Once you have the correct tools to prune, and you know when the plant should be pruned, there are different ways to go about the process. To shape an unruly tree or shrub, pruning is a practical way to give the plant a more attractive and orderly appearance. To do this, simply cut branches that stick out significantly, or any branches that curve or twist in an awkward way. When cutting the branch, it’s important to make a cut at an angle along the branch, instead of a complete straight cut. Cutting this way is healthier for the plant, and will encourage new growth. If you decide to prune in the late winter season or early spring, it is healthier for the plant to prune in above freezing temperatures. Try to plan on pruning on a calm, somewhat sunny and warm day.
Before pruning, visualize the tree or shrub and try to pick out the sections that look unnatural or out of place. The goal is to make the plant as even as possible, and somewhat symmetrical. Cut off any dead or diseased limbs. When pruning shrubs, it can be beneficial to prune some of the branches that aren’t exposed, which allows more air and ventilation to the base and interior of the plant. Most of the time, you can find dead foliage underneath the exposed foliage, because there isn’t enough light close to the base of the plant.