How to Use a Pruning Knife


Gardeners no longer rely as much on pruning knives as they previously did since high-tech shears and clippers are now readily accessible. However, these devices in the form of a hook, which are similar in appearance to carpet knives, are helpful when delicacy is needed. You may easily cut tiny stems up to half an inch in diameter with a sharp pruning knife, and you can clean up the bark on bigger stems that you’ve lopped with shears using a pruning knife instead. It is essential to preserve your pruning knife in a state of sharpness, cleanliness, and secure storage while it is not in use. {{!! -!! When sculpting a hanging vine, such as English ivy (Hedera helix), which can withstand colder temperatures in the United States, you could find yourself reaching for a pruning knife. Plant hardiness zones 4 through 9 according to the United States Department of Agriculture. This ubiquitous wall cover is robust, and it requires careful management to prevent it from rapidly covering windows and doors. In fact, it is vigorous enough to displace native species in the Pacific Northwest, where it is regarded as an invasive species. {{!! -!! By holding a leaf away from you, placing strain on the stem, and cutting with a sharp slicing motion away from your body, you may use the pruning knife to chop back undesired growth in a vine such as this one. To ensure that the plant remains healthy, trim the stems at a distance of at least half an inch from the branch from which they are developing. {{!! -!! When larger woody branches are lopped or sawn off, it is common for little bits of bark to be left hanging from the branch. A pruning knife is an effective instrument for removing these bark fragments. You should be holding the knife so that the blade is practically parallel to the stem. Then, using a swift motion away from your body, you should chop the ragged portions off the stem. Your hand should direct the movement of the knife, and the hooked portion of the blade should perform the job. It is preferable to utilise a single sweeping motion with the hand rather than a cutting action. {{!! -!! It just takes a few simple steps to ensure that your knife is always ready for the precise task that it was designed for while also preventing illness in your plants:!! -!! When you are through using your knife for the day, put it through a rubbing alcohol disinfection process using either 70, 90, or 91 percent alcohol. You might also use mouthwash that contains alcohol at full strength; however, you should avoid using bleach since it causes metal to rust. It is important to sanitise the blade between each cut if you are going to be performing a lot of pruning or cutting numerous plants. Mineral oil should be rubbed over the blade, and then the blade should be folded back into its holder before the knife is placed away. Keep your knife safe by keeping it in the case that it comes in if it can’t be folded up. On a regular basis, you should use a whetstone to sharpen the blade. After soaking the whetstone in water for ten minutes, continue sharpening it while keeping it lubricated with water at all times. Hold the blade at an angle of 10 to 15 degrees with regard to the stone, and pull it away from your body in the direction opposite to your body. While you are drawing, bring the handle closer to the stone to ensure that the inside of the hook becomes sharpened.

Pruning a Vine

You might reach for a pruning knife when detailing a hanging vine — for example, English Ivy (Hedera helix), which is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. This common wall cover is vigorous and needs assiduous control to prevent it from quickly covering windows and doors; in fact, it’s vigorous enough to take over from native species in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s considered invasive.

Use the pruning knife to cut back unwanted growth in a vine such as this by holding a leaf away from you, putting tension on the stem and cutting with a sharp slicing motion away from your body. Keep the plant healthy by cutting stems at least 1/2 inch away from the branch from which they’re growing.

Cleaning Up Saw or Lopper Cuts

When you lop or saw larger woody branches, small pieces of bark are often left hanging, and a pruning knife is a good tool for cleaning these up. Holding the knife with the blade almost parallel to the stem, and slice the ragged pieces off the stem with a quick motion away from your body. Allow your hand to lead the knife and let the hooked part of the blade do the work. Don’t use a cutting motion — a single swipe of the hand is best.

Caring for Your Knife

A few basic procedures keep your knife ready for the delicate work it’s intended for, while protecting your plants from disease:

Sterilize your knife with 70, 90 or 91 percent rubbing alcohol when you’re done with it for the day. You can also use full-strength alcohol-based mouthwash, but avoid bleach, which corrodes metal. If you’re doing a lot of trimming or cutting several plants, sterilize the blade between cuts as well. Rub mineral oil on the blade, and fold the blade into its holder when you put the knife away. If your knife isn’t foldable, store it in the case in which it came. Sharpen the blade periodically on a whetstone. Immerse the whetstone in water for 10 minutes and keep it lubricated with water while sharpening. Keep the blade at a 10- to 15-degree angle with respect to the stone, and draw it away from your body. Move the handle toward the stone as you draw to ensure the inside of the hook gets sharpened.