Why Pruning Tools Need to be Sharp & Clean
Sharpening your pruning tools makes yard work easier for you and keeps your trees, shrubs and plants healthy.
Sharp Tools Help You
How many times have you attempted a pruning cut and grumbled when your loppers did not slice quickly through a branch?
It could be you were trying to cut a branch larger than the capacity of your loppers. The hang tag on your loppers tells you the maximum branch diameter the tool will cut; be sure to take that seriously or you could end up with a lopper blade jammed in a branch.
It’s more likely your loppers need to be sharpened. In our video Tricia shows how quickly you can clean and sharpen tools. Early winter is a great time of year to sharpen tools, when there are fewer urgent tasks in the garden.
Sharp Tools Help Your Trees and Plants
The University of California, Davis sums it up well, “Keep pruning tools sharp: dull tools make rough cuts, which can promote insect damage or disease.” This expert advice is in a UC Davis article on fruit trees and applies to all kinds of trees and plants.
Sharp pruning tools make clean cuts, which heal quickly, minimizing future problems.
Clean tools are also crucial for pruning. Take a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a rag with you, and clean the cutting surfaces of your pruning tools after you have finished with one tree or shrub. It won’t take much time and it can prevent disaster in your orchard or garden.
Disaster? That’s what you would call it if you pruned 10 fruit trees and they all succumbed to a disease—a disease carried in the first tree you pruned, and transported to the nine other trees when you did not clean your pruning tools.
Take care of yourself and your garden with sharp, clean tools.
For more information on pruning consult two excellent books, Pruning Made Easy and The Home Orchard (by UC Davis). Want something short and sweet? Try Pruning Trees, Shrubs & Vines from the Storey Country Wisdom series.
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