A second cut is made completely through the branch an inch farther out from the top down. The third and final cut of the remaining stub is then made with one smooth cut from the top down just outside the branch collar. Very large limbs should first be reduced in size by removing outer sections. For the quickest healing results, the wood should be cut clean, with no ragged edges. Large limbs are hazardous and it is advisable to have a professional arborist or tree surgeon do the job.
Shearing - removes all of the new growth along with the terminal buds. This directs strength to the side buds, thus increasing side growth for a denser, bushy hedge. Shearing is usually restricted to removing soft, first-year growth that is easy to cut.
It is best to shear shortly after new growth begins in the spring so that the lateral buds will have all season to grow and make the hedge bushy.
When to Prune - The proper time to prune is variable. Most shrubs, trees and vines are pruned while dormant, just before the sap starts to flow. Pruning at this time results in quicker healing of the wounds as new growth is about to start. There are many exceptions, such as flowering shrubs which should not be pruned until after blossoming or shade trees where heavy spring sap flows will be lost through fresh pruning cuts. Dead, damaged or broken limbs should be pruned any time noticed.
Late Winter - This is the dormant period in most parts of the country depending on where you live, this may be late January, February or early March. Fruit trees, broad-leafed evergreens, vines and some types of roses and shrubs should be pruned while dormant. Once the buds turn green and start to grow it is usually too late for dormant pruning and you should wait until next year for all but light pruning.
Early Summer - As they begin to grow, shear evergreens and hedges. They grow fastest at this time and will produce strong side growth. Do not forget to prune early-blooming shrubs after the last flowers fade.
Late Summer - Certain shade trees should be pruned at this time, such a maples and birches, which will lose too much sap if pruned in spring. The correct times to prune can vary by region. If you are unsure, contact your local Agricultural Extension Service for information on your area.