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The first cut is the deepest!

When I talk to people about secateurs, it's amazing what people know - and don't know about using them.
First comes the basic choice - anvil or bypass models. Although anvil are able to cut through slightly thicker/harder wood than bypass, they are really only designed to cut dead wood. This is because generally they tend to crush live growth, which can act as a source of disease infection. Bypass secateurs, on the other hand, should cut cleanly and so are the best choice for live growth.
The next issue is the blade sharpness - it must be sharp. I've met people who proudly boast they've had their secateurs for 10 or more years and when I ask how often they sharpen them - they say never! So, basically they are 'hacking' through the growth, rather than cutting it! I sharpen the blade of my secateurs every time I use them.
The next point is cleanliness. Prune a diseased plant and you can transfer the disease to the next plant on the blade. So I sterilise mine with household bleach or Jeyes Fluid.
And finally - don't force your secateurs - or you'll damage the blade. Secateurs are a one-handed tool - yet I've seen people using both hands because the wood is too thick to cut through. Not only does that damage the blade and the secateurs overall - but I've also seen springs and handles flying in opposite directions as a result.
I've had my Felco No 7s for 20 years and have never had to replace anything on them - even the blade!

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