD40) to coat the joints and blades, establishing a protective barrier against rust.

A little tip: store your pruning shears in a bucket of sand. Some gardeners do this to keep them clean, dry, and free of rust because sand will wick away moisture.

Even with proper care and maintenance, rust might still happen. For small spots of rust, scrub it off with steel wool or a wire brush. However, for garden shears that are heavily rusted, it’s best to look for a wire brush attachment for drills and other tools designed for rust removal.

Sharpening Your Pruners

Dull pruners are not only hard to operate, they also damage the plant stem, making the plant susceptible to pests and diseases. To avoid this, learn how to sharpen pruning shears before you prune. Use any sharpening tool like a fine file, sharpening stone, or a sharpener designed for pruners to sharpen the sharp edge and remove any burrs from the flat side of the blade. Re-sharpen your pruners in between sessions if you’re pruning for an extended period of time.

Consider Replacing Your Blade

Frequent or intensive use can cause the blades to wear over time. But when exactly should you replace them? Inspect the blades for signs of chips, cracks, or a worn-down edge. Check if you can see the angle of the beveled edge of the blade. If the blades show substantial wear and tear, they should be replaced. Some brands, such as Haus & Garten, offer cost-effective replacement parts for their pruning shears, sparing you the expense of purchasing a new pruner.

Adjusting the Bypass Mechanism

Over time, prolonged use of your pruners might result in loose jaws, causing snagging or jamming. You can fix this issue by tightening the blade nut to regulate the blade clearance. If the blade is bent, a few gentle taps with a hammer can realign it effectively.

Insider Tips To Save You From Buying A New Pruner Every Season

1. Look for a pruner with high-quality steel blades

Generally, pruner blades are made out of steel and sometimes coated with a protective layer against rust corrosion. Make sure to look for blades made of high-quality, hardened or carbon steel because they last longer and are less likely to need frequent sharpening.

2. Opt for an ergonomic design

If you intend to prune or deadhead for long hours, ergonomic pruners will reduce wrist strain and hand fatigue, allowing you to prune easier without hurting your hand. This style of pruner often includes anti-slip cushioned handles for a comfortable grip, a shock absorption pad, angled blades, and a slightly curved shape, like our EnduroPRO garden shears.

3. Embrace functional features

Quality pruning shears have handy features to make your pruning more efficient like a self-cleaning sap groove. This keeps the blade clean and free of sap and other sticky substances. Another useful feature is a wire cutting notch, which can prevent damage to the blade when cutting wires.

4. Choose a pruner with a strong spring

Many pruning shears have a spring in between the blades in order to reduce workload and hand fatigue when pruning or deadheading. Look for a pruner with a spring tightly attached to the handles that can be detached for cleaning and maintenance.

5. Pick a lightweight pruner

Choose a lightweight pruner that fits comfortably in your hand to minimize fatigue. If you’re doing a lot of pruning, be aware that heavier pruners will usually cause more fatigue.

6. Look for a pruner that can be disassembled

Not all pruners can be taken apart for cleaning and maintenance. Sap, dirt and other sticky residue can build up over time, making it hard for you to open and close your pruner. Make sure to find a pruner that is easy to disassemble so you can clean the individual parts easily.

7. Choose a brand that offers replacement parts

Make sure to purchase a pair of pruning shears from a brand that offers replacement parts. This can save you a lot of money, especially if you need to fix or replace a single part.

Well-maintained shears will help you prune effectively, avoid possible transmission of disease-causing pathogens from plant to plant, and save you more time and money in the long run. Now that you know the best ways to clean and maintain your pruner's performance, you can now keep your pruning shears in tip-top shape for a long time and maximize their performance!