Re: Yard Hand Tools
First and foremost is to never leave your tools out in the elements, neither rain nor sun. Putting them away between uses will make the factory finishes last a good long time. I grew up on a ranch, and while a number of tools never saw the light of day, they did see plenty of moisture and use without rust or deterioration. Typically, as long as a tool is not left in the rain or stuck in the dirt or pile of poo, they won't rust. Even so, a little rust on a shovel or pitch fork really isn't going to reduce its functional abilities too significantly.
The quality of the tool when purchased will also affect it's useful lifespan. I personally purchase fiberglass handled implements because they are infinitely stronger than wood and designed to last.
IMHO, if you clean your tools at the end of use each, let them dry, then store them in a dry environment, then rust will be minimal, particularly if it's a regularly used item.
I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!