Pruning tips: sharpening secateurs

Don't go near a plant with blunt secateurs – cuts must be crisp and clean so you need a sharp blade, writes John Hoyland.

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Don't go near a plant with blunt secateurs – cuts must be crisp and clean, so you need a sharp blade. Here are some quick tips on keeping your pruning tools in peak condition:
 
• Carry a small sharpening stone in your pocket and you can sharpen your secateurs regularly.
 
• Little and often are the watchwords.
 
• Draw the cutting edge of the blade firmly and slowly five or six times over the stone at an angle of about 30°, with the bevelled edge of the blade downwards. Pass over the other side of the blade once to remove any fragments of metal.
 
• Get into the habit of doing it often and your secateurs will stay sharp. 
 
John Hoyland is a nursery owner, plantsman and award-winning garden writer.
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