Pruning shears

Pruning shears

Secateurs (in British English), also called hand pruners or pruning shears, are a type of scissors for use with plants. They are strong enough to prune hard branches of trees and shrubs, sometimes up to two centimetres thick. They are used in gardening and flower arranging, and in nature conservation where fine-scale habitat management is required.

For large-leaved shrubs (e.g. laurel) a single sharp knife blade might be used instead. Loppers are a larger, two-handed version for thicker branches than pruning shears can handle.


There are three designs of secateurs: anvil, bypass and parrot-beak . Anvil secateurs have only one blade which closes onto a flat surface. They tend to crush the stem, but remain reliable when slightly blunt. Bypass secateurs usually work exactly like a pair of scissors, with two blades passing each other to make the cut. At least one of the blades will be curved: a convex upper blade with either a concave or straight lower one. Some bypass designs have only one blade, the lower jaw being broad (like an anvil) but passing the upper jaw. Parrot-beak secateurs consist of two concave passing blades, which trap the stem between them to make the cut. These are suitable only for narrower stems.

Handle length

Secateurs have a short handle and are operated with one hand. Some may be designed for right-handed or left-handed use only. A spring between the handles causes the jaws to open again after closing. When not in use, the jaws may be held closed by a safety catch or by a loop holding the handles together.

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