Pruners or Loppers?
When pruning, Roger Cook explains the best tools for the job
Over the years, I’ve acquired all sorts of pruners and loppers, both the bypass and anvil types. When should I use each kind?
—Bob Roth, Dennis, MA
Bypass pruners, and bypass loppers like the one pictured, have a curved blade that sweeps past a lower jaw. Use them to make clean cuts in live branches, which is 90 percent of most pruning. The anvil types have a straight blade that strikes a metal plate. Their cuts tend to crush, so use them only on dead wood. Hand pruners are meant for twigs and branches no more than ½ inch across. Most loppers can handle branches up to 2 inches thick, thanks to the leverage of their long handles. This 30-inch Centurion lopper has telescoping handles and a geared jaw. Together, they multiply leverage twofold.