Nothing irks me more this time of year than hearing all of the landscapers and homeowners with their powered hedge trimmers attacking every shrub in sight.
I think it is George Weigel who said the best time to prune your shrubs is when you actually have time to do it. However, if you can plan to do it at the best time of year, your plant will thank you. MOST SHRUBS DON'T NEED TO BE PRUNED AT ALL. Just clip back any stray branches when you see them. However, pruning at the wrong time of year might prevent your shrub from flowering the following year, or new tender growth may get damaged in the winter. If you have a shrub that was intended to be maintained in a certain shape, like a topiary, then it does need frequent special care. If your shrub has outgrown the space allotted for it, then it was the wrong shrub for the space to begin with. Replace it with something smaller, or make your garden bigger! It's also possible it could be cut way back and rejuvenated.
So tools. If you do have a special solid hedge or topiary, then you can make use of shears. Otherwise, all you need is a pair of hand pruners. I don't even care what kind, as long as they fit your hand and do the job. Does anyone need a powered hedger? ALMOST NO ONE. Unless you have a truly massive formal hedge, this tool wreaks utter destruction and is complete overkill for most pruning jobs. Your plant will put out new branches at every cut, resulting in a very dense growth habit. The lack of air circulation inside the plant then creates a great environment for disease. Not to mention the gas-powered hedgers are terrible for the environment. Noise pollution, air pollution, fossil fuel use, etc.
Do you have any specific questions regarding pruning for your own shrub? Ask me below!