Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The World’s Greatest Gardening Scissors

There is one brand of gardening scissors that can do a lot more than pruning, a lot better than any other brand I’ve seen.  It’s Kengyu.  Look it up on the web.  I found the manufacturer the other day.  Today, I can only find secondary suppliers.

They have red and white plastic-covered loop handles, soft on the outside, and easy to hold, unlike hand pruners, which have to be actively held.  With their short, thin, sharp blades, they fit into tiny spaces.  They were made for bonsai, but they can cut anything that hand pruners can cut, more easily.  Those blades are very sharp at the tip; they need a tool belt or holster to hold them safely.  I like a tool belt, which can also hold gloves and trash.

Only in the last couple of years have I found the other great use for them: as a weeding tool.  Faced with the problem of weeding goat heads and star thistle from dry ground, I found that I could cut them below their crowns and they would not grow back, being annuals in flower.  This just happens to be the point at which they violate our nuisance code and must be weeded lest they become a nuisance.

When an annual starts to flower, it puts all of its energy into that flower stalk; all of its energy is in the crown, where all the growth comes from, and above it.  Only scissors with Kengyu’s super-hard Japanese steel and thin, narrow shape can cut roots under the crown easily.  And they still stay sharp enough for most pruning jobs after cutting roots in a lot of dirt and gravel.

They really come into their own when weeding crabgrass, which tends to root deeply in well-watered ground, rooting additionally along the stem joints as they spread out from the clump.  One can slide them under the entire crown and cut off those wiry roots, which have no food and die.

They can also be used to push down alongside small dandelions to pull more of the root as one pulls the plant.  For bigger dandelions and dock, however, one will get better results by pushing a shovel or a weeding knife next to the plant, popping the root loose without pulling out the soil, and pulling the root out.

They can also cut weeds out of cracks in pavements.  The sharp tips can reach down under the crown in most cases, and cut it off the root, where one would otherwise just pull the leaves off.

Yesterday, I used them for taking moss off my roof.  I was cleaning out the gutters for fall rains and noticed that the moss was dead and dry, easy to clean out of the gaps between the shingles with the tips of the scissors, and to brush it off the bottom edges.  It ended up taking the sharp tips off the scissors, making them safe for my grandson to use.  I rarely use the tips anyways, and this morning they were cutting goat heads out of Schroeder Dog Park just as well as ever.

Gardening is easy, if you do it naturally.