Pruning is an essential garden task that keeps plants healthy and tidy. It’s the cutting back of shoots and branches, and covers everything from deadheading old flowers to chopping branches from large trees. It removes any dead or diseased growth, shapes the plant and limits its size. Pruning also encourages the production of buds to make flowers and fruit.
Your garden relies on this regular pruning to maintain its healthy balance. You can even prune to create new plants by taking cuttings from established trees or bushes – either keeping them for another area of your garden or gifting them to others.
And to safely do any of these jobs, you need the right gardening hand tools. Let's talk through your options...
Understanding what you’ll be cutting will help you choose the most suitable tool. Are you going to be pruning flowers and shrubs? Removing branches from established trees? Or trimming and shaping hedges? It can be helpful to think of the scale of these pruning tasks. From small, light jobs, such as taking cuttings from young plants with easy-to-cut shoots, through to bigger ones, like sawing large branches from trees.
The height at which you cut doesn't have to be the height of the plant being cut. We offer tools with long handles to help you comfortably take on tall tasks (such as cutting high tree branches) or ones closer to the ground. These long handles are also useful for areas that are trickier for you to reach.
For plants that are more easily accessible, or if you’re looking to prune, trim or shape pot plants, look for hand-held options. And whether reaching up high or getting down low, it's always worth thinking about what your preferred height will be during your cutting job.
Tools include: garden scissors, secateurs, garden knives, brush hooks, hedge shears and loppers.
Use to dead head and trim flowers
Garden scissors enable you to make delicate and precise snips to flower stems. This can be especially useful for indoor flower arranging.
Our garden scissors are available with:
Use to cut woody stems and soft shoots
Secateurs are also known as pruners, hand pruners and pruning shears and are offered in two types. Choose from:
Our secateurs are available with:
Use to take cuttings and cut garden twine
Our garden knives are available with:
Use to cut small branches, strip bark and clear weeds
Our brush hook is available with:
Use to trim and shape hedges, cut long grass, deadhead large flowering plants and cut back leafy perennials (plants that return year after year)
Our hedge shears are available with:
For larger jobs (such as long hedges), consider investing in a powered hedge trimmer. Head to our buying guide to learn more about your options.
Use to cut through woody stems or tough branches higher up the plant or tree
Loppers (also known as long-handled pruners) boast long handles so you can extend your reach without having to stretch too far. Like hedge shears, they feature telescopic handles so are fully adjustable. And like secateurs, are available in two designs - bypass and anvil (pictured).
Our loppers are available with:
Tools include: tree loppers, pruning saws, bow saws and axes.
Use to prune high, difficult to reach branches on taller trees
Tree loppers (also known as tree pruners) feature a long pole with a rope running along the length of it. This rope connects the handle at one end with the blades at the other, allowing you to safely control the blades at distance.
Our tree loppers are available with:
Use to cut coarse woody branches or stems
When a branch or stem is too thick to cut with secateurs or a lopper, a pruning saw is what you need. Designed with a variable-toothed blade, this allows for cutting on the pull and push stroke for faster sawing.
Our pruning saws are available with:
Use to cut thick hardwood branches
For branches that are too big for a pruning saw, the larger bow saw is a more effective cutting tool. More of a versatile home saw than just one for gardening, bow saws are used where heavy pruning work is necessary in less confined areas.
Our bow saws are available with:
For bigger tasks, consider a chainsaw. Head to our buying guide to find out more about this helpful power tool.
Use to cut the thickest branches, logs and small trees
When selecting an axe, look for one that suits your job and is comfortable to use (not too long or too heavy). Choose from the following axes.
Our axes are available with:
Once you’ve chosen your pruning tools, pick up a few further essentials to get the job done.
Get the best out of your cutting tool, time after time. To do so, you might need:
As with all tasks that require sharp tools, cutting and pruning plants in your garden carries some risk. Wearing gloves will ensure that you keep a good grip on your tools as well as protecting them from anything that could cut them. Choose those with leather as they’re thicker and offer more protection.
It’s also essential to protect your eyes from any splinters or debris by wearing safety goggles. And depending on the height of what you’re cutting, as well as how heavy the branches are, you may want to invest in a safety helmet to get protection for your face and head as well as your eyes.
Once you’ve completed your pruning, you’ll want to get rid of all the debris. Here are our top picks to help with the post-pruning clear up.