Getting the best from your Loppers
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOPPERS
Shrub and Tree Pruning with Loppers is always rather a tricky subject to get your head around when you’re a novice, but with a bit of time studying the plant needed pruning you’ll be amazed at your handy work. Like everything in and around the garden, it’s about using the right tool for the right job, and Secateurs are no exception.
To help work out which way to prune you need to choose between the two main styles and cutting effects. Both types of Loppers are designed for easy pruning around the garden or for different types of professional use. The anvil and bypass cutting actions are completely different – and for good reason.
> Choose the quality to satisfy what you intend to use them for and how long you intend them to last. For use around the property, most people can expect satisfactory service from a mid-range priced Lopper. If you intend to earn your living from this type of work, the very best quality you can afford will give you a hardworking, longer lasting tool. Beware of cheaply constructed Loppers that are likely to break in a cut.
Anvil Loppers have one sharpened top blade that cuts down on a flat soft metal block, they work like a chopping board. Anvil Loppers allow for very precise heavy-duty cutting and are great for cutting away old dead wood branches. The flat soft metal block helps control the cut accurately through the wood, more so than the bypass types. Anvil types are excellent on dead wood, where an accurate clean cut is required. Anvil cutting cuts cleanly with no bark tearing which can cause disease or rot to enter the plant wound. For mass production pruning, Anvil Loppers would be considered a bit slow. Some Anvil Loppers have a fulcrum gearing option to allow for a more powerful cutting action. Some have extended handles for greater purchase at the cutting blades. Anvil Loppers can be used successfully with all and every pruning action. Make sure they have large diameter, heavy-duty steel or stronger oval shaped aluminium handles for extra strength, as well as comfort grips.
Keep your Loppers as sharp as possible at all times. A light dressing with a small industrial flat file on the main cutting blade prior to use, plus a light lubrication of the pivot bolt area – little but often. Loppers cut between 20mm to 60mm diameter branches. We recommend also carrying a small 200mm fold-knife Pruning Saw to be used on 35mm to 75mm branches, instead of or as well as your Loppers, which can be easily carried in your hip pocket for convenience.
By-Pass Loppers have two sharpened blades, the top elliptical blade must be thin and razor sharp. The bottom blade is curve shaped with a high-sharpened angle to create a guillotine affect as the blades by-pass each other. They work rather like a pair of industrial scissors. By-Pass Loppers are by far the more familiar and widely used. By-Pass Loppers come in a huge and varied range of blade shapes. The tighter the top blade curve, the more strength can be applied to the cutter. Choose a close engineered ‘parrot-beak’ Lopper with a top elliptical curved blade – this will create a slicing action on the bottom slightly hooked blade. Some high quality Loppers have a drop-forged heat-treated lower pointed blade, especially designed for the horticultural, viticulture and kiwifruit industry – this allows for fast, close-lopping cuts at close quarters beside the vine tension wires. Other heavy-duty Loppers have large symmetrical blades top and bottom for forestry pruning. These styles of Lopper are not necessary for around the home. While it’s great to own both types of Lopper, the By-Pass type would have to be the universal choice. Make sure they have large diameter, heavy-duty steel, fiberglass or stronger oval shaped aluminium handles for extra strength, as well as comfort grips.
When pruning fruit trees, remove the inside branches first. Ask yourself, can a bird fly through the tree without hitting an internal branch or twig?
There's a great range of quality high-reach Pole Loppers available, perfect for cutting those trickier higher branches. The Loppers are fitted to extension poles, which are telescopic and can easily be adjusted to the correct cut height with ease. The most popular high-end brand of Pole Lopper is the Wolfgarten. It uses a unique Wolfgarten multi-star system to attach the cutting tool to a 4m telescopic pole. The multi-star system also boasts a range of other useful attachment tools to fit the same telescopic pole – all at high-reach – including pruning saws, fruit pickers, window cleaners and more.
For the best quality and value we recommend checking these must have requirements:
European, Japanese or Taiwanese brands generally make the best quality.
The blade opening should be around 50-60mm.
By-Pass Blade: close and tight parrot-beak shape is best.
Handles should be oval in shape, rather than circular, with heat-treated aluminium or heavy-duty steel.
Extendable handles and double gearing for extra cutting performance can be useful.
A maximum cutting capacity of around 40-45mm.
Drop-forged and heat-treated, hardened and tempered high-tensile steel blades are a must.
Certified International Hardness rating of between 51-53 on the HRC scale.
Optional gum grooves to stop sticking.
Comfort grip for easier use.
Look for heavy-duty, commercial use design, with a commercial warranty.
Heat-treated pivot bolt.
Can be easily dismantled for servicing and precision sharpening.
Try to avoid the following:
Avoid lightweight, low price Pruners. They will break.
Avoid stamped out cutters.
Avoid any Lopper with no commercial warranty.
Avoid any Loppers that fail with the blades spreading apart.