If you are getting your yard ready this spring for a beautiful, green, and luxurious warm season, then pruning may be on your list of required maintenance tasks. Pruning can be completed by homeowners successfully, but it does require the right tools. Pruning and trimming tools also need to be quite sharp. Keep reading to learn why and also how you can sharpen your shears properly.
What Do Pruning Tools Need To Be Sharp?
Pruning shears should also be sharp for several different reasons. If you make blunt cuts when pruning, you will likely crush branches in the process. The crushing can leave an open wound where insects, mildew, and other microorganisms can attack the tree. This can lead to a serious decay issue.
Crushing is also more likely to damage and tear the tree bark. When the bark is damaged or removed from a branch, the tree's vascular system is damaged. This system allows water and nutrients to flow up the tree to the upper levels of the canopy. If the vascular tissues are damaged, the immediate area will not receive the nutrition it needs and the overall tree will be affected as well.
If your crush a number of branches in your attempt to prune, then many wounds will develop. While a tree will likely compartmentalize the various wounds so that healing can take place, much of the tree's energy reserves will be needed for this. Growth may then be stunted for one or more seasons, and the tree will likely be stressed and more likely to develop a disease in the meantime.
How Can Pruning Tools Be Sharpened?
While you can purchase special tools to sharpen your pruning tools, you can also use a piece of sandpaper for this fairly easily. A piece of fine grit sandpaper that is 300 to 360 grit is a good choice for this. When you have your sandpaper, open the shears and place them down on a piece of wood or a table. Look at the cutting edge on the blade and observe the angle. The blade angle is typically about 10 or 15 degrees and fairly shallow when compared to the rest of the blade.
Matching the angle on the blade, hold your piece of sandpaper and start moving it up the blade and away from you with medium pressure. Start back at the blade edge and work the sandpaper up the blade again. Complete this same motion about 15 times and then sharpen the other side of the blade. When you are done, flip the sheers over and sharpen the underside of the blades.
When you are done sharpening, try to cut a piece of paper. If the blades easily pass through, then try cutting a tree branch.
For more help, contact a service like Brown's Tree Service.