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Pruning Trees and Bushes with Hand Ratchet Pruners

The importance of pruning and trimming of bushes and trees around your property and how using a ratchet hand pruner can make the job even easier.

Author: Dave Berning
Date: Sep 19, 2011 - 3:42:13 PM

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Keeping a trimmed landscape around your home adds to the beauty, ease of ongoing maintenance, and safety of your property. Trimming a tree whose branches are brushing against the house will save on paint, help to keep squirrels and other critters off the roof, and will be much quieter in the wind. Wild, untrimmed bushes can leave many hidden areas for possible intruders to hide. This pruning and trimming of bushes and trees is a necessary job made easier with the use of ratchet hand pruners and trimmers, especially if your hands are smaller than average, weakened by arthritis or if you have larger branches to cut.

Most professional gardeners and landscapers use electric or pneumatic trimmers and pruners to keep a property neat and tidy. These tools, while very efficient and easy to use, are not cost-effective for the average homeowner. For them, the use of hand powered trimmers and pruners is the answer.

Regular hand pruners have one sharp blade closing on a flat surface, or anvil, to cut through branches and small limbs. It takes one consistent movement of the handles to close the blade on the branch to achieve the cut. As the handles of the pruning shears close the blade, the force required to continue the cut increases due to the handles getting closer together, requiring your hand to close almost completely to finish the cut. This action can tire your hand quickly and cause aches and pains both in your hands and in your wrists.

A ratchet tree pruner relieves the pressure needed to achieve the cut and can cut through even thicker branches than regular pruners. As you squeeze the handle and the blades close around the branch a small beginning cut is made. When you release pressure on the handles, they open up in ratchet fashion, leaving the blades closed on the branch. Squeezing the handles again from this wider, more comfortable position closes the blades on the branch more, making the cut deeper. This, in effect, multiplies the force you are able to exert on the cutting. Releasing the handle and squeezing again will cut further until the branch separates.

When the blade closes completely, the handles and blade open up for the next cut.

Keeping a sharp blade in the pruner is also necessary for the tool to operate efficiently. Many of these units have replaceable blades that can be easily changed. You will find yourself using much less force and able to trim larger branches for a longer period of time using ratchet pruners and trimmers.



Dave Berning was born and raised on a dairy farm in Ohio. He still enjoys working the land both on the family farm and his own backyard and garden. He owns and operates a lawn and garden supply company with his brother Mark. Visit them at



View all articles by Dave Berning

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