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I have said before in reviews I have written that I haven't had a garden for years so as such my gardening skills are somewhat rusty. My current home includes garden maintenance in my rent but occasionally I like to do the odd bit of pruning myself.
The hedges here seem to grow at an alarming rate during summer - actually I reckon all hedges do - and whilst they have been trimmed once since I moved in a year ago, if they aren't cut back fairly regularly they make walking past them rather difficult, never mind the fact they look dreadful.
Whilst in TK Maxx several weeks ago I spied a Yeoman Ratchet Lopper which was on sale for just £11. It seemed perfect for my needs but what appealed to me most (after the price) was the fact the loppers were so light.
These Yeoman loppers have a ratchet mechanism which gives you a progressive cut, enabling you to lock the blades onto a branch before cutting with two or three squeezes of the handles.
The loppers are made from nylon fibreglass and as a result they only weigh one kilogram, which is significantly lighter than the old loppers I owned when we lived in London. They are 55 centimetres long and have shock absorbent grips.
These loppers are easy enough to use on hedges and I was impressed at how well they worked when pruning back my hedge. They are easy to hold, with soft plastic yellow and green handles.
The loppers have a safety catch which is keeps the blades firmly shut when the loppers are not in use. The catch is easy enough to release by pressing the handles in together slightly and then releasing it.
When it comes to cutting using the loppers it's worth bearing in mind that the actual blade is quite small, measuring just over two inches. Also, where you locate the loppers before cutting is important - if you place the branch or piece of hedge you want to trim right at the inner corner of where the blade sits they won't work properly as the blade is curved and as such is blunt in that corner.
The ratchet mechanism is excellent however in helping you locate the loppers precisely where you want to cut and moving the blade in for the cut in stages. I found this particularly useful when hedge trimming as it enabled me to trim with a degree of precision I haven't had with older tools. The loppers are quite noisy in use because of the ratchet but this shouldn't be a problem except if you do lopping at night!
I have used the loppers on a bush outside my mother's house too and they coped well with the much thicker stems on there with relative ease. Yeoman claim that the loppers can cut stems up to 20mm in diameter and certainly the stems on the bush at my mother's home are not far off that in size. I did have to stick to one stem at a time on her bush whereas when I was trimming my hedge with far thinner stems the loppers could cope with a few at a time.
Because the loppers are quite short and don't have telescopic handles they are best suited for use on lower hedges and bushes. I don't have particularly high hedges in my garden so don't need the handles to extend but it's worth pointing out they do have limitations.
After I have used the loppers I always take the advice Yeoman give and wipe the blades clean and ensure they are dry before storing the loppers. Yeoman also advise you should spray with a light oil regularly which makes sense when you consider the ratchet mechanism.
I have to say I have been very impressed with these Yeoman loppers and am delighted I managed to pick them up for such a reasonable price. The recommended retail price of £25.49 is quite high but for the benefit of such a light tool I think it's a price worth paying.