Answer: First of all, choose high quality pruning equipment. Ideally, you should be able to remove the blades for sharpening, and you should be able to purchase replacement blades. Quality tools will last a lifetime--as long as you don't lose them! (You may want to purchase a holster for your hand pruners--it goes on your belt and keeps the pruners handy.)
At the minimum, for routine tree and shrub maintenance, you'll want hand pruners, loppers, and a pruning saw. Most professionals prefer by-pass pruners and loppers, as opposed to the anvil-type, because they make a cleaner cut. You may also want a pole saw to remove tree branches. (Be careful, this can be a hazardous job!)
Be sure to use the proper tool for the job. In general, hand pruners can be used for branches up to about the size of a pencil. Anything between a quarter and three quarters of an inch calls for loppers. And any branch larger than that requires a good pruning saw.
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