Trees are very important to prune for many reasons (which we have covered more in depth here). Shrubs, however, are often overlooked. 

One of our clients likened it to  that feeling after getting your hair is trimmed, and we couldn’t agree more! You’ll look at your house with a similar sentiment. Don’t worry- no gel needed!

Why do we prune shrubs?

  • Control size
  • Maintain or rejuvenate appearance
  • Direct Growth in an optimal direction
  • Influence flowering or fruiting
  • Rejuvenation of older plants
  • Remove interfering branches 

When is the best time to prune shrubs?

Timing is dependent on shrub flowering. For example, to preserve flowers, lilacs should be pruned after flowering. Their flower buds set over the winter on year-old wood. If they are pruned in the winter, the flower buds will be pruned off and you’ll see a reduction in blooms come spring. 

Spring flowering shrubs: 

Since they bloom on wood produced the year prior, you should prune them after blooming. Late Spring/Early summer (after blooming) is an ideal time to prune for maximum blooms the following year. 

Do not prune before floweringPrune if plants are done flowering and not too hot Prune before new flower buds setDo not prune as flower buds are setting 


  • Lilac
  • Forsythia
  • Viburnum
  • Honeysuckle
  • Chokeberry
  • Mock Orange
  • Weigelia

Summer-flowering shrubs

Summer-flowering shrubs bloom on new growth produced in the spring. Prune when dormant or in early spring. 

Prune before budbreakDo not prune Prune once plant is dormantIdeal time to prune while plant is dormant


  • Hydrangea
  • Potentilla
  • Roses
  • Spirea
  • Smokebush

Important to Note

Rejuvenation prunes involve removing a large portion of older canes/branches. The best time to do so, regardless of plant type, is in the winter.

Small shrub pruning is often taken on by the homeowner. But, similar to a haircut, you might not notice a standard style, but you will definitely notice a terrible one. It’s easy to make improper cuts that harm the plant, cause bald spots (especially in evergreen shrubs) or make the plant look unbalanced. 

It’s best to call in the professionals to prune your shrubs. For us, shrub pruning is a fun artistic expression. Bonus points if you want your yew trimmed into a wild shape (though we haven’t mastered unicorns). 

  • Phone

    (608) 886-0626

  • Hours

    Mon-Fri 9 am-5 pm

  • Address

    1209 Greenway Cross
    Madison, WI 53713