favorite hand pruners discontinued

alan haighJanuary 11, 2014

Sometimes the best products get canceled and that has happened with the ARS V series of hand pruners. These are elegant tools with alloy handles very securely attached to the extremely hard steel blades.

Because the blades are so brittle you can break them by accidentally dropping them on ice or cutting into metal but so hard you can prune all day for a week without sharpening them.

They are dangerous to keep in your pocket because the extremely sharp blades open automatically when the handles are squeezed but in a holster they are fantastic- I like them much more than any Felco model.

The only sizes left at amleo.com are small and medium and the medium are almost all gone. My hands are medium small for a man and the small size works great for me- for most woman they are perfect.

I just got a shipment of 6 for myself which will last me a few years, anyway. Probably won't be able to find any parts, but the blades are almost as expensive as the whole tool and they are the only part of the tool I've ever had to replace. I will use a pair more in one season than most of you will use in a lifetime so if you don't lose it it will last.

I wouldn't usually go so far to endorse a tool, but these are the best cutting hand pruners I've ever owned. I only hope they come up with a replacement model that is as good.

So far all I see is one with a rotating handle which I haven't found advantageous- even when you spend the entire day with one in your hand. My hand does not appreciate the "ergonomic" design. There are also a couple other ARS models with primitive closing systems that require two hands to close. I guess these could just be pushed into a holster left open but the handles don't look as comfortable.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thanks HM!
I'm always looking for a better tool, think felco many years ago
used a higher carbon steel..now these day's the empathy is go stainless [softer], cutting edge just doesn't stand up. I'm very disappointed. One of these day's I'll make my own replacements blades with tool steel or HSS. [high speed steel]

Are these made in Japan, can you please tell me which series work best for you in link.

Here is a link that might be useful: ARS

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

The VS series is the one.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 2:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
shazaam(NC 7B)

Thanks for the heads up -- I'm planning to buy a new pair of hand pruners soon. Do you have any experience with Bahco pruners? Prior to your post, that's what I was planning to buy.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Harvestman, looking at Gemplers the new model doesn't have a rotating handle. Since they are calling the new one "lightweight" that is probably why they are phasing the old model out, its similar but lighter.

I use the ARS VS series based on your recommendation of them some time ago, they are indeed great pruners. They are a bit better than Felco; similar feel but better cutting. The new ARS models look about as good as the ones I have, maybe they are even better because they are lighter.


Here is a link that might be useful: Gemplers new ARS pruners

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are all over the internet for sale. New and older models. I'm going to purchase the rotating handle type. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

I have the VS pruners based on your recs Hman. They are comfortable and do stay sharp.

Konrad, I'm thinking the blade steel in them is stainless. I've not noticed any rust on mine and I don't oil them much. It does attract to a magnet. Perhaps it is hardened stainless.

My son got me a pair of Felco pruners with the rotating handle for Christmas. They look like very good quality pruners, but I haven't tried them out yet.

It's a shame they are discontinuing the VS pruners. I occasionally get a trade catalog for landscape tree trimmers (don't know why) and have seen them advertised in there.

I prune mostly with loppers anyway because it's easier on my hands and still pretty fast.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Loppers are what I use a lot on peach trees and some on apple trees, but when you are cutting out endless annual shoots and water sprouts on big old apple trees it's quickest to either rake them with the saw or use the hand pruners.

Bahco gave me a free pair of their rotating handle hand pruners years ago and it is too heavy and not as sharp as ARS. They make the best lopper I've ever used. I custom order a light one with extra long handles. Not all their loppers are nearly as good- used to be called the orchard lopper.

The link has a better description of the hardness of the blade and a very nice selection of ARS. I haven't done business with them.

I've tried many other hand pruners including a few other ARS models and none feels as good in my hands as the VS series.

Here is a link that might be useful: ars pruners

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

Too bad! I got a V9 two years ago and have been raving about it ever since. By far the best hand pruner I ever used and I need the larger size for my 10 inch span. They sent me 5 by accident instead of one. I wish now I hadn't sent the other four back, but paid for them and kept them instead.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

I see from Hman's link the ARS pruners aren't made of stainless, rather they're chrome plated. That's why I haven't seen the rust.

Hman, have you ever considered battery operated pruners? They are very expensive, but you sound like you prune enough they would be worth consideration. My understanding is they will go through inch and a half stock.

I've seen a local orchardist here use some pneumatic pruners. Extremely fast. He had about a 3' extension which enabled him to prune without having to get into the thick of it.

The pneumatic has a pretty big drawback in that one has to drag a hose around with a portable compressor, but the battery operated has nothing to drag around and is supposed to be almost as powerful as the pneumatic.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The ARS VS pruners seem to be fairly abundant on Amazon. It doesn't look like they're being discontinued.
Would you guys recommend the 8" or the 7" model?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Rayrose if you have average man-sized hands you might want the 8's. For me they are virtually interchangeable with the 7's and I think my hands may be small medium- about 7.25 inches from my wrist to the tip of my middle finger.

The sale rep I work with told me they are discontinued and Gemplers and am leonard have both removed them from their catalogues so I think their presence on the internet is temporary.

Olpea, I don't think powered pruners would save much time because squeezing the handles requires so little of it. When I accidentally cut myself with my hand powered ones, I bleed a lot but retain my finger. Also, I spend a good deal of time climbing through very large apple trees and don't want any extra incumberance, but I have considered the product in the past. I haven't met any commercial orchardists that have their pruning crews using them.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

" Also, I spend a good deal of time climbing through very large apple trees and don't want any extra incumberance"

I had forgotten a large part of your pruning is in larger trees.

Part of the speed comes from the reach of the extension, which also greatly reduces the risk of finger amputation. I prune a lot with loppers and limbs/shoots get in the way when trying to spread the handles. The extension single pipe fits in tight places without having to manipulate handles in branches/foliage.

Not trying to talk you into anything, I'm sure you know your business. Just mentioning for discussion, the power pruners I witnessed were pretty fast. Some of the growers on Apple-Crop have mentioned they use the battery operated pruners.

Evidently the battery pack is worn on the waist, which would indeed be cumbersome climbing through trees.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Harvestman you're my kinda guy!! Climbing in big trees and getting beat up and bloody. But maybe you should convert some of your clients to dwarf trees. Then you could grow more fruit and less wood. Commercial growers can't compete anymore growing wood and then paying someone to spend all winter cutting out that excess wood.

I imagine your clients have excess money and are attached to their big trees. But not the best approach for most home growers.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

FN, they are not the most efficient growing system for home growers, but these trees are an inheritance and tend to be incredibly beautiful specimens.. They are a living tribute to our forebears, our history and the history of apples in particular. Many are well over a hundred years old and are heirloom varieties on the kind of root stocks that almost all American apple trees were on up until the 1940's or so.

Once someone decides to hire me to care for them, it is no longer a business decision based on the efficiency of fruit production, although some well tended apple giants probably help improve the resale value of their homes.

As far as growing dwarf trees- the majority of my customers have wildlife issues that require about 4' of trunk to help protect fruit. It is helpful to have a fairly vigorous tree. Also, my customers like the look of a fruit tree much more than a bush.

A lot of my profit comes from pruning, so the advantage to me of vigorous root stocks is obvious, but I agree that for home growers it would often be the best approach to use an electric fence if they need to keep out wildlife and grow as much as possible on size reducing rootstock and pruning to keep the trees low enough to never use a ladder. Dwarf apples require very little skill to prune along with the reduced work.

One advantage to taller trees is that kids can climb them and run under them. A tree is such a wonderful gymnasium for children, especially if it has the added incentive of branches loaded with luscious fruit that must be climbed to reach.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Harvestnam, your post reminded me of a statement I read at an old fashioned apple nursery in CA.

In Praise of Standards
In the past few decades there has been a radical shift in the way fruit trees are grown. The old-fashioned orchard of large spreading trees is rapidly being replaced by densely planted, intensively managed rows on dwarfing rootstock. Dwarf trees, once the reliance of the home orchardist are becoming the backbone of the commercial industy. Agribusiness has begun to treat fruit trees like row crops - short term investments that yield maximum profits. We foresee a time when the grand old standards will become isolated relics of a less cost-efficient past.

This, we feel, would be a shame, and not just on sentimental or aesthetic grounds. Our years of fruit exploring in old homestead orchards have taught us to respect these venerable giants for their ability to endure. They have stood up to drought and storm, deer and porcupine, grasshoppers and borers. Though no human may come to harvest their fruit, these old standards continue to produce crops against a multitude of odds. Grafted on seedling rootstock, they partake of a health and vigor inherent in sexual reproduction.

It is our contention that these standard-sized trees still deserve a place of honor in the future orchard. It is these magnificently inconvenient specimens that are most likely to bear fruit for our great-grandchildren's generation. So please, where space permits, consider the merits of planting at least a few old-fashioned standard-sized trees. We should remember that a chief beauty of fruit is that it grows on TREES - real trees that form the foundation of a permanent and sustainable agriculture, that will even tolerate the vagaries of the human condition.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 8:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

"They will even tolerate the vagaries of the human condition"... Probably because they don't have claws- don't think those vagaries aren't an annoyance to them. They do manage to slap me around quite a bit.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Some of my apples and pear trees on seedling rootstock will be around long after I'm gone, even when not cared for.
It's good for the environment, ...animals, birds and the bees.

Back in the old country, Government gives out insensitive, [subsidies] to farmers planting out tall standard trees again.
Nothing more pretty when a hundred or so year old apple or pear tree is in bloom and gives fruit.

In link, some nice specimens in the old country.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trees

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Heres an article I wrote years ago, if anyone's interested.

Written by Alan Haigh. Reprint permission required for commercial use of this text.

Johny Appleseed's Children

Full sized apple trees are disappearing from the American landscape. These majestic trees are an important part of our agrarian heritage but they are rapidly dying off or being cut down and replaced by wimps- that is, apple trees grown on dwarfing and semi-dwarfing rootstocks.

. The shorter lived, pint-sized replacements are no substitute for the magnificent old trees planted by our grandfathers- the Big Old Apple Trees a child can build a fort in or a person can stretch out under on a hot summer day, the kind Johnny Appleseed planted and the early European-American settlers counted on for the hard cider that helped get them through the long New England winters.

You see, trees are one life form that gets more beautiful with age. We Americans are very protective of our oldest and biggest native trees, such as oaks and redwoods, but when it comes to apples, a tree with which weâÂÂve had the most intimate and rewarding of relationships, we have a curious myopia. Homeowners who tire of a trees âÂÂmessyâ fruit often cut them down and cooperative extensions donâÂÂt have much useful information on their care.

Commercial apple growers now grow their fruit on trees with size reducing rootstocks that they replace every twenty to thirty years. Smaller trees are less labor intensive and reduce production costs. Trees grown on natural âÂÂseedlingâ rootstocks are just too big and slow for efficient production.

Home owners usually prefer the smaller trees also- waiting the six to eight years it takes for full sized trees to fruit just doesnâÂÂt mesh well with contemporary lifestyles. Because of the drop in demand, fruit tree nurseries have virtually eliminated full sized apple trees from their inventories.

Fortunately, full sized apples live much longer than their diminutive grandchildren so there are still quite a few around. They often survive on former orchard land that has been developed into homes. Also, older homes often have some trees that were planted when home orchards were more common.

With proper care these trees can be incomparable landscape specimens with their fragrant and beautiful spring blossoms and colorful fruit. In the winter their gnarled and twisted branches can take the form of oversized bonsais- ancient looking and gorgeous.

If you are lucky enough to have any of these wonderful Big Old Apple Trees on your land you should know that you are the owner of a kind of national treasure. I hope you will try to be a good steward of your ancient and irreplaceable treasure.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 6:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree. I try to plant all my trees on full sized root stock. I have plenty of room so I am not worried about keeping them small. The trees I am planting I want to be around long after I am gone. I have a couple of 75 year old pecan trees beside the house. They are so big I can't spray the top of the trees even standing on top of the roof with a sprayer hooked to the tractor. Those are the type of trees I want on my property.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Some of the trees I manage are trained quite low, say 14 ft tall, but with tremendous spreading scaffolds that function like an entire orchard on one tree. A few have over 60 foot spreads.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alan, you wouldn't be able to share any photos of old apple trees you manage, would you? I'm sure they'd be beautiful to see, especially being well managed.

This post was edited by cousinfloyd on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 19:46

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I need to buy a new pair of loppers and would like to know which model of Bahco loppers do you recommend.
It seems they have several that are called orchard loppers. Thanks


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

I've tried many types and so far find the Bahco ultra-light models the best. Orchard's Edge seems to offer best price last I checked and gave me quick delivery from my on-line purchase.

The 36" offers great reach for pruning free standing peach trees but puts more stress on your shoulders during long use than the 30" model.

These loppers are very strong for their weight and the curvature of the hook forces the wood inward to allow maximum leverage during cuts. This is what makes them superior to most other designs, including the much more expensive Felco whose design required notches in the hook to keep the wood from slipping outward.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll be using mine 50-50 between roses ( 80 large bushes) and fruit trees (36 head high).
So I'm not sure which one to get. I bought the 8" ARS pruners, but sent them back because they were too small for my hand and got the 9" model instead. These seem to be priced really good at Protool warehouse,
36" model ($50.49) 30" model ( $47.94)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Those are amazing prices- wish I'd found them, as long as they don't make it up on S&H.

I can offer you no further advice on length except that if you use the long ones for several hours your shoulders may get sore even though they are light. The longer handles give you both greater reach and greater leverage, which is useful for larger wood.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It appears that the measurements are somewhat misleading.
They're advertised as having 30 or 36" long handles, but that measurement is actually from the end of the handle to the tip end of the cutting edge, not the handle itself. So I'll definitely get the 36"model. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

I just finished ordering the 30" from them and a few other things. The price is amazingly low- all Bahco tools they carry at half-price. Even the Bahco on-line store charges full price.

Thanks for your tip!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I callled them, I was told that both the 30 & 36" models were out of stock and they would receive a new shipment in 3 weeks. They're supposed to email me, when they arrive. Do you know something I don't know?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Probably you know something I don't. I've not yet been informed that they are out of stock, but I ordered the 30 inch model

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FYI, I just called them and your order is in back order status and will be shipped, when they receive them in 2-3 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Thanks. I don't actually need them right now, got an older 30" and I'm using the 36" now anyway. Only ordered them because the 50% off was enticing. I don't understand why they've not informed via e-mail about the delay.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

I believe they are the same pruner but the ones I use are VS-7Z or VS-8Z. The 7 is best for smaller hands.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Amazon doesn't really have the ARS HP VS pruner. That's the one that has been discontinued. I bought that pruner from Amazon and received the ARS VS pruner instead. I pointed out the mistake to Amazon, but obviously they have not corrected the error on their website. Amazon only has the ARS VS pruner. Which is the one that I bought from AM Leonard. Amazon sent me the wrong pruner 3 times. You'd think they'd wake the heck up and fix their website.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 9:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

I have never heard of or seen the HP version, but the reason I originally wrote this topic is because I was told that the ARS VS pruner had been discontinued, which subsequent searches seems to verify, although there's still a lot of them out there with a wide, wide range of pricing. Some are asking well over $100 for a pair!

My older pruners are engraved V7 or V8 and are identical to newer ones that are engraved VS 7 or 8.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bonnan(6 & 5)

Rayrose.............I had a similar experience with Amazon but with a different product. It appears to be their marketing practice. Buyer Beware!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 9:20PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
WHO called glyphosate a "probable carcinogen"
More and more studies seem to be coming out against...
Fungus on grapes from last season?
Near the end of last season my grape plants got a fungus...
Help, fuzzy scion wood
Hi all, I got apple scions from ARS last week and was...
Blueberries on a slope, how to grade soil?
Hey everyone, I was planting blueberries on a sloped...
what kind of fruit tree is this?
My guess is some type of peach, but the fruit is throwing...
Sponsored Products
International Caravan Acacia Wood Bar-height Bistro Table
Kyle Imperial Bronze Nine-Light Chandelier
Serena & Lily Palmetto Wallpaper
Serena & Lily
WMF Function 4 Cookware 8 Piece Set - 0760046380
$750.00 | Hayneedle
Westbury Burlap Shade Brass Swing Arm Floor Lamp
Lamps Plus
Bottle Opener Money Clip
$35.50 | FRONTGATE
White Linen Antique Brass Swing Arm with Cord Cover
Lamps Plus
Logo Chairs VA Tech Big Boy Patio Chair 235-11
$39.95 | Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™