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By Dennis Walker

Why does it have to be so difficult and complicated to buy a pair of pruners? Visiting the local garden centre there is a range of tools of different ones priced at anything from a fiver to nearly forty quid [pounds]! When all you are looking for is a pair of glorified scissors, how do you know which ones to buy? The shop obviously as helpful as they might be, the reality is that all they really want is for you to spend as much money as possible. Or am I just being cynical?
So, what should I look for, apart from price? Before you even go that far, you need to think about what you need your hand pruners for. For example, do you intend pruning an entire vineyard by hand, prune one or two roses and shrubs, or just cut flowers for arranging indoors?

If you do have to prune that vineyard and you have a standard pair of pruners, no matter how much you spend you will end up with repetitive strain injury in your wrist or fingers. So what you need is battery powered electronic pruning shears, produced by a French company, called Infaco SA and sold by a company in Kent, called Sayell Equipment.

These wisso pruners will do masses of heavy duty vineyard, or orchard pruning at the touch of a button from a rechargable battery. Needless to say these wonderful toys ain't cheap! But specialist requirements need specialist tools, which cost money. For the rest of the normal gardening population, who only do a medium amount of pruning from time to time throughout the season, something a little less elaborate is required.

So, what we need is a good quality pair of pruners that will remain sharp, require little or no maintenance and not cost the earth. They will also need to feel good and comfortable to use and if your not too strong, in the finger department: not too heavy to use.

So, the first thing to do, is a little research. Talk to all your gardening friends, what do they use and are they happy with them, or do they drive them bonkers! If you're lucky enough to have a professional gardener look after your domain, what does he, or she use? What do the staff, them that actually does the work behind the scenes, use? From all this, you will probably have discovered that most of them use pruners made by the Swiss company, Felco. Not only do they make heavy duty varieties, those for the left-handed, but they also make a lightweight version.

The only down side, you may think anyway, is the price, from about £25. Their are very similar pruners made by other companies, such as, Stihl, Draper, Woolf and Spear & Jackson. But you may find they won't stay so sharp for so long. You probably won't be able to get replacement parts and there are even companies who you can send your Felcos to and have them serviced, from time to time, replacing any parts and generally making them good as new. (Speaking personally, I have used all sorts over the years, but for the last 15 years or so, have used Felcos, and wouldn't be without 'em.)

You might think this is all a lot of hooey and that felco must be paying me loads for the plug (not so). My advice is, if you're only prepared to shell out a fiver, do so. You'll probably be cross in a few years time after you're on the fourth or fifth pair!


Until next time, happy pruning!







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