Early spring is the best time for pruning trees, shrubs, and bushes. This timing provides plants with the whole summer to heal their wounds. When plants are still dormant, it is easier to see the shape and form of the plant you are pruning.

“If a person cannot love a plant after he has pruned it, then he has either done a poor job or is devoid of emotion.” Liberty Hyde Bailey

Spring flowering shrubs, such as chokeberry, lilac and serviceberry should be pruned after flowering and before they set buds for the following season. The summer blooming bushes, potentilla, and spirea can be pruned back to 6-12 inches above the ground in the early spring.

Pruning can be the rejuvenation of an old, unruly shrub that has poor structure due to snow load.

When setting out to prune, spoil yourself with good, sharp tools. Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. The dead and broken limbs need cut first. Then, any crossing or rubbing branches need to removed. Then you can follow up by cutting to control shape and size. Don’t use pruning sealers, as they inhibit the plants natural healing process.