How to Prune Neglected Shrubs


Pruning shrubs is an important gardening practice that will benefit the life of the shrub. Do not wait until the shrub is overgrown and neglected before you prune the plant. Create a maintenance plan for the shrub to prevent the plant from becoming top heavy. This plan will entail cutting back old, twisted and diseased stems and branches. Let a neglected shrub prosper and thrive by allowing sufficient growing space around the shrub. Always practice regular pruning to help keep your shrub looking healthy and strong.

Step 1

Prune shrubs in the late winter to early spring to promote strong growth. During the dormant months of winter, it's easier to prune without leaves and buds on the plant.

Step 2

Use pruning shears to thin out all of the tallest branches. This will help to promote vigorous branch development. Pruning shears are essential for neglected shrubs and can cut up to ¾ inches in diameter.

Step 3

Prune back thick and neglected shrubs to the first pair of buds facing the outside of the plant. Cut the stems and branches from the point of origin from the main stem or "parent" stem. This will help to open up the plant without stimulating new growth, which causes shrubs to become top heavy.

Step 4

Remove all crossed and damaged branches, which can affect the development and lifespan of the shrub. Cut back all dead and diseased and insect-infested branches by cutting off the entire branch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Stay away from electrical wires and lines when pruning shrubs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Minnesota
  • North Carolina State University
Keywords: neglected shrubs, pruning shrubs, overgrown shrubs

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.