Pruning shears, also known as secateurs, are an essential tool for gardeners and landscapers. These handheld cutting tools are designed to trim and shape plants, making them a valuable asset for maintaining the health and appearance of gardens, orchards, and other green spaces. In this glossary, we will explore what pruning shears are, how they work, and the different types available in the market.

What are Pruning Shears?

Pruning shears are specialized cutting tools used for trimming and pruning plants. They consist of two sharp blades that are operated by handles, allowing users to make precise cuts on branches, stems, and other plant parts. These shears are designed to provide clean and accurate cuts, promoting healthy growth and preventing damage to the plants.

How do Pruning Shears Work?

Pruning shears work by utilizing a scissor-like cutting action. When the handles are squeezed together, the blades come together to make a clean cut. The sharpness of the blades ensures that the cut is smooth and does not crush or tear the plant tissue. Some pruning shears have a bypass design, where one blade slides past the other, while others have an anvil design, where one blade presses against a flat surface. Both designs have their advantages and are suitable for different types of pruning tasks.

Types of Pruning Shears

There are several types of pruning shears available in the market, each designed for specific pruning tasks. Here are some common types:

1. Bypass Pruning Shears

Bypass pruning shears are the most commonly used type of pruning shears. They have two curved blades that bypass each other when making a cut, similar to a pair of scissors. This design allows for precise cuts on live branches and stems, making them ideal for pruning live plants.

2. Anvil Pruning Shears

Anvil pruning shears have a single straight blade that cuts against a flat surface, known as the anvil. This design is suitable for cutting dead or dry branches, as the anvil provides a solid surface for the blade to press against. Anvil pruning shears are also useful for cutting thicker branches that bypass shears may struggle to handle.

3. Ratchet Pruning Shears

Ratchet pruning shears are designed with a mechanism that allows for easier cutting of thicker branches. They have a ratchet system that increases cutting power with each squeeze of the handles, making it less strenuous for the user. These shears are particularly useful for individuals with weaker hand strength or when dealing with tougher pruning tasks.

4. Electric Pruning Shears

Electric pruning shears are powered by electricity or rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need for manual effort. These shears are ideal for individuals who have a large amount of pruning work or for those who may have difficulty using traditional pruning shears. Electric pruning shears are generally more expensive but can significantly reduce pruning time and effort.

5. Long-Handled Pruning Shears

Long-handled pruning shears, also known as loppers, have longer handles that provide increased leverage and reach. These shears are suitable for cutting thicker branches and can be used to reach higher branches without the need for a ladder. The extended handles allow for greater cutting power and control, making them a popular choice for professional landscapers and arborists.


In conclusion, pruning shears are essential tools for maintaining the health and appearance of plants. Whether you are a gardening enthusiast or a professional landscaper, having the right pruning shears can make a significant difference in the quality of your work. By understanding the different types of pruning shears available and their specific uses, you can choose the most suitable tool for your pruning needs. Remember to always follow proper pruning techniques and maintain the sharpness of your shears for optimal performance.