Ask a Question forum: Prevent spreading bacteria or disease through pruning shears

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Sacramento, CA
mikensac
Apr 28, 2018 10:36 AM CST
Greetings,
I carry my pruning shears and other gardening tools in my tool belt as I work around the yard. I'm concerned I might spread bacteria or diseases when I go plant-to-plant cutting here and there.
1) Should I wipe the blades after each cut?
2) If so, what's an easy way to do that?
Regards,
Mike
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 28, 2018 11:35 AM CST
Welcome!

If you are concerned about spreading rot withing the same plant, clean after each cut. If you are concerned about spreading diseases between plants, clean after each plant.

I use a spray bottle with full strength rubbing alcohol.
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Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 28, 2018 1:43 PM CST
Many people I know carry a "pocket butane torch".
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Apr 28, 2018 1:53 PM CST
I use the Lysol/Clorox bleach wipes.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 28, 2018 7:18 PM CST
Yes, Chlorox wipes (and dips) are an option but I'm allergic to bleach. Smiling Do you find your tools corroding from the constant contact with the bleach? (a question that has come up in orchid potting seminars)

If you decide to use alcohol wipes (instead of spray), read the ingredients list. It may be called an alcohol wipe but you will discover there is NO alchohol in there anywhere.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Apr 28, 2018 7:24 PM CST
I have not noticed any issues with the bleach wipes, after I use them I will dip the blade in water after the last use.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Apr 28, 2018 10:02 PM CST

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I second the butane torch, simply because some plant viruses (especially for orchids) won't be killed by a wipe with alcohol.
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Sacramento, CA
mikensac
May 2, 2018 10:58 PM CST
Thank you, all. Will start with wipes but likely keep a spray in the garden shed for the end of the day.
Regards,
Mike
Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
May 4, 2018 3:23 PM CST
Mike,Mike ,Mike! Welcome!
Here at work when we have to trim back crab apple we take along a can of lysol, or a reasonable facsimile, and after each and every cut spray it down. This method even keeps fire blight in check! It's so effective I've taken to doing this at home.Just make sure to hit your blade(s) with some 3 in 1 or some other type of rust preventer.

Hope this helps.
J.R.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
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SunnyBorders
May 5, 2018 9:02 AM CST
I use secateurs on a wide variety of perennials through the gardening season and don't usually worry moving between healthy plants.

One exception, however, is garden phlox. We see very little powdery mildew on our phlox, but I use mouthwash as a preventative measure when going from phlox to phlox. Used to use hydrogen peroxide, but now use mouthwash (which can have a surprisingly high alcohol content).

Use salt, not mouthwash, for oral hygiene.

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