Maintaining Pruning Tools
Plants. Who doesn’t love them. Whether its your home garden with bountiful borders or a few raised sections of vegetable beds, balcony pot plants or even a vertical garden and if unfortunate with no outdoor space, indoor house plants can bring just as much joy as outdoor situations do.
Just as much as these plants need attention; the pruning tools that look after Plants need attention too. I too am guilty about the next sentence. The number of times, half heartedly wiping clean the Secateurs with a dirty rag and putting them away.
Over the growing season there is a build up of dirt, plant sap and even rust on this tools, from those simple snips of deadheading flowerhead chores to clean cuts when harvesting of crops. Harbouring in the grime could be fungal spores and diseases. Maintain the tools in turn maintains the plants. This task sounds boring and dull but it actually plays a big part in a plant staying healthy and productive.
Pruning Shears and Lopers should particularly be cleaned thoroughly after very tree is pruned and clipped prior to moving to the next tree. This reduces the risk of any disease or fungal spore spread.
Use a Rust and Sap eraser ( Crean Mate ) cleaning block. Dipping both tool and Crean Mate every few seconds in a tub of warm warmer, to remove the grime and rust. What surprised me the most, using this block instead of steel wool, is that Crean Mate does not leave any scratch marks on the blades even though it has a ‘rough’ surface (unlike steel wool does).
Change the dirty grime water to fresh warm water and soak the Sharpening stone for a couple of minutes. Using the concave ‘base end’ of the dome side of the Sharpening stone; sharpen with a motion of using the whole length of the stone over the whole edge of the blade with every stroke. Do not use the flat ‘sides’ of the block on Secateurs. This flat edge works best on Spades, Lawn Edgers and Hedge Shears.
Cleaned, sharpened and the towel dried, the pair of Secateurs are ready to be oiled with Camellia Oil to keep the blades rust free with every use. This Camellia Oil is so handy, not just for garden tools. I even use it on my Kitchen knife and Herb Scissors too. The oil is made from Camellia seeds and is odourless and tasteless but certainly not for human consumption (just in case you were thinking of making Camellia tea!).
Secateurs all cleaned and ready attention turns to my Lopers and then they are all ready to use for those January pruning garden tasks.
First task in January: Pruning the Apple Tree.
Happy New Year everyone.