Is Sterilizing Your Pruning Tools Necessary?

Pruning is a very tedious job but the results are well worth it. Plants are at your mercy once the pruners come out and you start towards the them. As they see you coming towards them like a dentist with a needle. They are probably wondering ” I hope those are clean”. Sterile instrument no matter what the job is very important. The spreading of disease from plant to plant because you didn’t take two minutes to simply wipe down your pruners before beginning could cost you more in the long run.

Let me give you an example. Not long ago during the first weeks of spring, I was landscaping for a client and noticed her roses were not in the best of shape. It wasn’t just one rose but a whole row. The stalks were nice and tall but the leaves had a unusual appearance to them. If you know rose leaves then you know they are not the most attractive leaves but they do have a distinct look. Most of them are light green and are somewhat heart shaped. Not these leaves. Can you imagine what the end of a witches broom looks like? That is exactly what the leaves resembled. They were long and stringy with no shape at all. This is a disease in roses called Rose Rosette Disease. It can wipe out a ton of roses. One way the disease is transmitted is through pruning. When you use tools that have not been disinfected before using them compromises your plants to a whole host of diseases. That is why I am a big advocate on disinfecting pruning tools after every use. I maintain many homeowner’s landscaping and when I do I always start with a clean pair of cutting tools or I use their tools in hopes that they have followed the same guide lines that I have in protecting their landscaping. Keeping your tools clean will save you money and time in the long run. It only takes a couple of minutes after all.

There are several household disinfecting agents that will get the job done and most likely already have them on hand under your sink. Most nurseries and commercial greenhouses use commercial strength disinfectant to clean and prevent infections. If they put that much care into their plant you should do the same. By the way, I’m pretty sure you are just as concerned in your investment as they are. No matter what product you choose technique is key to proper disinfecting in order to stop the spread of disease and keep your pruners in great working order.