Like most things in your garden, tools need a little loving care to keep them happy. Since this week is all about roses, here are a few tips for keeping your pruners protected.
Care for your pruners will vary a bit depending on the particular make that you own. These Handmade Japanese Garden Pruners are $98 from Kaufmann Mercantile. Because they're not made of stainless steel, they might need a bit more care than your average pair of pruners, but we think all pruners enjoy a little extra attention.
For a roundup of our favorite pruners, see 10 Easy Pieces: Garden Pruners.
A good rule of thumb is to get in the habit of giving your pruners a good wash after each use. After making just a few snips, I am often tempted to forgo a washing, but cutting even one stem can leave sap and plant residue behind and damage your pruners over the long run.
Usually, warm soapy water is all you need to give your pruners a good washing. Same goes for garden scissors and other metal garden tools.
After you finish washing them, make sure that your pruners are well dried to help prevent rust from forming.
If you do notice rust forming, you might use linseed oil and small wire brush to help brush away the rust and clean your pruners. After cleaning your metal tools with linseed oil, make sure to give them another good wash to prevent a sticky film from forming. Linseed oil is also an excellent protectant for your wooden-handled garden tools.
A liter of Boiled Linseed Oil is $21.50 from Solvent Free Paint.
Even if your tools aren't prone to rust, it's a good idea to wipe them down with oil after cleaning them. Some people rely on motor or mineral oil for general tool protection, but I like to use just a small bit of household vegetable oil to keep them lubricated and ready for next time.
For more on tool maintenance, see 5 Favorites: Tool Sharpeners.