To prevent the overgrowth and spread of disease in a shrub, regular pruning is required. Pruning is also necessary to encourage flower and fruit development. Early in a shrub's life, pruning trains the plant to grow only to a certain height, and encourages horizontal growth. To maintain the beauty and shape of your shrub and ensure the plant's longevity, it is essential to prune properly, making the cuts at the right angle and in the correct places.
Prune suckers from the bottom of young shrubs, cutting the sprout at the point of growth recommends the University of Minnesota Extension. Suckers draw nutrients from the larger plant, and usually grow at the shrub grafting point, or from the soil.
Remove branches that are dead or diseased, cutting 1/4 inch above a healthy node (where a leaf is growing) at a 45 degree angle advises Clemson University Extension. Make sure the pruning shears are sharp to prevent crushing the branch instead of cutting.
Prune away branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other, according University of Minnesota Extension
Thin out shrubs in the spring by cutting branches or twigs away from the shrub at its point of origin, either at the parent stem or at ground level. This reduces the growth of side branches growing and increases air circulation throughout the plant, according to Texas A & M University Extension.
Remove the oldest and tallest of shrub branches at the ground level to rejuvenate a shrub and to maintain the shape of the plant advises Texas A&M. Cut back to within 6 to 12 inches of the soil level, according to Clemson Extension.