Pruning your landscape shrubs can be a daunting task. Most folks don’t want to even try to prune their plants for fear of ruining them. I myself was one of these folks until I learned a little secret when it comes to pruning the shrubs at the nursery.
Before we begin, I must warn you that pruning your shrubs at the wrong time of year may cause the shrub to not flower for the season. Some shrubs can be pruned nearly year round, while others are best done directly after it flowers.
Shrubs like Forsythia can be pruned nearly anytime, but it is probably best if done after they bloom so you can enjoy them. Forsythia are extremely early bloomers and prolific growers and mine get pruned at least twice a year to keep them from getting outlandish.
Some shrubs like Rhododendron and Lilac should be pruned shortly after they bloom because they actually begin forming next years flowers during the current growing season. The flowers actually form on what is called the old wood, meaning the previous years growth.
Here is my process for pruning my shrubs:
I take a pair of hedge clippers and cut them.
That’s it! Of course, I try to give the shrubs a nice form as I cut, but I know they will soon grow new branches that will hide any mistakes I make. I try to only cut a few inches off the tips of the branches at a time, but occasionally I may have to get a bit more radical. Some plants just seem to want to grow a bit odd and pruning them a little harsher can help you give them a more pleasing form. Imagine the shrub in the shape you want and begin to prune with that shape in mind.