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A Snippet on Secates

Are you totally confident you know how to use secateurs so that neither your plants nor you are damaged?

Can you assertively say you are using them in the right way?

Secateurs are critical if you want to prune plants effectively and without causing accidental damage.  Here are some points on how to use them while staying safe at the same time.

Get the stem positioning right.  Before you cut a stem always ensure the cutting edges of the secateurs are in the ideal position.  The cutting action of secateurs will crush the stems.  There is always a near (retain) side and an off (discard) side to a cut.  When using bypass type secateurs always position the blade on the near side.  Aim to position the stem deep into the cutting edges (jaws) of the tool and make sure the branch is fully inserted into the secateurs before you make a cut.

Open and close the blades fully.  Never try snipping away at stems like you are using a pair of scissors.  This will simply lead to excessive hand stress and there is every possibility you will dull the blade of the snips by doing this.  Open the blade fully, position the stem correctly, and make a positive clip.

Use the correct hand position.  When you are pruning a lot of plants this can lead to soreness and hand fatigue.  To prevent this, use the bases of your fingers and the ball of your hand to squeeze the handles of the secateurs and get the maximum amount of leverage possible.

Watch what you cut.  Always pay close attention to positioning the tool when you are using a set of secateurs.  Pay extra attention if you have used metal ties to keep branches tucked away nice and neat.  Cut through these and you will probably damage the secateurs.  Avoid this basic mistake at all costs.

Clean and sharpen your secateurs.  After use, wearing gloves, wipe the blades of the secateurs clean.  If there is dirt engrained on the metal, use warm soapy water and a small stiff brush to clean away the grime, or get rid of plant sap with steel wool.  Sharpen the blades of the cutters regularly too.  You can use diluted methylated spirits to help remove the rust.  Using diluted methylated spirits also disinfects your blades so you aren’t transferring any potential pathogens between plants.

This will keep your secateurs in perfect working order.

Ref: General Secateurs Advice

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