Tools on Tuesday: The Taming of the Shrub
Out of control buddleia bush in the garden? Wisteria getting out of hand? Brambles growing over the allotment path (whoops, had a letter!)?? Where’s my secateurs?!
Secateurs (or hand pruners or pruning shears as some people like to call them) are one of the most important tools in the garden, and should feel like an extension of your hand. So before you go to prune your roses, here’s a Woolly review of some of the best secateurs around …
It’s not altogether straighforward finding the right secateurs, and there are a number of things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a pair:
It’s important that you choose the right size secateur for your hand, so that you avoid getting aches and strains.
Also, all secateurs have a safety catch, so have a go and see how easy it is for you to use.
Left-handed secateurs are also available, but many standard secateurs will be just as easy to use, especially if the safety catch is on the top where you can operate it with your thumb.
Snip, snip, chop, squeeze – we’ve had a go and here are the ones we like…
Felco Number 8 (£37.85) The gold standard! A little bit pricey, but if you look after them they should last forever. These are everything that secateurs should be: comfortable to use, robust, and very effective.
Spear & Jackson Ratchet Anvil Secateurs (£17.10) I first used these at a gardening show, and was given a chunky piece of wood to cut through. I thought I’d never do it, but the ratchet action made it simple! I was amazed! It works by cutting through tough stems with several squeezes rather than just one. It’s a very effective tool that punches above its weight.
Joseph Bentley 7″ Curved Secateurs (£10.79) A neat little secateur with a traditional wooden handle. It has an unusual angle to the head which reduces strain on the wrist, making it ideal for long but light pruning sessions – just the job for dead-heading. Beautifully made for the price, and if looked after should last a lifetime.
Yeoman Soft Grip Secateurs (£7.93) Cheap and cheerful? well they do the job! They’re simple but robust, and comfortable to use. One potential drawback could be the foam handles which may be difficult to keep clean.
Fiskars Powerstep Bypass Pruner (£15.26) These cut cleanly, and have a very easy mechanism: when you squeeze, the secateurs cut part way through before re-setting, ready for a second squeeze to complete the cut. This means there’s little effort needed, and because they are light they’re suitable for most women. They also cut through wood very well.
Darlac Vine Scissors (£6.60) Handy little scissors that have a slim shape so they’re great for trimming plants where dense growth needs cutting back, and for harvesting fruit and veg. They have blunt blades to avoid damage or bruising to fruit. Just the job!