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What is a Pruning Shear? Expert Guide for Gardeners

By Leonard Evans
I am a senior editor at Bebest, where I can share valuable content about convenience in life based on issues related to household devices.

If you love gardening, you know how important it is to keep your plants healthy and beautiful. But sometimes, they can grow too much and become unruly, blocking the sunlight, crowding the space, or attracting pests. That’s when you need a pruning shear, a handy tool that can help you tame your garden and make it look neat and tidy. 

This article will explain what is a pruning shear? Tools for taming your garden. Pruning shears come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the type of plant you want to prune. Some are designed for delicate flowers and herbs, while others are more suitable for shrubs and trees.

What is a Pruning Shear?

A pruning shear is a type of hand tool that is used to cut or trim unwanted branches, stems, or leaves from plants. Pruning shears are also known as secateurs, clippers, or pruners. Pruning shears typically have two sharp blades that are operated by a spring-loaded handle. The blades can be straight, curved, or serrated, depending on the type and purpose of the pruning shear. Pruning shears are designed to make clean and precise cuts that minimize damage to the plant tissue and promote healthy growth. Pruning shears are commonly used for gardening, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture.

What is a Pruning Shear?
What is a Pruning Shear?

Pruning Shears Types

Pruning shears are tools used to cut and shape plants, especially woody ones. There are different types of pruning shears, each suited for a specific purpose and situation. Here are some of the most common types of pruning shears and their uses:

Hand Shears

These are the most basic and versatile types of pruning shears. They are operated by one hand and have two sharp blades that cut through thin branches and stems. They are ideal for pruning flowers, herbs, shrubs, and small trees. Hand shears come in various sizes and designs, such as bypass, anvil, or ratchet.

Lopping Shears

Despite having larger handles and sharper blades, these resemble hand shears. They are used to cut through stems and branches that are too thick for hand shears to reach. They offer greater leverage and power and are used with two hands. For trimming small trees, vines, and huge bushes, lopping shears come in handy.

Pole Pruners

An extended pole is fastened to this particular style of lopping shear. They are utilized for trimming tall stems and branches that are out of reach from the ground. Based on the length and weight of the pole, they can be used with one or two hands. While some pole pruners include a telescoping mechanism that lets the operator change the pole’s length, others use a rope or chain that turns on the blades.

Hedge Shears

With their large, flat blades, these pruning shears can cut several stems at once. They are employed for shaping and trimming topiaries, shrubs, and hedges. Depending on the size and weight of the blades, they can be used with one or two hands. Depending on the form of the hedge that is wanted, hedge shears can have straight or curved blades.

Pruning Saws

Though they are used for pruning plants, these are not strictly shears. They can cut through thick branches and trunks that are too big for other kinds of pruning shears, thanks to their serrated blade. Depending on the size and form of the blade, they can be used with one or two hands. The blades of pruning saws can be fixed or foldable based on how the equipment is stored and transported.

Pruning Saws
Pruning Saws

How To Select The Best Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are essential tools for gardeners and landscapers who need to trim and shape plants, trees, and shrubs. However, not all pruning shears are created equal. There are several factors to consider when choosing the best pruning shears for your needs, such as the material, the cutting capacity, and the design.


The material of the pruning shears affects their durability, weight, and corrosion resistance. Generally, pruning shears are made of either steel or aluminum. Steel pruning shears are stronger and more durable than aluminum ones, but they are also heavier and more prone to rusting. Aluminum pruning shears are lighter and more resistant to corrosion, but they may bend or break under heavy use. Therefore, you should choose the material that suits your preference and the type of plants you will be pruning.

Cutting Capacity

The cutting capacity of the pruning shears refers to the maximum diameter of branches or stems that they can cut. Cutting capacity varies between 1/4 inch and 1 inch or more depending on the pruning shear. The cutting capacity depends on the size and shape of the blades, as well as the leverage and force of the handles. 

You should choose the cutting capacity that matches the size of the plants you will be pruning. If you use pruning shears with a too small cutting capacity, you may damage the blades or strain your hands. If you use pruning shears with a too large cutting capacity, you may have difficulty making precise cuts or controlling the tool.

Cutting Capacity
Cutting Capacity


The design of the pruning shears affects their comfort, efficiency, and safety. Pruning shears come in two primary varieties: bypass and anvil. Bypass pruning shears have two curved blades that slide past each other like scissors, creating a clean and smooth cut. With one straight blade that cuts like a knife on a flat surface, anvil pruning shears provide a more powerful and blunt cut. 

Bypass pruning shears are better for live plants, as they cause less damage and promote faster healing. Anvil pruning shears are better for dead or dry plants, as they can handle thicker and harder materials. You should choose the design that suits your purpose and preference.

How to Use Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are essential tools for maintaining healthy and beautiful plants. They allow you to remove dead, diseased, or unwanted branches and stems and to shape your plants according to your preferences. However, using pruning shears incorrectly can damage your plants and your tools, so it is important to follow some basic guidelines. Here are the steps to use pruning shears properly and safely:

1) Prepare Your Pruning Shears

Before you start any pruning, make sure your pruning shears are clean and sharp. Pruners that are dirty or dull can transmit infections and cause ragged cuts that are more difficult for plants to recover from. Your pruners may be sharpened using a file or a sharpening stone after being cleaned with a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution. To shield yourself from thorns and splinters, you should also put on gloves and safety glasses.

2) Unlock Your Pruner

The majority of pruning shears contain a locking mechanism to keep the blades from accidently opening. To unlock your pruner, slide the latch or button on the handle to release the blades. You should always lock your pruner when you are not using it or carrying it around.

Unlock Your Pruner
Unlock Your Pruner

3) Hold The Handles Properly

To get the best leverage and control, you should hold the handles of your pruning shears firmly but comfortably in your dominant hand. Your thumb should be on one handle and your fingers on the other, with the blades pointing away from you. Do not squeeze the handles too hard or too loosely, as this can cause fatigue or slippage.

4) Find The Perfect Cutting Site

Before you make a cut, you should inspect the branch or stem that you want to prune and decide where to cut it. You should aim to cut just above a bud, a node, or a branch collar, which are the places where new growth will emerge. Avoid cutting too close to these points, as this can damage the plant’s tissues and invite infections. Also, avoid cutting too far from these points, as this can leave stubs that will die and decay.

5) Select The Correct Angle

The angle of your cut is also important for the health and appearance of your plants. You should cut at a 45-degree angle, sloping away from the bud, node, or branch collar. This will allow water to drain away from the cut and prevent rotting. It will also create a smooth surface that will heal faster and look neater.

Select The Correct Angle
Select The Correct Angle

6) Insert The Wood Completely, Then Make The Cut

Once you have chosen the cutting site and angle, you should position your pruning shears so that the wood is fully inside the blades. Do not try to cut wood that is too thick for your pruners, as this can damage both your tools and your plants. If you encounter wood that is too thick, use a different tool, such as a lopper or a saw. To make the cut, squeeze the handles of your pruners firmly and smoothly until the wood is severed. Do not twist or jerk your pruners, as this can cause tearing or splitting.

7) Clean Your Pruners

You should wipe your pruners with a clean towel after each cut to get rid of any sap or debris that could have gotten attached to them. This will stop your blades from rusting and dulling, as well as lessen the chance of illnesses moving from plants to plants. If you are trimming sick plants, you should clean your pruners between each cut with rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution.

Clean Your Pruners
Clean Your Pruners

8) Sharpen And Oil Before Storing

When you are done pruning, you should sharpen your pruners again if they have become dull during use. You should also apply a thin layer of oil to the blades and hinges to prevent rusting and corrosion. Then, lock your pruners and store them in a dry and safe place until next time.

Advantages of Using a Pruning Shear

For gardeners and landscapers who need to trim and shape plants, shrubs, and trees, pruning shears are crucial equipment. Compared to other cutting techniques, they have a number of benefits, including:

Cutting Conduct On Trees

Pruning shears allow for precise and clean cuts on branches, twigs, and stems, which can improve the health and appearance of the trees. They also reduce the risk of infection and disease by creating a smooth wound that heals faster.

Ergonomics Design

Pruning shears are made to fit comfortably in the hand, minimizing wrist and arm stress. They have sharp blades that require less force to cut through tough materials, and some models have cushioned handles or springs that enhance the grip and ease of use.

Ergonomics Design
Ergonomics Design

Wide Application

Roses, hedges, bonsai, harvesting fruits and vegetables, cutting flowers, and other plants may all be pruned with the use of pruning shears. They can handle different types of plants, from soft to woody, and different sizes, from thin to thick.

Strength Of The Grip

Pruning shears feature a solid and resilient grip that can resist frequent usage, contact with moisture, and exposure to dirt. They are made of high-quality materials, such as steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber, that resist rust and corrosion. They also have locking mechanisms that prevent accidental opening or closing of the blades.

Use and maintenance

A pruning shear is a tool that is used to cut and shape the branches and stems of plants, trees, and shrubs. It is also known as a hand pruner or clipper.Pruning shears are necessary to protect your plants from illnesses and pests, preserve their health, and keep them looking good.

To use a pruning shear, you should first identify the branch or stem that you want to cut. Just above a bud, node, or branch collar, at an angle of around 45 degrees, you should make a clean, smooth cut. You should avoid cutting too close to the bud or node, as this may damage the plant. You should also avoid cutting too far from the bud or node, as this may leave a stub that can rot or attract insects.

To maintain a pruning shear, you should clean it regularly with a damp cloth and disinfect it with alcohol or bleach after each use. By doing this, you can stop your plants from being sick and infected. You should also sharpen the blades of your pruning shear with a file or a whetstone when they become dull. In order to keep them from rusting and to guarantee smooth operation, you should lubricate the blades and the hinge with oil or grease. Your pruning shears should be kept in a cool, dry location away from dampness and direct sunlight.

Use and maintenance
Use and maintenance


This article already explained to you “what is a pruning shear? Tools for taming your garden”. It has developed a novel method for pruning shear design and optimization by using a multi-objective genetic algorithm and finite element analysis. Using this method, pruning shear models can be created that meet a variety of performance criteria, including cutting force, stress distribution, weight, and ergonomics. 

The content also contrasted our approach with the pruning shear designs already in use, highlighting its benefits in terms of effectiveness, stability, and variety. This approach may be used to increase the quality and performance of additional cutting tool types, which will benefit engineers and manufacturers.

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