We recommend selective, hand pruning (not hedge trimmers) on all plant material to achieve a neat and natural appearance rather than a sheared, “boxy” or round effect.
1. Developing Form: This type of pruning is what applies most to newly planted shrubs and trees. The objective is to shape the plant as it grows, keeping in mind the natural growth form of the plant material and its desired appearance in the landscape. Pruning to develop form in young material should be done at least once a year. The growth habit of some plants would dictate that pruning be done two or three times a year. Sucker shoots around the base of a plant (Crepe Myrtle in particular) should be removed as they appear.
2. Rejuvenation: This type of pruning is done on shrubs that become overgrown, spindly or flower poorly. It generally entails cutting a plant back more severely to get it back to a point where it can be maintained with more frequent, but less drastic, shaping. Heavy pruning for rejuvenation is best done during winter dormancy.
3. To Remove Injured or Damaged Parts: This type of pruning should be done whenever it is needed. Broken branches should be removed just above a strong, lateral branch. Winter die-back can be pruned out in early spring, removing enough of the damaged branch so that the cut is disguised by the remaining foliage.
WHEN to PRUNE
Spring Flowering Shrubs – Prune immediately after they are finished blooming
Late Summer Flowering Shrubs – Prune either during winter dormancy or in early spring
Broadleaf Evergreens – Prune soon after blooming (Rhododendrons and Azaleas) or as necessary to maintain form
Evergreens – Juniper and Yew varieties can be pruned anytime as needed to maintain shape. Most evergreen tree varieties will not require annual pruning.
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