PRUNE IN THIS ORDER: 1: Remove all dead or diseased wood. Most trees are still in a state of dormancy and will bleed less sap, and insects and diseases are less active. Here are the steps to correctly pruning shrubs and trees around your yard: 1. Pruning during the wrong time of year, like late in your plant’s growing season, may encourage new growth of buds that will die over the winter. If you see branches which are already dead or are in the process of dying, you should cut those branches off first. Sterilize pruning tools with rubbing alcohol, bleach or disinfectant between every cut to prevent spread of disease. Remove What is Dead or Dying. If too many canes are removed at once, the shrub’s vigor will be affected, except in the case of shrubs such as caragana, mock orange, shrub roses, willow and spirea which can rebound from severe pruning. For some plants, the extra foliage pre-pruning can serve as a protector throughout the winter. It’s just not possible for it to regrow that quickly and to produce flowers. Start by thinning out unwanted canes. Older shrubs that have become a tangle of unproductive stems may require a more extensive program of thinning cuts, called renewal or renovation pruning, that takes at least three years. Prune 1/3 of the plant over several seasons to "restart" your plant. Later in summer prune harder into the plant to create the desired size and shape. How to prune shrubs One of the main goals is to thin out unwanted canes. It is much easier to see the structure of deciduous plants without their leaves, so pruning can be accomplished quickly and easily. Note that your shrub will not flower the year that you prune it if it is a spring-flowering shrub. After any renovation pruning make sure you feed and mulch in spring, if you want the plant to make vigorous growth. Other evergreens can be renovated over several years: In spring lightly prune the whole shrub to encourage buds to break further down the stems. The goal is to completely renew large shrubs over a three-year period. Prune all the branches down to 1/3 each season until the shrub is 4–10 inches (10–25 cm) in height and there is only new branches left. How to Prune Shrubs and Trees. Be sure to use a hand saw to remove thick branches. Pruning different types of plants requires different methods. But by the following year, the flowers should be abundant. Use rejuvenation pruning if you want to start over with your weigela shrub. NOVEMBER TO FEBRUARY: Time to prune perennials and shrubs that die back over winter. Dead or diseased wood should be pruned out whenever it is noticed, in any season. When to prune trees and shrubs is a hot topic, and it’s no question that spring is the ideal time to inspect your trees and shrubs for winter damage. This is a great way to restart your plant without having to purchase a new one.