Winter is the time to prune back overlapping branches from trees and shrubs. A good quality pruner is your #1 most important gardening tool. Experience shows higher quality pruners hold their sharp edges better, so you work less and save energy while making cuts. Do not try to save money on your pruner. Instead, buy the best pruner you can afford.
But with so many pruners available on the market, how do you find the perfect one for you? I can’t stress this enough—it’s all about comfort. My recommendation is always to purchase hand tools, especially pruners, for their fit and your comfort first and cost last. You use your pruner for longer stretches at a time than any other tool—common sense and cost per use dictate you should buy the best pruner your budget can afford.
A wealth of pruning options! When you are looking to buy a new pruner, don’t try to buy it on Amazon. There are just too many to choose from and, and you will walk away bleary-eyed and confused, without having a clue which one will work best for you. Instead, start by asking your gardening friends what brand and model pruners they own. Ask them if they are the anvil, bypass, or ratchet style and why they like them. Trust me, everyone will have an opinion. Then head out to your local garden center to try out each one of the recommendations.
When you go shopping, ask the retailer for their recommendations and why they like that pruner in particular. Ask them to let you take the pruner out of the plastic clamshell packaging so you can hold it to test for comfort. If they refuse to let you do that, go somewhere else. Try several brands to find out which one fits your hand best, and support your local community by buying it there.
Photo: Heidi Hornberger