What is the difference between Anvil and Bypass Secateurs? And which one is the best one to use?
Your secateurs are one of the tools used most for small pruning jobs, so you want to make sure you get the right one for you. And the first thing to do is make sure you have a pair that fits your hand comfortably. Check that the handles don't open wider than you can stretch your hand, as secateurs that are too big for you lead to quicker fatigue while working.
There are two main types of secateurs - Anvil and Bypass. Anvil secateurs work with one blade coming down onto an anvil. Bypass secateurs work the same as scissors, having a blade that crosses another blade or anvil to perform the cut.
The benefit of an anvil operation secateur is power. The wide point where the cut is made requires less force, making them great for cutting hard, dead wood branches. They can be used for everything that bypass secateurs can do, but are particularly useful for woody stems as they are less likely to stick to the stem. You do need to ensure your blade is kept sharp to avoid crushing stems.
Bypass secateurs are most suited for cutting jobs from deadheading to trimming thin branches, and the main advantage is that they can cut delicate stems without causing bruising to the stem being trimmed.
If your plant is opposite-branching (a branching pattern where side branches and leaves grow from the stem directly across from each other), you should cut directly across the stem above the node.
If it is alternate-branching (a branching pattern where side branches and leaves do not grow directly across from each other), it's better to cut on an angle sloping away from the single bud at the node, as this drains rainwater away from the bud so none gets trapped on the stem and promotes rotting.
Remember to also always open your secateur and get the branch all the way in. Snipping wood like using scissors will stress your hands and dull the blade quickly.
Sharpening and Maintaining your tools:
To correctly sharpen and maintain your secateurs, whether they're anvil or bypass, check out our tool maintenance section.