Your local plant nursery is stocked with a wide range of high-quality pruning tools of all different types – and if you’re like many gardeners, you may not know which tool is best for cutting tasks like pruning shrubs.

Generally speaking, your choice of pruning tools hinges on the size of the branches you plan to cut. So, before you head to the plant nursery to shop, take a careful look at the shrub and tree limbs that need to be pruned and check the following guide to see which type of pruning tools you need.

Plant Nursery pruning tools

Hand Pruner

A hand pruner is the ideal tool for cutting branches that are one inch or less in diameter. Bypass pruners – they type that cuts like scissors – offer the cleanest cuts, but ratchet pruners do the job with less effort. Either way, experts recommend choosing a tool with curved, heavy-duty cutting blades and a comfortable grip.

Lopping Shears

Also called loppers, lopping shears are good for cutting limbs that are about two inches in diameter – but check the label to be sure what branch size they can handle. As with hand pruners, bypass blades offer cleaner cuts; however, some loppers have a gear-like feature that makes pruning easier work. Lopping shears come in a variety of lengths, allowing you to cut branches that are slightly out of reach.

Pole Pruner

Like loppers, pole pruners are used to cut branches that are up to two inches in diameter, and experts recommend bypass blades for the cleanest cuts. The difference? A pole pruner allows you to tackle limbs that are beyond your reach – without standing on a ladder.

Pruning Saw

Pruning saws are designed to cut branches with a diameter of up to three inches, though with a bit more effort they can prune limbs that are little larger. Unlike many other types of saws, pruning saws cut on both the pull and push strokes to allow for cleaner cuts.

Pruning Tool Tips from Plant Nursery Pros

If you need to prune branches that are larger than three inches in diameter, you may want to have a local certified arborist take on the task. The same goes for limbs that you can’t easily reach, even with a pole pruner.

For cutting jobs you can handle yourself, you’ll want sharp pruning tools. When you’re at the plant nursery, look for a sharpening stone to hone the cutting blades of your hand pruners, loppers and pole pruners. Pruning saws need professional sharpening or replacement blades if they get dull.

Plant nursery pros recommend sanitizing pruning tools between cuts, particularly when cutting branches of diseased trees and shrubs. To sanitize, simply immerse the blades in rubbing alcohol for one or two minutes.

You can, of course, always ask the plant nursery staff for advice on choosing, using and maintaining pruning tools. Here at Millcreek Gardens, the leading Salt Lake City area garden center since 1955, we’re always happy to help out our fellow northern Utah gardeners.

To chat with the friendly and knowledgeable Millcreek Gardens staff – and to shop our vast selection of high-quality pruning tools and other must-have gardening supplies, stop by our plant nursery today.