Garden Tool Series – Hand Tools


Hand-held pruners are used for trimming and shaping plants, deadheading spent flowers, cutting back perennials, and removing small branches.  There are two basic kinds of garden pruners. Bypass pruners have blades that slip by each other like scissors and only one sharp blade.  Anvil pruners have a sharp blade that cuts the stem on the flat blade (anvil).  Pruners can handle stems up to about five inches, although a ratcheting anvil pruner may allow you to cut somewhat larger stems.


Loppers have long handles and cut branches up to about 2.5 inches thick. Some grab the branch after it is cut and others have a ratcheting mechanism that allows the lopper to grab the branch while you are releasing and reengaging the handles.  Loppers require a fair amount of strength to cut through larger branches, however the ratcheting lopper allows more strength to be applied.


Clippers have steel blades and soft rubber handles and are used like sideways scissors to cut grasses and trim bushes and hedges.

Planting Tools

 Smaller hand tools like trowels, weeders, cultivators and transplanters can often be purchased in a set or kit.  The trowel digs holes for small plants or seedlings and can scoop potting soil from bags.  The weeder has a forked end on a longer shaft that works well for digging deep rooted weeds. The cultivator has tines that help scratch fertilizer into the soil or scratch out large weed patches.  The transplanter looks like a trowel but is narrower and has depth marks on the surface to aid in planting bulbs to the right depth or planting seedlings to the same depth as they were in their pots.