A small pruning knife with a sharp blade and a comfortable handle (to prevent slippage) is the right tool for thinning delicate branches, removing suckers, and shaping rose bushes. As winter (and pruning season) approaches, we've rounded up a selection of our favorite pruning knives at different prices:
Above: If you are starting a garden knife collection from scratch (or splurging to replace all your small cutting tools at once), consider an Opinel Gardener's Tool Set, which includes a No. 8 pruning knife—as well as a garden saw and a spear point garden knife; it's $99.95 from Garrett Wade.
Above: The Opinel No. 8 Pruning Knife has a safety ring to lock the blade in an open or closed position; it has a blade slightly longer than 3 inches and is also available for £10.99 from Becketts Adventure.
Above: A Ladies Pruning Knife from Burgon & Ball has a slightly shorter handle and blade; it fits a smaller hand comfortably and is available for £27.95.
Above: Known for its Swiss Army knives, Victorinox makes a pruning knife with a stainless steel blade and a red nylon handle; the bright color makes it easier to find again after you set down your knife in the garden; a folding Swiss Army Pruning Knife is $16.50.
Above: A Brass Cased Pruning Knife from Japanese tool maker Niwaki has a 3-inch blade and a brass handle that will mellow with use; it is $28.95 from Garrett Wade. For more Japanese garden tools, see "Tools of the Trade."
Above: The hook design of the folding blade on a Bahco 8-inch Pruning Knife makes it good for thinning out fruit trees' delicate branches. It is $28.58 from orchard's Edge.