How to Prune Shrubbery


Pruning your shrubs will boost their growth and longevity. Shrubs favor a natural shape and will prosper when pruning encourages it. Remove diseased branches by cutting off the entire piece; dispose of the branches by burning or burying them to prevent infecting other parts of the shrub and surrounding flora.

Step 1

Prune your shrubs in the late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. During this dormant period, it's much easier to trim the plant because leaves aren't obscuring the branch structure.

Step 2

Thin out twisted and old branches throughout the crown using pruning shears. This will encourage a fuller shape and healthy branch development.

Step 3

Prune back overgrown and thick shrubs to the first set of buds facing the outside of the plant. Cut back the stems at the point of origin from the main stem or "parent" stem.

Step 4

Remove all broken and crossed branches, which can affect the development of the plant.

Step 5

Prune young shrubs to their natural form and shape, but don't cut back the main branch leader. As the shrub matures, remove low branches around the base of the shrub.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never prune shrubs near electrical or utility wires. Contact your local electric company to assist.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Minnesota Extension
Keywords: pruning shrubs, cutting shrubbery, caring for 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.