How to Trim Evergreen Shrubs


Evergreen shrubs are common shrubs that you will find around the home and yard in the United States. Evergreen shrubs have many uses including privacy screening, accenting and ornamental planting. There are many different species of shrubs available. Evergreen shrubs require regular maintenance in order to keep them looking their best. If an evergreen shrub has been neglected for a period of time, it can be difficult or even impossible to prune. Therefore, it is imperative to trim evergreen shrubs regularly.

Step 1

Identify what kind of evergreen shrub you have. There are three basic types of evergreen shrubs: awl-like, needle-like, and scale-like. Their classification is based on how their needles appear.

Step 2

Reduce the bulkiness of the evergreen shrub in March or April by selectively removing a few branches throughout the shrub using your pruning shears.

Step 3

Prune your evergreen shrub in June or July. This is after the majority of the growth has occurred but also before the shrub has set new buds for the next year. Some species, like pines, will not grow any further from a specific branch if the bud is pruned off.

Step 4

Cut the branches that you want to remove deep into the evergreen shrub. The other branches will then fill in the empty space and become more robust. This will lead to a healthier shrub.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some evergreen shrubs, like arbor vitae, have a dead zone within the shrub. If you prune into this dead zone, the shrub will never regenerate new growth from this area.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves


  • Larry Sagers: Plan Prudent Pruning of Trees and Shrubs at Appropriate Times
  • University of Missouri Extension: Pruning Ornamental Shrubs
  • Terry L. Ettinger Horticulture Consulting Services: How to Prune Evergreen Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • Terry L. Ettinger Horticulture Consulting Services: Evergreen Identification
Keywords: trim evergreen shrubs, dead zone, pruning shears, pruning schedule, evergreen shrub

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.