Novice gardeners can make a lot of mistakes when pruning shrubs. Shearing the shrub and letting it go too long without a trim create lots of wayward growth. Removing the wrong wood can alter the natural beauty in the shape of your shrub. To correct the pruning of shrubs, learn what to avoid in the future and slowly shape the shrub over one to two seasons to get the plant looking good again.
Look for dead branches on your shrub, since these need to be removed for the health of the plant. Dead branches feel hollow to the touch and won't move with the wind.
Clip off dead branches at the base with anvil pruners or lopping shears if the branch is thicker than 1 inch. Don't cut into the swollen tissues just before the trunk, since this area will heal over and protect the plant.
Remove all dead wood in this manner. Then clip off weak, thin branches in the same manner. Do not remove more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the wood at one time, advises the University of Arizona.
Wait until the following year to remove additional wood if your shrub needs more care. Them remove another 1/3 of the poor-growing or poor-quality wood in the same manner you did before.
Wait to prune spring flowering shrubs until after the shrub has flowered for the season. If you pruned a flowering shrub at the wrong time in the past you'll get fewer blossoms. This can be corrected in subsequent seasons by pruning after the flowers drop.