A pair of hand pruners or loppers is a must for hacking hard, woody stems. USABlueBook offers both anvil and bypass styles. Anvil styles feature a single straight cutting blade that closes down on a flat edge or anvil, and are ideal for cutting dead or dry growth. Bypass styles use two curved blades that work like a scissors. This style is the most popular and is recommended for green or wet growth.
Choose pruners for trimming stems and small branches. Their serrated blades grip branches for a controlled cut. Loppers feature long handles that give you leverage to cut bigger stems. Oval-shaped handles and cushioned grips minimize user fatigue. Their hardened and coated non-gumming blades produce a clean cut with minimal force.