Although mature needle leaf evergreens require little to no pruning, young and diseased evergreens need yearly pruning to maintain their shape, health and proper growth. Pruning a mature evergreen every two or three years is usually sufficient to remove any tangled, diseased or dead branches. Prune your needle leaf evergreens in the early spring so that they have the growing season to bounce back from the pruning and produce new growth.
Prune the candle-shaped new growth on your needle leaf evergreens back to about half their length. Prune back the new growth in early spring to help maintain an even shape and better conceal the pruning cuts.
Cut away all diseased, dead, dying or weak limbs. This will improve both the look and health of the evergreen.
Prune back all limbs that are growing toward the trunk, overlapping other limbs, or are crowded or tangled. Cut these branches back to the trunk to prevent them from stressing the nearby healthy limbs and to allow for more air and sunlight to reach all parts of the evergreen.
Disinfect your pruning tools before and after pruning, especially when pruning diseased wood. Dip your pruning tools in a solution of three parts denatured alcohol to one part water.