Gardeners who need a showy ornamental shrub in a landscape cannot go wrong with a snowball bush (Viburnum opulus). These beautiful shrubs may grow as tall and wide as 10 feet and they can stop traffic in late spring or early summer with their round blossoms that resemble snowballs. Because snowball bushes blossom early in the growing season, you must prune them immediately after blooming to ensure you do not remove future blooms.
Cut back the oldest branches of the snowball bush with the pruning shears. Remove up to one-third of the entire bush at one time by cutting off these branches just above the soil level. This will help rejuvenate the snowball bush.
Examine the branches that remain to find any dead or broken ones. Remove these branches where they originate at the next largest branch.
Find branches that appear too congested in the center of the shrub. Remove branches that cross each other and any branches that rub against each other. These branches may weaken the shrub because the break in the outer layer of stem may introduce bacteria and disease. Trim away these branches where they originate at the next largest branch.
Prune the outside perimeter of the snowball bush into a pleasing shape. Remove approximately 3 inches of the terminal growth around the sides, the top and the bottom of the shrub to create a visually pleasing shrub.
Discard all stems and foliage you remove.