Now is the time for pruning many shrubs. This is because the shrubs are leafless so you can better see the shape and identify dead, damaged and diseased wood. Late Summer and Fall pruning are not ideal times as new growth is subject to winter injury.
When to Prune?
Summer blooming shrubs are pruned in late winter/early spring because the flower buds form on new wood.
Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after flowering. If pruned too early, you will remove the flowering buds.
How to Prune?
There are two types of pruning cuts: heading cuts and thinning cuts. Heading cuts remove part of a branch back to a bud. Thinning cuts remove an entire limb.
Make pruning cuts correctly. Heading cuts- prune 1/4 inch above the bud. Thinning cuts- these are just above the side branches and parallel to them. These cuts can be used to reduce the overall size of the plant.
When one third of the plant's oldest stems are cut to the ground, its called renovation or renewal pruning. This can be done in spring or summer.
Pruning can help the overall health of the shrub. It allows for new growth as well as allowing light to penetrate the interior of the shrub to promote new, health buds to grow. Now is the time to get outside and start pruning!