Great tips on how to take back control of your yard, and keep your plants healthy and beautiful with these how-tos for trimming your shrubs.

Shrubs – 5 Hassle-Free Trimming Tips

Regular contributor, Megan Wild shares some great tips on how to take back control of your yard , and keep your plants healthy with tips for trimming your shrubs.

Shrubs – 5 Hassle-Free Trimming Tips

Take back control of your yard, and keep your plants healthy.


If you’ve ever gone out to give your shrubs a quick trim, only to find it so hard to keep them even that you end up cutting off way too many branches, you’re probably hesitant to make the same mistake twice. I know how that feels, because that’s how my first trim went. Unfortunately, under-trimming your shrubs can lead to just as many problems as over-trimming them, as you’ll end up with overgrown bushes with lots of deadwood and poor flowering.

Luckily, proper pruning isn’t hard to learn, and you’ll get good results if you take your time. Follow these tips for hassle-free shrub trimming:

  1. Know When to Cut

Different types of plants flower at different times of the year, and the timing of their life cycles typically determines when you should prune them. Evergreen shrubs can be pruned almost any time of year except the fall, when new growth will be vulnerable to dieback from the winter cold. Flowering shrubs should be cut back at a time when flower buds won’t be removed.

For early bloomers like lilacs, shape them immediately after blooming. Summer bloomers can be cut back in the winter. Hydrangeas are the exception: Shape these in midsummer so you don’t accidentally remove the flower buds.


  1. Start With the Dead Stuff

If you’re nervous about just how much to cut and where to begin, it’s always a good idea to start with the deadwood. Your plant will never miss these, and cutting out broken branches is a good way to prevent disease. Cut below the break to give your plant a clean wound that will easily heal. Your bush won’t miss dead branches, so don’t worry yet about shaping – just get rid of them.


  1. Shape Slowly

Sometimes, removing dead wood is all you need to make your shrubs look like their old selves, so stand back and look at the plant’s shape before making any more cuts. For a quick shape up, cut only the twigs and branches that are sticking out beyond the natural shape of your bush. Resist the urge to make a lot of cuts at once – it’s best to go slow and take a step back to assess so you don’t end up cutting too much at once.


  1. Avoid Right Angles and Odd Shapes

The best pruning allows the plant to grow in a natural way, so unless you’re Edward Scissorhands or work at Disney World, don’t try to form strange shapes with your shrubs. Right angles should be avoided, and this is true even of box hedges. These plants need sunlight for photosynthesis and good health, so make sure bottom branches are slightly wider than the tops so they also receive sunlight. Flat tops are also a bad idea, as the weight of ice and snow will break the branches.


  1. Do a Little Research

Because each plant has its own natural shape and growing habit, there’s no hard and fast rule about trimming shrubs that works for everything. Though you should consider that trimming shrubs helps increase curb appeal, makes your home a more welcoming place for guests, and can even increase your home’s market value. Your best bet is to do a little internet research about your plant to see what experts recommend.

You can also visit a local nursery or get advice from a neighbor with a green thumb if you need help identifying a bush or learning the basics about garden tools and techniques. Pruning is also good for the health of the plant, so give it a try – it doesn’t have to be scary! Once you know all about your plant, go ahead and give it a trim at least once a year to maintain its shape.


Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!







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34 thoughts on “Shrubs – 5 Hassle-Free Trimming Tips”

  1. I certainly won’t be trimming any hedges anytime soon. However, when I did do it growing up, I kept it basic and simple. I only trimmed until everything was even. I’ll admit though that I like those fancy designed hedges.

    1. I like them too Crystal! My hubby trims the shrub outside with a regular pair of scissors –I asked him if he needed those pruning shears. 🙂

  2. You have some great tips for trimming trees and shrubs. I wasn’t aware that different plants needed to be pruned at different times, but that makes sense. I will have to do some research on the plants and trees in my yard to determine when they need to be trimmed!

  3. Doing research beforehand is smart. That way you don’t end up ruining your tree or your plant. You could even end up killing the tree or plant by cutting too much. So, knowing how and what to do beforehand is a good idea.

  4. I love how you talked about the importance of timing when it comes to pruning or cutting your plants and trees. It would be a shame to compromise the health of your plants because you didn’t know when to trim them and when not to. I also think it’s so important that you have the right tools to do it with. If you have poor quality equipment, you can’t expect a high quality look.

  5. Hi, you have written the very informative post.
    Just same as human beings, trees are surviving and demand to be managed in order to live longer. Pruning can get your tree last for a prolonged time because the lifeless, dull and pest infested parts are eliminated in the process.

  6. Hey, Nice share!

    I must say that appropriate pruning is necessary for building the foundation of trees stronger and the form more engaging.

    Smaller trees need restorative pruning while in the process of developing. The attractive landscape will surely be heightened with a slight trimming.

  7. These are some great shrub trimming tips. I normally avoid odd shapes when trimming shrubs for the health of the tree. Its always best to do research ahead of time.Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks for sharing these tips. They give me a starting point for learning to maintain shrubs. Next I need to find a way to remove the weeds that continue to appear in my shrubs.

  9. Awesome hassle free trimming tips! Our yard needs some proper trimming and these tips are very helpful, thanks for sharing this!

  10. Hey Lorelai,

    Awesome share then. I love to trim shrubs a lot and found this tips really helpful. Would love to try this! Thanks for sharing such an awesome tips.


  11. It’s nice to know that evergreen shrubs can be pruned almost any time of the year with the exception of fall. My husband and I have some trees in our front yard that need trimming. We don’t have the time, experience, or tools to do something like that ourselves. We’ll want to make sure and hire a professional who knows what they’re doing and can trim it safely.

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