Now is the time of year that many folks are dusting off their pruning tools and starting to trim plants in anticipation of the upcoming spring. When pruning, it is important to make sure you are using the correct tool for the job. Certain tools are designed for different cuts. When purchasing new tools, it usually pays off to spend a little bit more on the quality brands, such Corona, Felco and Bahco. These brands make their tools from high-quality metals and have replacement parts available. They are used by professionals for good reason. Cheap pruning tools will dull easily and will break more often. Follow the adage “buy once, cry once.” If you are afflicted with arthritis or carpel tunnel syndrome, these brands also have many options that are easier on your hands. Hand pruners with a ratcheting action allow you to cut thick branches with much less force. Here is a list of a few tools you will need in your pruning arsenal: Hand pruners are suitable for cutting branches up to ½ inch in diameter. Using them for branches any thicker than this will cause you to tear the branch tissue, bind up the pruners and fatigue your hands quickly.