Use only tools that are made for pruning trees. These include loppers, hand shears, pruning saws and an orchard ladder. Orchard ladders have three legs and are more stable on uneven ground than standard home ladders.  Keep cutting tools sharp and in good repair. Clean hand shears and loppers with a light oil and a scratch pad before storing. This also keeps tools from rusting. Sharpen the cutting blade with a small sharpening stone. Be sure to use pruning tools only for pruning.  Pruning tools may be a means of spreading disease inoculum.  Therefore, disinfect tools between cuts when removing branches you believe may be diseased.  Use a 10% bleach solution and soak the pruning implement between each cut for at least 10 seconds. A practical way to do this is to use two pruning tools, soaking one while the other is being used, then swap tools. Rinse thoroughly after use and cover with a light oil to reduce corrosion.