Pruning Shrubs:

The rule of thumb for pruning or cutting back shrubs is this:  if it flowers before June, cut it back immediately after flowering.  If it flowers after June, cut it back first thing in the spring.  The reason for this rule is because spring blooming (before June) shrubs form flowers on the previous years' growth, so if you cut it in the spring you will be cutting off the stems that will be producing flowers that season... 

Spring pruning:  

  • peegee, snowball and annabelle hydrangeas
  • burning bush
  • summer or fall blooming clematis, to 6 inches
  • rhododendrons: only if overgrown, after blooming
  • magnolias:  after blooming, only if diseased or overgrown
  • holly:  while still dormant
  • rose of sharon:  severely
  • late blooming heathers: before new growth in spring
  • cotoneaster: minimal
  • mock orange: pinch growing tips and thin out old stems
  • yew:  shear before new growth, then few more times during season to control
  • weigelia
  • late blooming lilacs
  • shrub roses
  • late blooming (pink) spirea
After flowering:

  • daphne
  • early heathers, to base of flower stalks
  • barberry
  • early blooming (bridalwreath) spireas
  • forsythia
  • most lilacs
  • climbing roses
  • mock orange
  • flowering almond
  • ninebarks
Fall Pruning:

  • boxwood
Prune Anytime:

  • dead, diseased, broken or crossing branches, back to healthy branch
  • cedar hedges, other evergreens: anytime before October