Guide to pruning
SOME pruning can be done in the autumn to get rid of dead wood and help shape shrubs and trees for the following year.
Secateurs are essential for this job and there are two types, anvil and bypass.
The anvil works on the principle of a sharp blade cutting down on to an anvil, but the cutting blade needs to be kept really sharp for it to be effective.
Bypass secateur work whereby a sharp curved blade bypasses a curved cutting plate, severing a branch without much effort.
You shouldn’t be trying to cut a branch with a diameter thicker than 1cm (0.5in) with secateurs.
Any thicker and you should opt for a pruning saw such as the Silky, a Japanese blade with teeth with three razor-edged facets which cut smooth and don’t leave loose edges.
There are pocket types available, where the blade folds into the handle until you need to use it, which are handy for carrying around routinely.
If you are hardpruning overgrown shrubs, loppers are invaluable.
Some versions come with extendable arms for those branches which are just out of reach, and they are ideal for cutting out old congested wood from inside thorny shrubs such as berberis and roses, but they are also good for reducing the size of large branches you have already cut off with the saw, to make them more manageable to take to the your local recycling centre.