Spring is almost upon us and late winter/early spring is the perfect time to start to prune evergreens; fruit trees; dormant deciduous shrubs and trees; and summer-flowering shrubs and perennials! Here are three tips to get the most out of your pruners, loppers and other landscaping tools this spring!

  • Make sure to use the right tool for the job!

    Pruning is heavy work and involves repetitive motion, so finding the right tool is very important.

    Using the right pruner for the job will make everything easier – especially when you have a lot of garden work to do. Here are some quick tips to consider:

      • Hand pruners cut 1 inch diameters or smaller
      • Loppers cut 1 to 2 inches in diameter
      • Pruning saws are ideal for branches 2 inches or larger
      • Hedge shears are used for cutting hedges
    • Grass shears cut long grass

    For more information on choosing a pruner that’s right for your project, please visit Fiskars.com for more tips! Click here to read more!

  • Keep your blades sharp

    Whether you are borrowing tools from the ToolBank or using ones from home…dull pruners, loppers, and shears do more harm than good. Blunt blades can crush, bruise, and tear plant tissue, making it more vulnerable to disease. Sharp tools, on the other hand, work quickly and efficiently with less effort.

    Click here for instructions on how to sharpen loppers and pruners! Or watch a quick video by clicking here.

  • Follow Proper Pruning Techniques

    Proper pruning enhances the beauty of almost any landscape tree and shrub, while improper pruning can ruin or greatly reduce its landscape potential. In most cases, it is better not to prune than to do it incorrectly. In nature, plants go years with little or no pruning, but man can ruin what nature has created. By using improper pruning methods healthy plants are often weakened or deformed. Creating a planned approach to your project outlined in the steps here can help you reduce time and have a healthier, more sustainable garden!

  • Wash and dry your tools

    Pruner maintenance and clean up should always be an task after using your pruners. Hand tools don’t stay pristine forever, but with a little diligence, it’s easy to keep your hand pruner in good working order.

    Clean and oil the pruner at the end of every gardening day. Use a dry cloth to remove debris. Remove sap from the blades with fine steel wool, soapy water or alcohol and then dry the blades. Whenever you are pruning diseased plants always make sure to clean the blades after each cut. This will disinfect the blade, and mitigate the chances of spreading any diseases that may be present.

    Finally, remember to adjust the tension when the cut is no longer sharp and clean. If the blades are too loose, the pruner will bind on larger branches; if the blades are too tight, then extra force is needed to make the cut. Adjust the center screw or bolt until the blades are properly aligned and rub slightly along 2/3 of their length.

The Cincinnati Community ToolBank has almost 1,000 pruners, hedge shears and loppers up for grabs for your next service project!