Depending on whether you treat gardening as a hobby or chore, pruning your plants can either be something you look forward to or a task you absolutely loathe.
But whether you like it or not, you will have to start pruning the Choisya one way or another since you’ve decided to plant those evergreens in your yard.
The good thing is that gardening is an activity as old as time itself. People have been farming and harvesting crops for centuries. And with that, comes many various tools you can use to make pruning easier and more efficient.
Here are some of them.
1) Your hands
We start the list with the most basic tool that we are born with. Our hands are without doubt, the most efficient in maneuvering.
And everyone implicitly knows how to use it. A deadly combination movement of your thumb and forefinger can make quick work with pruning once you get the hang of it.
The problem is that using a literally hands-on approach to pinching off leaf tips and buds will not give you a clean “cut”.
And it will more often than not, give the plant an untidy look by the end of your pinching session.
The thicker the branches get, the tougher it will be depending on your level of experience.
I strongly suggest using an actual machine made tool instead of your gloved hands unless you have some hardcore fetish with using your hands.
You might even cut yourself fingers if you are not careful!
2) Hand pruners
The most commonly used tool by regular gardeners are hand pruners.
They are small, easy to store, easy to carry around with, and packs quite a punch for a “little guy”.
These tools resembles scissors… but are anything but. I won’t be surprised if one of these pruners can cut up a pair of scissors!
Powerful hand pruners like the Felco F-2 can cut wood as thick as an inch. The diameter it can cut is limited to it’s “arc” or how wide the blades can open.
If you are going to get one, take note that there are basically 2 types of hand pruners.
- Scissors type
- Anvil type
The first type can usually cut closer to the main stem than the second type because of the manner these 2 tools are designed.
However, anvil pruners come with the ability to crush bark. So make you pick.
I’d go with the proven Felco F-2.
3) Lopping shears
These are tool with long handles… like those you see in movies when burglars use then to snap off abloy locks.
As you can probably imagine, lopping shears are for tougher assignments while not reaching a stage which you would categorize as “heavy duty”.
Long handles allow the use to exert more force and power to the cut. Enabling lopping shears to cut wood up to 2 inches.
It might also be a preferred tool if you like the extended reach it provides you compared to a traditional hand pruner.
The long reach can also allow you to reach into build-up areas to cut that 1 branch you have identified. Sort of like a surgical prune!
Suitable for those who’d like to get dirty as little as possible.
The Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear is one real powerhouse of a pruning tool.
4) Pruning saws
Don’t let the word “saw” scare you. Pruning saws are not much bigger than hand pruners… even though they are longer.
They are usually used to take on tough branches 2 inches and above.
Unlike a conventional general purpose saw a carpenter might use, pruning saws have their “teeth” set to the opposite direction. Meaning that it cuts when you pull it rather than when you push it.
This allows you to reach in and precisely place the pruning saw on the object you’ve targeted, and pull it inwards towards you to start the cut.
Product Innovation means that pruning saws are now available as double-edged saws. So do make a check of whether you’ve got the one you want when making a purchase.
A double-edge saw means that you can mistakenly cut the barks of other branches and stems when you are not careful as you are just focusing on the cutting edge.
One of the best in it’s class is the Silky 270-33.
5) Hedge shears
This is a tool that men are known to suffer panic attacks from when their wives hold it close to their lower body… especially when they have been unfaithful.
Hedge shears are more used for “trimming” the outer areas of plants so as to shape them to the shape you desire.
Whenever you see a tidy hedge or a neat set of formal shrubs, they were shaped with hedge shears.
With a long blade and wide snipping action, it’s a tool that needs little introduction.
Just never leave it where your wife might find them.
If you going to the store for something like this, check out the Tabor Tools hedge shear.
6) Pruning knives
This is more of a finishing tool rather than a pruning tool. But since it is often used when pruning, I thought I’d just put it in here.
After you cut a branch when pruning, you are often left with uneven, rough, and unsightly edges that stick out.
Until you’ve reached a high level of expertise in pruning where you can cut and leave behind smooth edges, you have to use pruning knives for a finishing move.
As the task of smoothing edges is more about skill rather than tools, I suggest that you don’t have to buy an expensive one.
Safe your money for your main pruning tools.
7) Wood rasp
Another common finishing tool is the wood rasp. This is like a filing device used in manicures and pedicures. Only that this time, it’s your Choisya that is getting the manicure.
You will intuitively know what this tool does the moment you see it.
Again, I don’t recommend that you spend too much money on a finishing tool like a wood rasp.
8) Extendable long handle saws and loppers
Alright. I don’t really know what kind of plants or trees you have in the back yard.
But if you have something high up there, it’s better to use a cutting tool with a long reach. It sure takes less time and effort compared to using a stepladder. It eliminates safety hazards too.
And you can even use a long reach saw to reach into build up areas on the ground.
Whether to get this tool really depends on your garden setup and layout limitations.
Fiskars 14 foot tree pruner should be enough for any regular home garden.
No, I’m not talking about those you use to cut down timber.
We are talking about gardening here, not foresting.
This is the tool of choice for those who love the feeling of power. Instead of manually pruning the plants, why not just use a machine that does everything in a fraction of the time?
The best part with chainsaws these days is the innovation put into them.
They are getting smaller. They are getting more powerful. And they have extendable reach. It’s like the long handle saw on #8 on steroids.
Just take a look at Sun Joe SWJ800E and you will know what I’m saying.