Who loves to prune? I sure do and always have. Fall and Spring are the busiest times for pruning. Spring is fast approaching and I want to share how to sharpen garden shears and other pruning tools, plus how to clean them too.
Pruning shears can be larger and heavier, or smaller and lighter. Which one you choose depends on what you’re pruning, how much you prune, the size of your hands, and what feels most comfortable to you. If you’re left-handed, there’s a pruner for you.
You’ll find an assortment of pruners plus floral snips, loppers, and sharpeners for light or heavy-duty pruning to buy online further on down in this post.
It’s simple but sometimes we need reminding: make sure to clean and sharpen your pruning tools. Before you start any kind of pruning job, it’s important to make sure your pruning tools are ready for the job. It’s the same advice professional chefs give: keep your knives sharp and cutting will be so much easier.
If your tools aren’t sharp, you’ll make jagged cuts. Pruning will be hard on the plant and more difficult for you. Clean cuts are important for the health and aesthetics of the plant.
I’m not going to get into pruning techniques here. Those would be worthy of separate posts and videos as there are many methods of pruning and reasons to prune as well as many different gardening zones and times to prune.
On that subject, the most important thing to know is how the plant grows and how it’ll respond so you can prune it successfully.
Here are some things to research: when’s the best time is to prune it, does it flower on new or old wood (or both), how much do you need to prune it (tip-pruned, thinned out, cut all the way back, cut halfway back, etc) and how it’s going to grow back as a result of the pruning.
Houseplant pruning is much simpler and needs to be done less often. I cover it in the houseplant care posts I do.
Cleaning & Sharpening Pruners Video Guide
How To Sharpen Garden Shears & Pruning Tools In 3 Simple Steps
Get all the gunk and residue off your tools before sharpening them. Take a soft cloth and sprinkle cleansing powder on it and your tools. Start cleaning!
Be sure to thoroughly clean the mechanisms and handles as well as the cutting and anvil blades. If they’re really dirty, then you may have to use steel wool or a scouring pad.
I didn’t have a scouring pad in the video above so I used a flathead screwdriver to scrape the gunk off.
Thoroughly rinse off and dry with a clean cloth or let dry in the sun before moving on to the next step.
There are many sharpening tools on the market. You’ll see a few down below. Which one you use is a personal thing, what feels best in your hand and gets the job done efficiently.
I use this tool because it’s small, light, and super easy to use. Simply make 3-5 swipes with the sharpening side and then 3-5 swipes with the polishing side.
Do both sides of the blade and that’s all there is to it.
My very favorite pruners: the tried & true Felco #2’s. As you can see, 1 of the handle covers is missing & the other is on the way out. I’ve used these A LOT.
Wipe the blades and gear mechanisms with a generous amount of oil to lubricate, prevent rust, and do a little extra cleaning.
I use coconut, avocado, or olive oils because I always have them on hand. I have used WD-40 in the past but I’m not a fan of the smell!
I let the oil sit on the tool(s) for at least 10 -30 minutes and then wipe the excess off. This is where you’ll see any left-over residue come off.
I clean and sharpen my pruning tools every month. I live in Tucson where gardening is a year-round pleasure. I have an acre of land so there’s always something to clip, inside or out!
If you’re pruning roses or taking cuttings, then you really want to keep those tools nice and clean so you don’t spread any disease.
Enough with how to sharpen garden shears, now get to pruning!
Of course, you’ll need good tools that are easy for you to use and also ones you’re comfortable with. The 3 pruning tools I use on a regular basis are my hand pruners, floral snippers, and loppers. And, you’ll need a sharpener too.
Note: This post was originally published on 9/22/2017. It was updated on 2/4/2022.
My pruning tools that I use on a regular basis. I’ve had all of them for ages & they’re always close at hand!
This is used for general garden pruning. I rarely use them for my indoor plants except to prune a dracaena cane, kentia palm frond, or any other large plant.
I’ve only replaced one part on it (a blade) even in my many years as a professional gardener. I can HIGHLY recommend them, especially if you do a good amount of pruning. They get 18,000 – 5 star reviews on Amazon by the way!
I’ve included other options in case you don’t need this heavy a pruner or want something less expensive.
My Favorite Pruner
Buy At: Amazon
Felco F-2 Classic Pruner $57.27
Hand pruners you might also consider (price low to high)
Corona BP 3180D Forged Classic Pruner $19.90
BUGUI Garden Pruning Shears Set – 2 Pack $19.99
Fiskars Titanium Coated Steel Blade $30.98
Haus & Garten Titanium Shears $37.37
The Gardener’s Friend Pruners $39.95
Felco Pruning Shears Left-Handed $56.03
By the way, here are our 5 Favorite Pruning Shears.
My Favorite Floral Snip
Fiskars Pruning Softouch Micro-Tip Snip $32.17
Floral Snips you might also consider (low to high)
Vivosun Pruning Snips $5.94
Martha Stewart Stainless Steel Snips & Pruners $11.66
Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruning Shear $12.12
Corona Comfortgel Snips $13.98
Dramm Stainless Steel Compact Snip $14.47
Gardenite Stainless Steel Pruning Snip $21.31
For pruning branches over 1/2″.
I use loppers for branches that are too big in diameter for my Felco hand pruners. They don’t get nearly as much regular use as the other 2 tools do, but they make an appearance every 3 weeks or so.
I can’t find my brand anymore (I’ve had them that long!) but I like them because the handles extend. Here are a few choices for you.
My Favorite Sharpener
Zenport Tungsten Sharpener for Pruners $11.32
AccuSharp Garden Tool Sharpener $10.99
Sharpa Diamond Sharpening Stone File $29.99
If I can help a plant look better and enhance its health in any way, it makes me happy. I think of pruning as a form of art and that’s why I want my pruners to be in tip-top shape. I feel like I’m being a bit naughty, with a sharp blade in hand, but I’m really doing a plant well.
I hope you’ve found this post on how to sharpen garden shears to be helpful. Oh, how your plants will love you!
Happy gardening … happy pruning,
You might find helpful:
- Bougainvillea Pruning Tips
- Best Time to Prune Star Jasmine
- How To Prune Succulents
- How To Aesthetically Prune A Tropical Hibiscus
- How to Pune Off and Plant an Air Layered Rubber Tree Plant
- Essential Gardening Tools You Can Buy on Amazon
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