So, what do you think is the best garden tool to use on small topiary, shaped shrubs, evergreen herbs, and other detailed finishing on compact plants? Topiary shears of course! These shears are perfect for some light trimming, and as the name suggests, topiary work on hedges and shrubs up to 5mm thick.
Interestingly though, many gardeners refer to these garden tools as sheep shears because their design does closely resemble sheep clippers. We’ve already established that you need the best topiary shears for the job, but how do you know which one’s the best for you?
Typically, regular garden tools such as scissors and pruners are too bulky and not flexible enough for topiary work. However, topiary shears cut through green foliage in minutes, making topiary work one pleasant and user-friendly experience.
By using all five fingers to operate and quickly manoeuvre the sheep shears, users have the ability to transform wild, overgrown topiaries into beautiful works of art or just prune some roses, herbs, and veggies. But as with all other tools, there are a few key features to keep a watch out for when shopping for topiary shears.
For starters, you’ll find that there are different sized shears out there. If you’re looking to prune larger shapes or multiple shrubs, a bigger tool will be required. However, gardeners looking to create meticulous figures, spirals and shapes will find smaller shears more suitable.
Likewise, the blade is the most essential part of your topiary shears. So you’re going to want a long-term and durable heat treated carbon steel blade with non stick coating. Also, most gardeners prefer spring action on their shears so they don’t have to manually retract the blades all the time.
I’ve scoured the entire market in search of the best topiary shears in the UK; here’s what I found out.
If you’re like most gardeners or farmers, then chances are that you’ll always find new ways to use your old tools. Multipurpose, multifunctional, multi-use; there are many ways to put it. But in the end, nothing beats a gardening tool that can serve two masters. I’m talking about the all-new Jakoti Hand Shear that doubles as both topiary and sheep shears.
The shears are handcrafted from high-quality carbon steel to ensure that they last longer than your average shears. But that’s not all; thanks to the self sharpening design of the blades, you get a clean, sharp, low maintenance cut every time. Combine that with the ergonomically designed handles and low tension spring, and you have incredibly comfortable and effortless operation.
What I like about it:
- Extremely versatile pruning and sheep shearing tool
- Advanced, self sharpening design
- Incredibly well built piece of equipment
Globally renowned for their high-quality products and heritage, it’s no wonder that Spear and Jackson have managed to gain the trust of gardeners all around the world. Looking at their broad range of products, you can easily see the innovation and ergonomic designs that go into production. The Razorsharp Advantage Topiary Shears from Spear & Jackson reflect this spirit through and through.
These precise, well-built and attractive shears stand out from a crowd with their brown and blue handles. But as all seasoned gardeners will tell you, good looks alone don’t get the job done. The Advantage shears from Spear & Jackson boast of high carbon steel blades that remain tougher and sharper for longer. To ensure that users are as comfortable as possible, the manufacturer used soft-feel handles for a soft and sure grip.
What I like about it:
- Attractive exterior
- Budget-friendly price point
- Safety lock catch for operational safety
Let’s take a quick poll, shall we? How many of you here own a pair of hedge shears and a lawnmower? That makes all of us. But while both of these may be great pruning and mowing tools, you’ll always need something for the more gentler, delicate and final touches. If you’re all about the shaping, edging, contouring, and turning your lawn into a work of art, then you’ll love the DP1850 Darlac Expert Topiary Shears.
These shears instantly stand out thanks to the sleek and attractive black and red exterior. Like most of the high end models, the manufacturer included a spring that allows for automatic retracting when in operation. The DP1850 Expert shears also harbour SK5 carbon steel blades that can be sharpened when dull and replaced when worn.
What I like about it:
- Ideal shears for topiary shaping and grass lawn edging
- Lightweight, durable design
- Easily replaceable SK5 carbon steel blades
With over half a century worth of premium quality cutting tool production, you can always be sure that you’re getting long-lasting performance from Wolf-Garten. With the infamous German engineering to over 100,000 cuts testing systems, this brand definitely delivers excellence. That’s why I was so excited to get the Wolf-Garten Lightweight Box Tree Shears.
These uber light box shears are built with much shorter blades for the perfect topiary shaping. But that’s not even the best part; the manufacturer incorporated curved and double-edged blades for cleaner and more precise cutting performance even after years of use. What’s more, the blades come with a non-stick coating for easier cutting and cleaning.
What I like about it:
- Excellent German engineering and durable craftsmanship
- Lighter design for cleaner and precise cuts
- Shock absorbing buffers on comfort grip handles
Who says that you need to spend top pound to get the best topiary shears? Definitely not me. If you’re basically working on a non-existent budget and want an affordable pair of shears, then look no further than the Draper 84050 330 mm Topiary Shears. But don’t be fooled by the low price point; these shears are built to perform.
The 84050 shears are manufactured according to Draper’s high-quality standards with useful features to improve performance. In this case, Draper managed to use a simple yet functional design. While there is no spring, the shears feature a clever design that allows it to retract the blades automatically. Similarly, the durable steel blades can be sharpened and replaced after a while.
What I like about it:
- Clever, self-retracting design
- Cheapest topiary shears on the list
- 330 mm cutting capacity on blades
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to sharpen topiary shears?
Start by putting on protective gloves, and if you have any eye goggles then put those on too, in case of flying bits of metal.
- Clean the blades with warm soapy water, and scrub them with a stiff brush to remove any dried-on plant residue.
- Rinse and dry the blades thoroughly, then use a piece of wire wool to remove any rust.
- Place the shears in a bench vice, with the blades wide open and the bevelled edge of the blade facing you.
- Position a medium or coarse diamond file against the cutting blade, at the same angle as the bevel of the blade.
- Draw the file along the blade from base to tip in one smooth stroke, using moderate pressure.
- Continue for 10 or 20 strokes, until a sharp edge is formed.
- Repeat on the other blade (unless you have bypass or anvil shears, in which case there is only one cutting blade).
- Turn the blades over to file off any rough burrs that have appeared as a result of the sharpening.
- Wipe the blades with a soft cloth dipped in linseed oil to prevent rust and keep the blades lubricated.
Q: How to use topiary shears?
Topiary shear use the same principle as other types of shear – they are for cutting thin pieces of wood and branch to a size and shape that you want.
They are long handled to allow enough pressure to cut thicker stems and branches, and this length also allows for more precision when cutting intricate shapes. Topiary shears must always be sharp, to ensure clean cuts and prevent the stems from being crushed.
New shoots should be trimmed back once they reach 10cm in length, then cut back to the two leaves from the base of that stem. Then all you need to do is lightly trim until you start to see your desired topiary shape!
You can put chicken wire around the plant to create the basic shape, then just trim the leaves as they appear through the wire – as you trim constantly, the plant will start to maintain this shape better so you can always keep your topiary looking the way you want it to.
Q: Where to buy topiary shears?
You can either visit your local hardware store, which will be able to give you advice about the type of topiary shears you will want for the job you have in mind, or, if you know the type you want, simply type it into a search engine and you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for.