Have you ever wanted to be a garden sculptor? The Hedge Shears are the hand tools for this gardening task. Also, you can use the hedge clippers to give and maintain a simple geometric shape to perennial plants and shape hedges that have small leaves and dense growth.
What are Hedge shears
Sometimes they are called hedge clippers, manual hedge trimmers or hand-held hedge trimmers. The hedge shears are gardening hand tools that look like large scissors because they have very long sharp blades. Of all the garden shears tools, the hedge shears are most widely used as hedge cutters, tools for cutting hedges, hence the first word of the name “hedge shears”.
What are the different types of shears for hedges
There are two basic types of hedge shears:
- The first type is a hedge clipper with straight blades. This type is best for accurate and clean cuts. They should be used for trimming and shaping very thin branches and soft stems of plants.
- The second type is a hedge clipper with wavy blades. These hedge shears are specially designed for more extensive trimming and can cut thicker branches. This doesn’t mean that you should use them to cut woody branches. Yes, they can cut them but the feedback will tire you quickly.
Where can you use hedge shears?
You can use them in your garden and for your bushy privacy border fences. They will help you give health, shapes to plants and make the best hedges. However, you should keep in your mind that these shapes will not be so oval.
Also, they can help you to trim very thin branches of small trees, bushes, boxwood, hedges, shrubs and decorative topiary plants. These hedge clippers are perfect for plants with dense foliage and to maintain a beautiful hedge.
Why should you get hedge clippers for your garden?
Hedges should be pruned two to three times a year, or at least once a year. Unlike other hand tools for garden, the hedge shears can help you accomplish these gardening jobs. Though not enough for heavy duty trimming, these manual hedge trimmers are able to cut multiple stems at once and trim borders quicker than the other shears tools.
How to choose a hedge shears
Typically, to choose the best hedge clipper for your garden you should take into consideration the handle and the material of it’s blades. In addition, you should consider the length, but most importantly the weight of this garden tool.
Almost all the models on the market claim that they have comfortable ergonomic handles with good grip. Some of them have an anti-slip material. They can be wooden, steel, aluminum or plastic. Speaking of handles and grips, it is highly recommended to wear gardening gloves when using garden hand tools.
Generally, hedge shears with anti-stick coating, rust-resistant (like teflon coating) blades are good to have. For blade material you should avoid hedge clippers with blades made of Chinese steel. If you can’t avoid it, then seek the models that have blades made of 65Mn steel. It’s not water resistant but at least it is tough and easy to sharpen. Typically, shorter blades offer better accuracy. On the other hand, longer blades offer better reach.
Similarly, to blades’ length the total length of the hedge shears will offer you better reach. Fortunately, there are some long-handled hedge shears that have telescopic extendable handles. The hedge clippers with extendable handles are very versatile.
You should opt for a lightweight garden hand tool. A lightweight hedge shear is easy to handle and less burdensome. Typically, the manual hedge trimmers with aluminum handles are the most lightweight.
Other considerations for hedge clippers
Selecting a well-made tool will make using a hedge shears work much easier. Many hedge shears models come with special mechanisms that multiply their trim and cut strength. If you are planning to do a lot of hedging then a proper shock absorption mechanism of the tool is crucial to your arms and hands health. Usually this “mechanism” is just two small bumbers that soften the impact and minimize vibrations when cutting and trimming.
Manual hedge trimmers vs hedge trimmers
It’s obvious that shears for hedges are very quiet, unlike the loud motorized hedge trimmers. Additionally, they are less expensive and easier to operate and maintain. On the other hand, hedge shears aren’t perfect for every trimming or cutting. They can frustrate you and strain your wrists and muscles if used for a long time continuously. If you have to do some heavy-duty trimming job then you should consider using an electric hedge clipper like a hedge trimmer. Not a gas hedge trimmer however, because the gas-powered ones are intended for professional uses – mostly.
Hedge shears vs pruning shears
Hedge shears are great for cutting soft, green branches fast. However, you should avoid using them to cut woody branches or wooden stems. And if you have to deal with thicker than half inch branches then leave the cutting to pruning sears and lopper garden hand tools.
Hedge clippers maintenance
Hedge shears are part of the garden shears family so their maintenance procedure is the same as that for pruning shears.
- Remove leaves and other plant remains. You may need a brush to clean the blades properly.
- Clean your shears with water after each use.
- When working on unhealthy plants use a household disinfectant diluted 1 to 4 or rubbing alcohol to disinfect the blades and prevent the spread of diseases.
- Use a soft cloth to dehumidify it all around well.
- Check if the blades are too loose. You can adjust them by tightening the pivot nut.
- If they have rusted metal parts then use a sandpaper to remove the rust. You should apply some oil afterwards.
- You can use a sharpening stone or a fine (smooth cut) sharpening file to sharpen the blades if they are dull. Afterwards oil them.
- Always oil the blades and the moving parts of this gardening hand tool before storing it at the end of the season.
- Assuming that the handle of the hedge clipper is wooden then, once a year, use a finishing oil to finish it. Furthermore, the wooden handle might require light sanding with a smooth sandpaper to sand off splinters.
- Store it in a dry and protected place like an outdoor storage cabinet or your garage.
The lifespan of hedge shears is correlated to the care that you will provide to them. Keeping garden hand tools sharp and clean makes your job significantly easier.
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