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Gardening in Washington State

The Correct Way to Use Pruning Tools

Using the right pruning tool for the job and using it correctly is safer for the gardener and produces cleaner cuts on the plant. When using cutting tools, it is important not to twist or strain the blades.

Do not cut with the tip of the blade; instead, set the branch to be cut as deep in the jaws of the pruners as possible to make a clean cut. If only a portion of the blade is used to make a cut (such as the tip), it may result in an incomplete cut.

If there is any strain while trying to make a cut with a sharp blade, switch to a larger tool. Trying to cut a large a branch with a tool that is too small may result in a jagged wound that damages the plant and may ruin the tool. Poor quality cuts may also result from twisting, pulling, or turning the tool while cutting. Use sharp scissors or a pruning knife to trim any tears or rough edges that result from a poor cut.

Incorrect    Correct

Incorrect:  branch too large for tool                             Correct:  Tool correct size for cut

For more information on pruning tools, go to Pruning Equipment for Home Gardeners.  http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS131E/FS131E.pdf

Submitted by: Tim Kohlhauff, February 2, 2015

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