Trimming and clipping topiary (see 'Shape Shifters') is a lot easier with the right tools. Once you assemble your arsenal, keep it cleaned, sharpened, and oiled. Here, according to our sources, are five must-haves for the beginning topiarist.
- Topiary Shears Ideal for precise shaping. Select a pair with flexible joints; some come specially tailored for small or left hands.
- Pruning Saw Handy for “limbing up,” which is the removal of branches from the plant's trunk. Look for a tri-beveled blade crafted from hardened steel.
- Hedge Shears Shapes and smoothes, better suited to routine maintenance than fine-tuning or detailed cuts. Look for shock-absorbing padded handles.
- Loppers Grants access to high branches and provides the leverage to slice through thicker stems.
- Electric Hedge Trimmers For heavy-duty trimming, a power pruning tool means faster, less tiring work. Hedge trimmers cut easily through thicker brush, creating a flat, even top. Battery-powered trimmers, while less powerful than those that have cords or run on gas, reduce hassle and noise.