How to Prune Plants

Learn how to cut back plants in your garden effectively to encourage new growth and remove dead and diseased branches.

You will need

  • An illustrated gardening guide
  • Gardening gloves
  • Gardening shears
  • Gardening clippers
  • Loppers
  • A saw or chainsaw

Step 1 Study gardening books or online gardening guides to determine the proper shape for the trees, bushes, and other plants in your garden. Maintain your plant’s original shape when you’re pruning.

Step 2 Remove dead flowers regularly from perennial and annual flowering plants to encourage continual flowering.

Step 3 Prune shrubs by removing dead or damaged branches. Use shears, loppers, or a saw, depending upon the size of the branches.

Step 4 Find a main branch; then find the nearest side branch that grows upward. Prune the main branch just above the side branch.

Step 5 Prune evergreen shrubs in fall or winter, and use the cuttings to decorate for the holidays. Prune again in spring, once new growth has begun, to control height.

Step 6 Prune shrubs that line your house to provide a clearance of 8 to 12 inches from the shrub to the exterior walls. This protects your home, and improves light and airflow to the back of the shrub.

Step 7 Watch your plants thrive for years to come, thanks to careful pruning!