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Unlike most manmade environments gardens require regular care and maintenance to look their best. This is particularity the case if an outside space has large quantities of plants and soft landscaping.
Lawns, herbaceous borders, shrubs and trees all need regular cutting back and pruning. This means there will always be a demand for good quality gardening cutters. Garden cutters come under many names, types and varieties. Some are heavy duty power tools which require mains power and some are regular hand tools.
The most common garden cutters are; Gardening Scissors, Secateurs, Shears, Loppers, Saws, Chainsaws, Brush cutters and mowers. Although all of these various cutting devices in terminology do a similar task in reality they are all very different.
Some garden cutters cut large tree branches, some cut through scrub and some cut grass. Consequently there are many tools which come under the distinction of 'garden cutters'. We have listed all types and their uses here so you can choose the correct garden cutter for your landscaping needs!
1. Garden scissors
Garden scissors within themselves are quite varied and wide ranging. However in general garden scissors are heavy duty scissors which can be used for gardening tasks. This can involve pruning of very light, feathery foliage and the cutting of landscape fabric or membrane.
Many other gardening tools are mistaken for gardening scissors including garden secateurs and shears. Below we have included a good example of heavy duty gardening scissors. Why not check out our article on garden scissors here.
2. Garden secateurs
Secateurs are a robust type of garden cutter suitable for pruning roses and shrubs. These are typically suitable for pruning softwood up a centimetre in thickness.
Garden secateurs are typically used for dead heading roses and pruning similar sized shrubs. Secateurs are similar to scissors in shape but have a much more robust form and sharper blades.
3. Electric garden shears
Electric hand shears are a relatively new invention and very effective garden cutter. Many of the current versions on the market come with an rechargeable, electric battery.
This allows you a very portable and lightweight garden cutter for all those hard to reach places. These are ideal for more detailed pruning for smaller shrub beds and even topiary. These shears are also great for clearing areas of overgrown weeds down to the ground.
4. Garden shears
Garden shears are a more traditional garden hand tool and basically work like scissors. Using a continuous snipping action these can trim rough hedgerows or finer more formal hedging.
Although today hedges are generally cut with mechanised trimmers some still prefer these man powered cutters. Some argue that these traditional garden shears give you more control that mechanised trimmers.
They certainly give you more exercise and if looked after will last much longer that petrol or electric garden cutters.
5. Garden edging shears
Edging shears are similar to traditional garden shears but are specifically designed to cut the edge of lawns. These garden cutters have long handles and blades orientated at a right angle.
This makes it easy for them to cut outward facing blades of grass close to the lawn itself. Edging shears are made to be operated by hand but strimmer's can also be used to edge lawns.
6. Long handled pruning shears
Long handled pruners are extremely useful for getting to those hard to reach parts of the garden. These garden cutters generally have two separate pruning attachments, a pruning saw and a lopper attachment.
The lopper attachment can be used to harvest high up fruit or cut hard to reach branches. The cutting blade is usually activated by a cord or lever attachment. The saw is perfect for reaching deep into thorny brush and simply motioned back and forth to cut.
7. Garden loppers
Loppers are very similar to bolt croppers but designed to cut thick and woody branches. Loppers can be used to prune larger stock such as hedges and fruit trees.
The combination of mechanical leverage and a sharp blades makes it very effective. These garden cutters come in a range of sizes and materials but are widely available.
8. Pruning saws
Pruning saws are a curved landscaping saw typically activated using one hand. These are extremely efficient at cutting though surprisingly thick branches. Pruning saws come in many different variations including foldable and extendable saws.
9. Bow saws
Bow saws are heavy duty hand saws which are great for tackling larger, green branches. These saws consist of a bow frame which adds tension to the blade and is adjustable.
The blades long, serrated teeth are perfect for cutting into wet or green timber full of sap. The blades can be easily replaced when blunt and detach from the main frame.
Chainsaws are very powerful and effective garden cutters perfect for cutting large limbs and felling trees. The fast rotating motor spins a metal cutting blade which eats into green timber with ease.
Chainsaw blades do need to be sharpened regularly to keep them working efficiently. These mechanical cutters are dangerous and should only be used by a trained professional.
11. Pole chainsaws
Pole chainsaws work in exactly the same way as traditional chainsaws but are much smaller. These are perfect for more nimble garden cutting in hard to reach places.
There are many different types of pole chainsaw on the market of varying lengths and chain sizes. Pole chainsaws are generally petrol powered but there are some electric devices now on the market.
12. Hedge trimmers
Hedge trimmers are mechanical devices which can be powered by petrol or electricity. These powerful garden cutters are designed to cut a wide range of hedging types.
From fine textured yew and leylandii to more robust species like hawthorn and beech. Hedge trimmers are perfect for maintaining hedges into neat and tidy landscape features.
13. Garden brush cutters
Brush cutters are mechanical garden cutters which have a powerful, rotating, cutting blade. Brush cutters typically come as an attachment which can be fixed to strimmer's. In fact most petrol strimmer's on the market do come with a brush cutter attachment.
Brush cutters are very effective at powering through dense thickets of woody steamed weeds. These can include blackberry thickets and nettle patches, perfect for garden clearances.
14. Garden multi tools
Garden multi-tools are relatively new phenomena and combine a multitude of garden functions. They do this by having a central engine unit with a long driving shaft and several attachments.
These attachments have a series of various garden cutting functions. Typical attachments include; pole chainsaw, hedge trimmer, strimmer and brush cutter blades. This makes garden multi-tools extremely versatile, perfect for a wide range of garden cutting.
15. Garden mowers
Garden mowers are one of the most typical garden cutters there are on the market today. These machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, styles and makes.
From small, electrical garden mowers to large, industrial machines they are extremely common. However all these cutters work in pretty much the same way. They have a fast rotating blade which cuts grass at very high speed resulting in a neat and uniform cut.
16. Robot lawn mowers
Robot lawn mowers are now becoming very common in gardens across the developed world. These Robotic devices will automatically maintain your lawn without the need for a command.
These sophisticated, garden cutters dock at their charging station when they are not working. The robots have a central computer which maps out your lawn area and cuts it at a high frequency.
This leads to a well manicured lawn all year being actually better for the grass than conventional cutting. Why not check out our article on Robot lawn mowers here.
Thank you for reading our article on different types of garden cutters. We hope you found it useful!
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Paul Nicolaides is a Landscape architect and garden builder with over 30 years experience in designing, building and maintaining gardens. Contemplating just how important garden space is for nature and recreation he created 'Cool Garden Gadgets' to explore the best gadgets for enhancing outside spaces. From outdoor dining ideas to the latest garden technology we break it down for you here.