Every handyman should have loppers, as they are among the most useful tools. However, what is loppers used for and which pair is ideal for you? When and how should I use this instrument for cutting and trimming? In this guide, we’ll address all of these questions and more.
What Are Loppers?
Loppers are a type of pruning tool that is commonly used in gardening and landscaping. They are designed to cut through thicker branches and stems than standard pruning shears or scissors, typically up to 2 inches in diameter.
Loppers consist of two long handles with sharp blades at the end of one handle, and a hook or notch at the end of the other handle to hold the branch or stem in place while cutting. The blades may be curved or straight and can be made of steel, carbon fibre, or other materials. Some loppers have adjustable blades to allow for different cutting angles and widths.
Loppers come in various sizes and designs, including bypass loppers, which work like scissors to make a clean cut on live branches, and anvil loppers, which work by pressing a blade against a flat surface to cut through dead or dry branches.
Loppers are versatile tools for pruning trees, shrubs, and other plants, and are often used by professionals and hobbyists alike. They are an essential tool for maintaining the health and appearance of a garden or landscape.
What Are Loppers Used For And Which Pair Is Ideal For You?
Loppers are primarily used for cutting thick branches and stem in gardening and landscaping. They are an essential tool for maintaining the health and appearance of trees, shrubs, and other plants.
When choosing a pair of loppers, it’s important to consider the size of the branches you will be cutting, as well as your physical strength and comfort. If you will be cutting thicker branches, you will want a pair of loppers with longer handles and heavier blades, as this will provide more leverage and power. If you have smaller hands or limited upper body strength, you may want to choose a lighter pair of loppers with shorter handles.
Other factors to consider when choosing loppers include the type of blades (curved or straight), the blade material (steel, carbon fibre, etc.), and the overall quality and durability of the tool. It’s also important to choose a pair of loppers with comfortable handles, as you may be using them for extended periods.
Ultimately, the ideal pair of loppers for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It’s a good idea to try out different types of loppers before purchasing to find the pair that feels most comfortable and effective for you.
When To Use Loppers?
Loppers are versatile tools that can be used in many different situations for pruning trees, shrubs, and other plants. Here are some common situations when loppers are particularly useful:
- Removing dead or damaged branches: Loppers are ideal for cutting through thick, dead, or damaged branches that are too large for pruning shears or scissors.
- Shaping shrubs and hedges: Loppers can be used to shape and trim shrubs and hedges, particularly when the branches are too thick or woody for pruning shears.
- Thinning overgrown plants: When plants become overgrown, loppers can be used to selectively remove branches to thin out the plant and encourage healthy growth.
- Harvesting fruit and flowers: Loppers can be used to harvest fruit from trees and bushes, as well as to cut flowers for arrangements.
- Cutting back perennials: Loppers are useful for cutting back perennials after they have finished flowering to promote new growth.
Overall, loppers are a versatile and essential tool for any gardener or landscaper. They are particularly useful for cutting through thicker branches and stems that are too large for other pruning tools and can be used in a variety of situations to maintain the health and appearance of plants.
How To Use Loppers?
Here are some general steps for using loppers effectively:
1. Choose The Right Pair Of Loppers For The Job:
Choosing the right pair of loppers is important for getting the job done efficiently and effectively. Here are some tips for choosing the right pair of loppers for the job:
- Consider the size of the branches you will be cutting: Choose loppers with longer handles and heavier blades if you will be cutting thicker branches. If you will be cutting smaller branches, you may be able to use loppers with shorter handles and lighter blades.
- Choose the right blade type: There are two main types of lopper blades – bypass blades and anvil blades. Bypass blades work like scissors and are good for making clean cuts on live branches, while anvil blades work by pressing a blade against a flat surface and are better suited for cutting through dead or dry branches.
- Look for comfortable handles: Choose loppers with comfortable handles that feel good in your hands. Look for handles with a good grip, as this will help prevent slipping.
- Consider the blade material: Lopper blades can be made of various materials, including steel, carbon fibre, and other materials. Choose blades made of high-quality materials that will be durable and long-lasting.
- Check the blade alignment: Make sure the blades are properly aligned and that they close tightly together when you squeeze the handles.
By considering these factors, you can choose the right pair of loppers for the job at hand, whether you are pruning trees, trimming hedges, or cutting back perennials.
2. Identify The Branch To Be Cut:
Before using loppers to cut a branch, it’s important to properly identify the branch you want to cut. Here are some tips for identifying the branch to be cut:
- Examine the tree or shrub: Look at the plant you want to prune and identify the branches that need to be removed. Consider the overall shape of the plant and how you want to shape it.
- Look for dead or damaged branches: Dead or damaged branches should be removed to promote plant health and prevent further damage.
- Identify crossing or rubbing branches: Branches that cross or rub against each other can cause damage and should be removed.
- Look for diseased or insect-infested branches: Diseased or insect-infested branches should be removed to prevent the spread of disease or pests to the rest of the plant.
- Consider the size of the branch: Loppers are best used for cutting branches that are too thick for pruning shears but not large enough to require a pruning saw. Identify branches that are the right size for loppers.
Once you have identified the branch to be cut, make sure to position the loppers correctly around the branch before cutting. This will help ensure a clean, even cut and prevent damage to the plant.
3. Position The Loppers:
Positioning the loppers properly around the branch to be cut is important for making a clean, precise cut and avoiding damage to the plant. Here are some tips for positioning the loppers:
- Hold the loppers with both hands: To ensure stability and control, hold the loppers with both hands. This will help you apply even pressure to the handles and make a clean cut.
- Position the blades around the branch: Open the blades of the loppers and position them around the branch to be cut. Make sure the blades are lined up properly with the branch.
- Use the notch or hook: Most loppers have a hook or notch on the bottom handle that helps hold the branch in place while you cut. Make sure the branch is securely held in the hook or notch.
- Ensure proper blade alignment: The blades of the loppers should be aligned properly with each other and with the branch to be cut. Make sure the blades are tight against the branch and will make a clean cut.
- Choose the right spot for the cut: Identify the right spot on the branch for the cut. You want to cut just above a bud or leaf node, leaving a small amount of the branch remaining. This will help the plant heal more quickly and promote healthy growth.
By following these steps, you can position the loppers properly for an effective and safe cut. Remember to use your upper body strength when closing the lopper blades, rather than just your arms, to ensure a clean and even cut.
4. Use The Loppers To Make The Cut:
After positioning the loppers around the branch to be cut, it’s time to use them to cut. Here are the steps to follow:
- Close the lopper blades: Use your upper body strength to squeeze the handles of the loppers together. This will cause the blades to close around the branch.
- Cut cleanly through the branch: Continue to apply pressure until the lopper blades cut cleanly through the branch. Make sure to use a smooth and steady motion, rather than jerking or twisting the loppers.
- Remove the cut branch: After cutting, release the pressure on the handles and remove the cut branch from the loppers.
- Inspect the cut: Check the cut to make sure it is clean and even. If there are any jagged edges or tears, use a pruning saw or hand pruners to clean up the cut.
- Move on to the next branch: If you have more branches to cut, repeat the process by positioning the loppers around the next branch and making the cut.
Remember to take breaks as needed and to stay aware of your surroundings while using loppers. Always wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, to prevent injury. With proper technique and care, loppers can be a useful tool for pruning and shaping plants.
5. Inspect The Cut:
After cutting with loppers, it’s important to inspect the cut to ensure it is clean and even. Here are some steps to follow:
- Look at the cut: Examine the cut closely to make sure it is smooth and even. Check for any signs of tearing, shredding or splintering, as these can indicate a dull or improperly positioned lopper blade.
- Check for damage: Make sure the cut did not damage any nearby branches or the trunk of the plant. If you notice any damage, you may need to adjust your technique or use a different tool.
- Check for disease or pests: Look for any signs of disease or pests on the cut branch or on the cut itself. If you notice any signs, remove the branch from the area to prevent the spread of disease or pests.
- Clean the blades: Clean the blades of the loppers with a disinfectant or rubbing alcohol before moving on to the next cut. This helps prevent the spread of disease or pests to other plants.
By inspecting the cut, you can ensure that the pruning was done effectively and with minimal damage to the plant. This will promote healthy growth and prevent problems in the future.
6. Repeat As Necessary:
Once you have inspected the cut and are satisfied with the results, you can move on to the next branch and repeat the process as necessary. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Choose the right branch: Identify the branch that needs to be pruned based on the goals of your pruning. Look for branches that are dead, damaged, or rubbing against other branches.
- Position the loppers: Position the loppers properly around the branch to be cut, using the techniques we discussed earlier.
- Cut: Use the loppers to make a clean and even cut through the branch.
- Inspect the cut: Check the cut for cleanliness and evenness, and make any necessary adjustments or follow-up cuts.
- Move on to the next branch: Once you are satisfied with the cut, move on to the next branch and repeat the process.
Remember to take breaks as needed and to work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the plant. With practice, you will become more confident and efficient in using loppers for pruning.
7. Clean And Maintain The Loppers:
Cleaning and maintaining your loppers is essential to ensure their longevity and proper function. Here are some steps to follow:
- Clean the blades: After each use, wipe the blades with a clean, dry cloth to remove any debris. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to clean dirt and sap from the blades.
- Disinfect the blades: To prevent the spread of disease or pests, disinfect the blades with rubbing alcohol or a disinfectant solution.
- Sharpen the blades: Over time, the blades of loppers can become dull. You can sharpen them with a sharpening stone or file. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sharpening and be sure to maintain the correct bevel angle.
- Check the pivot bolt: Check the pivot bolt to ensure it is tight. If it is loose, use a wrench to tighten it.
- Oil the blades: Apply a light coating of oil to the blades to prevent rust and keep them lubricated.
- Store the loppers properly: Store the loppers in a dry place, away from moisture and sunlight. You can also wrap the blades in a clean cloth or use a blade cover to protect them.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your loppers will help them function properly and last longer. It will also ensure that you are using a safe and effective tool for pruning.
Remember, safety is important when using loppers. Wear gloves and eye protection, and never attempt to cut branches that are too thick for your loppers or that are at an awkward angle. Always use your loppers with care and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.
Loppers are versatile tools that can make pruning and cutting branches easier and more efficient. When using loppers, it’s important to choose the right pair for the job, position them properly, and use them with care to prevent damage to the plant. Inspecting the cut after pruning and cleaning and maintaining your loppers regularly are also important steps to ensure their longevity and effectiveness.
By following these tips, you can use loppers effectively and enjoy a healthier, more beautiful garden or landscape.
I hope you find this article very helpful.