Your trusty pair of secateurs is probably never far from your hands when gardening, as you grab it for all manner of pruning jobs. If you’re buying a new pair this season, here’s what you need to know about the different types on offer, what they do, and how to look after them.
Get your secateurs right
1. Bypass secateurs (above)
These are the stock standard secateurs that most gardeners have in the shed. They’re called ‘bypass’ types because the cutting blade slides past the fixed blade. They’re great for most pruning and cutting jobs, and the bypass action minimises stem bruising when you’re cutting green stems.
2. Anvil secateurs
Offering a different cutting action, anvil types have just one blade, which cuts down onto a flat surface. They are great for use on woody stems (rather than green stems), as the anvil action minimises stem twisting.
3. Floral snips
Like a pair of extra-sharp scissors, floral snips are ideal for cutting flowers or other light precision trimming jobs around the garden. Because flower stems are soft, it’s important to cut them cleanly with no bruising or creasing, as this ensures a longer vase life.
4. Ratchet pruners
For tackling large, thick stems, a pair of ratchet pruners provides extra oomph. The serrated edge grabs hold of branches and the ratchet action increases the cutting power – by up to five times. These are great to have for cutting jobs that are too big for ordinary secateurs, but don’t require loppers.
How to look after them...
Lie secateurs on cardboard and spray blades with oven cleaner. Turn over and repeat on the other side.
Leave cleaner to work for a couple of hours, or even overnight if the residue is heavy. Wipe clean with cloth or rag until all grime is removed.