Winter is such an important season for pruning that it’s worth getting your tools in order before you begin. Here’s how to prepare your secateurs, loppers and saws for winter pruning jobs.
- Use a clean rag, an old brush or some sandpaper to clean dirt, gum or debris from cutting blades, saw teeth and handles. Methylated spirits is handy for this job and also disinfects the tools.
- Check the joints, springs and blades on your loppers and secateurs, and tighten or replace parts if necessary. Your local nursery or mower shop can advise if you need professional help with this task.
- To sharpen cutting blades, use a sharpening stone. It’s worth buying one of these, as it will last a lifetime. Finish by wiping the blades with a clean rag that has been soaked in vegetable oil.
- Use a sharpening file to sharpen saw teeth. This is a bit more of a challenge, but it becomes necessary as the teeth wear down over time. Clean the saw and clamp it firmly onto a solid surface, such as a workbench, with the teeth facing upwards. Wearing sturdy gloves and starting from the rear of the saw, use the file to sharpen every second tooth – the ones facing away from you. When you reach the saw tip, unclamp the saw, reverse it, and re-clamp before giving the alternate teeth the same treatment. Finally, clean and oil the teeth.
Tick off more winter jobs that keep the garden in good shape, including improving drainage and replacing worn areas of lawn with path, with the June 2020 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.