Pruning equipment can spread disease in the landscape if not properly cleaned and disinfected. By disinfecting gardening tools on a regular basis, you can help prevent the spread of plant diseases in your landscape.
When pruning out a disease, pruning equipment should be sanitized between each cut. If conducting normal pruning it is recommended that you sanitize between each plant and commercial landscape companies should clean tools, at the very least, between each job site. Commercial landscape companies working on long rows of trees should clean tools every ten trees.
Cleaning pruning tools is as easy as 1-2-3.
- Remove dirt and debris from tools.
- Dip or soak tools in a disinfectant solution. See factsheet above for recipes.
- Dry tools.
Pruning tools that are regularly disinfected need to be kept in top condition. Older blades become pitted and these pits can harbor microbes that are unaffected by quick sterilization. This is especially true of bacteria associated with active cankers. Disinfectants should never be applied to pruning wounds because of their ability to further injure the plant and prevent callus tissue from forming, slowing the healing process.
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References: Denny, G. and G. Vallad. 2012. Disinfection of Horticultural Tools. EDIS #ENH1121 Lamborn, A. Disinfecting Pruning Tools. UF/IFAS Fact