When to Trim Your Bushes and 6 Important Tips to Do It Right

Are you unsure when or how to trim your bushes?

I used to be afraid of trimming my bushes too. Then one year, I decided I was going to tackle this hurdle and haven’t looked back since.

Actually, I’ve found it very empowering to be able to take care of my own landscaping. The more you know, the better off you are in my opinion.

So I want to share with you the tips I’ve learned along the way of this landscaping journey. Hopefully, it will help you grow more confident in your own trimming experiences.

In my own experience, I prune in the spring. My reasoning is that it is easier for me to see what is going on with my plants.

When the shrubs are on their way to dormancy, I have a tendency to get a little too happy with my hedge trimmers.

But when they are in bloom, I have an easier time of seeing what needs to stay and what should go.

So this is my preference. If you have a different preference, then stick with it. By all means, do what works best for you.

2. Take a Look at What is Going On

After you’ve picked the time of year you want to trim your shrubs, you need to begin by taking a look at the whole picture. Don’t just walk up to your bushes and start chopping away.

Instead, look at each shrub and see if there are any shoots that are out of place. Are there any dead places on the shrub?

If you answer yes to either of those questions, then you know where to begin.

3. Get the Right Tools

The next step is to be sure that you have the right tools for the job. I use both hedge clippers and pruning shears.

Truthfully, it depends upon what I’m pruning. If I’m pruning my rose bushes, I try to do the job with the hedge clippers so I don’t have to get as close to the thorns.

The hedge clippers that we prefer to use are the folding Green Blade hedge shear.

These durable telescopic hedge shears are manufactured with a high carbon steel, heat treated polished blade with PP + TPR grip for comfort.

But if I’m trimming ‘friendlier’ plants or shrubs, then I use my pruning shears since they are obviously smaller and easier to handle, in my opinion.

Also, don’t forget your gardening gloves. This will protect your hands from being pricked or scratched during the process. Your hands will be glad you did, and you can choose from 2 different gardening gloves depending on your needs. Special reference to great gloves to use when pruning rosebushes.

Your gardening glove options include:

Claw Gardening gloves:

Layered gardening gloves

Now that you have the appropriate tools, you are ready for the job at hand.

4. Trim for the Appropriate Type of Bush

Pruning your shrubs is a super easy job. Believe me, if I can do it, I would say almost anyone can.

However, there are two different types of shrubs that require two different approaches to pruning. If you have evergreen shrubs, then you’ll basically just want to look for any shoots that are causing the bush to look misshapen.

So if you see any of those, then you know to cut those back until they fit in with the rest of the bush.

But what do you do if you have a bush that is evergreen and looks as though it is taking over your home?

Well, in that case, you’ll need to decide how far back you want to take the bush. I recommend cutting a little at a time because you can always take more off, but you can’t add back.

So begin by making little cuts to the plant until you get it back as far as you’d prefer and so all of the bush is even. Just be aware not to cut the main stem of the bush, or you could kill your shrub.

Now, if you are trimming a flowering bush, you’ll need to first look for any dead on the shrub. If you find dead flowers, cut the shoot back until the dead is removed.

If you find an entire section that is dead, then cut it back. Just be advised not to cut the main part of the shrub.

Then, once the dead is removed,  you are ready to look for any misshapen parts of the shrub. Once you have the shrub cut to where it is even, you should be good to go.

5. Make it Look Good

Now, once you cut your shrubs, you’ll want to step back and look at the picture as a whole again. Do you have one shrub that is awkwardly bigger than the shrub next to it?

If so, then you may want to go back and do a little more trimming until they all look uniform.

Basically, the whole point of pruning is to cut off any dead parts of a bush and help them to get back into shape. It is very similar to us getting a hair cut.

Once all of your shrubs are looking good, it is time to wash up and give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve done a great job.

6. Enjoy Your Landscaping

Finally, you need to sit back and enjoy your work. I always feel better when my shrubs are looking well maintained. It has a way of adding a more welcoming touch to your home.

So now that you’ve pruned your shrubs, you are ready to move on to other tasks for the year. Just remember to trim off the dead as needed on your flowering shrubs.

But the other shrubs shouldn’t need any more attention until the following year when they hit another growth spurt. At least mine don’t anyway.

Now that you know how to properly care for your bushes, I’d like to give you a few popular options for shrubs in your yard.

Some of these are easier to care for and all add a splash of life to your landscaping.