This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Fig. 3. GOTHIC WINDOW - exterior.
I need not describe these instruments, which are sufficiently known; I will only comment on the secateur. This instrument is now used by nearly all the growers at Montreuil. It can be used more expeditiously than the knife, and is perfectly fitted for all amputations necessary for small branches. Still, when some of the stronger branches require to be cut back closely to their origin on the main branch, the pruning knife is employed in order to make the amputation as near as possible to that branch, and also to make a very clean cut. Again, the pruning-knife is made use of for heading back young trees when planted, and for pruning the ends of the wood-branches. In fact, when the branch is too strong, the pressure which the secateur occasions in cutting it across often produces gum or canker, which may cause the loss of the branch. This objection to the secateur exists even in the case of small branches, above all, when badly adjusted; but when this instrument is well made, nothing injurious results from its use, only the wound is slower in healing. The first trials of the secateur at Montreuil were not favorable to it, because the instruments we then had were far from being perfect.
Their use, in fact, was on the point of being abandoned, when M. Lemaignan, locksmith at Montreuil, applied himself to make some of great superiority; and it is to this circumstance that the almost universal use of the secateur in our country is due. Messrs. Arnheiter and Bernard, working locksmiths at Paris, also make very good ones.*
61. When a large branch is to be cut off, a hand-saw with a narrow and very long blade is made use of. But as the teeth of the saw tear the bark and wood, the cut must be immediately smoothed with the pruning-knife, and then immediately covered with grafting-wax, or with grafting-clay. These precautions are essential for the preservation of the tree. Whatever instrument be used for pruning, it must be very sharp, so that the cut may be smooth and clean. The cut should be a little oblique, the knife being inserted at the side of the shoot or branch opposite the bud, and slanting through, so that the point of the slant may be one-twelfth to one-sixth of an inch above the point of the bud, according to the strength of the branch and the season of pruning. The greatest length should be given in winter.