If the bushes in your landscape are uneven, you might have the urge to begin whacking away at them. But before you viciously attack your shrubs, it’s a good idea to become acquainted with essential information on how to trim bushes. This article guides you in the right direction.

Learning How to Trim Bushes

Start by pruning away damaged or dying limbs with a saw, pruning shears, or a lopper. Your shears must be sharp enough to create a clean, straight cut. It’s not recommended leaving raggedy edges. Think about using bypass loppers and anvil pruners, which allow little hands to cut limbs. You’ll need a metal hacksaw or wood saw to trim trunks and thick limbs. 


Prune just over the branch collar. The branch collar is a tiny ring of lumpy tissue at the fork of a main trunk and branch. The bumpy area is overflowing with plant growth cells. Leave the collar unbroken, giving your shrubs a better opportunity to callous over and mend from your surgery.

Pruning Shrubs

For an organic appearance, use the “heading back” method. Examine the bush and find the tallest main branch. With your eye and hand, trail this main branch until it joins a lower side branch that points skyward. Trim the main branch off just over the smaller one. Repeat the technique with all the branches. Make sure to take a step back and assess your work. 


Needled evergreens, like juniper, may be pruned in early spring. This process is okay, as long as you don’t overdo it. When you see the first indications of new growth coming from your previous cuts, prune again to reduce the height even more.

Foundation Plantings

For trees in foundation plantings, prune away branches that are touching the home. This technique enhances air circulation around the back limbs, resulting in a healthier bush.

When to Prune

The right time to prune needled evergreens is in the wintertime (dormant period). Flowering shrubs are trickier since pruning them at the wrong time could mean a loss of next year’s flowers. The rule is that if the bush flourishes in late summer or fall, you should prune it in early spring before new growth appears.

Reach out to Lenoir Tree Service to get some more tips on how to trim your bushes.