Pruning Tools

Makes cutting branches and other foliage manageable

Pruning Tools

Pruning is heavy work and involves repetitive motion, so finding the right tool is very important.

Tip: Use larger tools like loppers and saws to remove large tree branches.


There are three basic pruners:

  • Anvil Pruners. Features a single straight blade that uses a splitting action to cut down on a stem or branch.
  • Ratchet Pruners. Similar to anvil pruners, but features a mechanism that cuts in stages. Works well for people who have problems with wrist strain.
  • Bypass Pruners. Acts like scissors with two curved blades that make a nice, clean cut. Works well on green and growing stems.

Pruning Tips

  • Cut diseased stems back to where the healthy wood starts
  • Disinfect the blade between cuts with bleach and water when pruning diseased plants
  • First cut off dead branches at the base when cutting shrubs or trees
  • Cut just above the leaf bud on the outside of shrub branches
  • Get rid of branches growing at narrow angles to main, vertical branches

When to Prune

  • Prune shrubs that flower in the springtime after the blooms fade off
  • Prune shrubs that flower in the summer during spring
  • Prune rosebushes after the last spring frost
  • Remove dead wood from trees in the summer
  • Pruning a tree’s form is best done after leaves fall

Tool Selection

Consult the chart below to learn about available tool types and their applications:

Pruning Tool Best Used For

Anvil Pruner

  • Dead twigs and branches
  • Diameters of 5/8" or less
  • Examples: rosebushes, hydrangea, butterfly bushes

Bypass Pruner

  • Live stems and branches
  • Diameters of 5/8" or less
  • Examples: rosebushes, raspberry bushes, lilacs, snipping flowers or herbs

Hedge Shears

  • Hedges and small shrubs, evergreens, deadheading perennials
  • Diameters of 2-1/4" or less
  • Examples: any kind of hedge shrub


  • Medium to large branches
  • Diameters of 2-1/2" or less
  • Examples: fruit trees, vines, nut trees

Pole Pruner

  • Dead wood out of trees
  • Diameters of 1-1/4" or less
  • Examples: any kind of tree

Pruning Saw

  • Medium to large low-hanging branches
  • Diameters of 1-1/2" or more
  • Examples: any kind of large shrub or tree

Tree Pruner

  • Smaller tree branches -- eliminates need for ladder
  • Diameters of 1-1/4" or less
  • Examples: any kind of tree


  • Grass Shears. Look like heavy-duty scissors and are used to trim grass around trees, flower beds and shrubbery.
  • Pruning Saw Blades. Come with different style blades to help attack a wide range of different branches.
  • Power Shears. Operate using gas or electricity and make hedge trimming easier and quicker.