On Saturday (June 8th), I pruned all of the shrubs that are growing around our house. Much like when I pruned the lilac, my goals were to remove any dead branches and to thin out branches that were growing too closely.
I also removed any branches that were close enough to the house that they might brush against the walls in the wind. Over time, this could damage the house. I like to prune the branches about six inches (15 cm) from the house.
Other than that, I don’t try to shape the shrubs. Their natural shapes are quite beautiful. Shrubs that have been made to look like a muffin appear ludicrous to me.
I used the small bypass pruners and the larger lopping pruners for this job.
I also used my Japanese saw to prune some large tree branches that were intruding on the dogwood.
I pruned the spring-flowering shrubs (and the dogwood, a small tree) now because they have all finished flowering. After they finish flowering, shrubs begin to make the flower buds that will bloom the next year. I don’t want to remove any of those flower buds.
The shrubs that I pruned included azalea and rhododendron bushes, the dogwood tree, and Japanese spreading yew. I also removed dead branches but no live ones from spirea, rose, and hydrangea shrubs, which will bloom later this summer. You can see photos of some of these shrubs in bloom here, here, and here.