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How to Sharpen Garden Shears – Easy & Effective Way to Sharp Pruners

Gardening is undeniably the most entertaining, rewarding, and healthy hobby. All of us who live in cities know how disconnected we feel from nature at times, and this is when gardening can help us reconnect with nature. But it is not an easy job to maintain your plants. First, you need to give them the right amount of sunlight and water and prune them at appropriate intervals. Let’s see a brief on pruning and tools used for it before knowing how to sharpen pruning shears.

What is Pruning?

Pruning is a vital task in gardening. It refers to selectively removing plant parts like buds and branches to manipulate plant growth. This helps to improve the beauty of the landscape by maintaining the desired shape. Pruning also helps maintain plant health by supporting proper air circulation amongst plant framework, removing the diseased woods.

A garden shear/ pruning shears are used for pruning shrubs and plants. A sharp shear is very important to make cleaner cuts. Clean cuts heal more efficiently and result in healthier plants fighting disease and insect infestation. Usually, well-maintained shears require pruning every six weeks. It takes less than fifteen minutes to sharpen your shears.

What to Use to Sharpen Garden Tools?

Although there are multiple ways to sharpen garden shears, here is the simplest procedure to sharpen the shears. Make sure to check the following materials before you start sharpening pruning shears.

  • Protective gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • A stiff brush
  • Wipe cloth
  • Diamond hand file (medium to coarse)
  • Grit sandpaper (coarse) /steel wool
  • Linseed oil
  • Bench Vice (optional)

How to Sharpen Pruning Shears / Garden Clippers?

Sharpening garden shears at home is simple if you follow the correct process. After grabbing all the required tools mentioned above, check out how to sharpen pruners in 7 simple steps.

Step 1

Often our garden tools have gunk piled upon them, and shears are no exception. You would like to start by cleaning garden shears by immersing them in warm soapy water solution for ten to fifteen minutes. Do not miss this step, as working on dirty shears will result in a poor hold and not give you the desired results.

Step 2

Now that you cleaned shears, look for signs of rust. As garden tools are widely used in places abundant in mud, water, and moisture, rusting can be a common problem. You don’t have to buy new shears every time they develop rust. Cleaning rust off pruning shears is easy. Use a ball of steel wool to remove rust particles. You can also rub sandpaper against the rusted spots. Rinse the shears with water and dry them before moving on to the next step.

Step 3

Now that the easy yet important steps are covered, we will move to the main sharpening procedure. Keep your file ready. Firstly, position your shears. Do not keep them very close to your body. Using a bench vice to keep the shears in position is a good idea.

Step 4

Open the blades of the shears with the beveled edge facing up. Hold the file at a thirty-degree angle and start filing from the inward to the outward.

Step 5

Make sure that you do not apply very high pressure, resulting in uneven edges. Apply moderate pressure. Twenty to thirty strokes will suffice.

Step 6

When the blades look nicely sharpened and shiny, you can test them if they work for you. Get a piece of wood or paper and cut it. If the cut is clean enough according to your liking, you are done. If you think that it needs more sharpening, then repeat the process.

Step 7

After you are done with sharpening, just lubricate your shears with oil. Oiling shear blades is a good practice as it will keep the blades sharp for longer and reduce the chances of rusting. You should go for linseed oil if you do not wish to transfer artificial lubricants to plants, as linseed oil is a natural, non-toxic lubricant. Don’t worry if you are running out of linseed oil, as vegetable oil can also be a good alternative.

Alternatively, to sharpen tree trimmers, there will be hand pruner sharpeners readily available in the market which makes the work faster. If you don’t have or don’t want to use any such sharpeners, you can go for the above mentioned procedure.

Things to Keep in Mind while Sharpening Garden Pruners

  • Handle pruning shears with care. Even the most blunt-looking shears can leave deep cuts if not handled carefully. Keep them at a distance from your body.
  • Wear protective gloves when filling the blades.
  • Do not forget to wear protective eyewear, particularly safety goggles or glasses. This is to protect your eyes from any rust particles or shards of metal that could damage your eyes during the process.
  • Some people test the sharpness on their fingernails, do not be one among them. As even though the blades would look seemingly blunt and non-dangerous, it is highly likely that you might end up hurting yourself. So testing the blades on wood or paper is a safe option.
  • Cleaning and sharpening tools can be dangerous sometimes, especially if you don’t handle them carefully. In case you cut yourself during the process, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Sharpen your hedge or garden shears at regular intervals. Make sure to sharpen the blades at least a couple of times each season, especially if you use them heavily.


We hope you have understood the procedure to sharpen garden shears. Knowing how to prune your shears is as important as when to prune your plants. The better maintained a pruning shear is, the less effort it requires when the sharpening procedure is done. Pruning is an important part of gardening, and maintaining the pruning shears is equally important.

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