This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

September 5, 2016

Why you should use cheap pruners

If you have a garden like mine, you're always pruning something. That is, you're always using your clippers. I've gone through a lot of them in the past twenty years and I decided a long time ago to buy 'em cheap, and replace them regularly.

I'm talking about hand pruners here. I started with some expensive old-fashioned "secateurs" - you can still get the classic kind that can be resharpened, and cost a lot of money. My experience with these was poor as they tended to lose their ability to stay locked shut because of the little metal piece in the middle not quite catching. I'm sure it was the latest thing 100 years ago, but technology has changed.

Old-fashioned secateurs. Very expensive, can be resharpened, and I hate them. The little metal catch is a major pain to try to use. Still, they look nice, and would make a nice expensive gift for your gardening friend. Don't get one for me, please.

The reason I like the new ones is that they flick open and shut so easily. There is no temptation to leave them open, with the blades exposed. I kind of like my fingers, and I hate the idea of accidentally cutting myself. So I unlock the pruners when I'm cutting, and I immediately close them. And the types I like the best are the ones that require just about no effort to do that. If you gotta pay attention to it, it's a waste of energy, and there's the temptation not to close them. No. No.

So I buy them cheap and replace them often. And I always have several on hand. My favorite nowadays is the one pictures at the top of this post, made Fiskars, and they're really more like "heavy duty scissors". They're a little bit smaller than average pruners, and I find that I can get better leverage and a cleaner cut with them. Note the plastic lock that you can operate with a flick with your thumb (I sound like a commercial here!) I use pruners a LOT, so they start to go dull after a couple of seasons.

They are cheap. And not just inexpensive, cheap. I've purchased some that immediately broke. The spring sometimes falls out on brand new ones. I guess quality control is a bit of a problem with these! So don't expect to impress your gardening friend with these as a gift. But for me, it's what I want, and what I use. My birthday is coming around soon (it comes every year) and it would make a great gift for me - hint, hint!
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