1) Prune when the plants are dormant in late winter
This is the common practice in pruning since the wounds are exposed for only for a limited time before the growing cycle begins. It’s also easier to see what needs to be pruned after the leaves have dropped. Winter pruning results in a vigorous burst of new growth in the spring.
What to prune: summer flowering trees and shrubs(crape myrtles, vitex, smoke tree, rose of Sharon, potentilla, butterfly bush), hydrangea paniculata and arborescens, roses (hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, miniatures, modern shrub), deciduous shade trees (oak, linden, ash), and deciduous fruit trees (apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries)
2) Avoid top pruning in spring.
Some plants form flower buds on growth produced from the previous year. Any top pruning during spring will result in loss of flowers. However, shrubs grown primarily for their foliage rather than showy flowers can be pruned in spring before growth begins. Early-spring bloomers are best pruned late spring immediately after they finish blooming. Most broadleaf evergreens only need little pruning and can be done in early spring.
What to prune: burning bush, honeysuckle, smoke bush, maples, butternut, walnut, birch, lilac, forsythia, rhododendron, climbing roses, old fashioned rose, holly, mahonia, some types of magnolias, clematis, Virginia creeper, wisteria
3) Corrective pruning should be done in summer.
Summer pruning is considered an off-season pruning. There are 2 main goals in summer pruning: for correction - removing dead, damaged, diseased, rubbing limbs and those the grow inward; for creating a sturdy structure - pinching of tender new branches to encourage huskier growth in vigorously vegetative trees and manage the tree’s overall size.
What to prune: peach, nectarine, Japanese plum, apple, pear
4) Do not prune in fall.
It is not advisable to pruning in fall season because decay fungi spread their spores profusely during this time and healing of wounds is slower. Pruning the plants in fall stimulates new growth just when the plants are trying to go dormant which can severely weaken them.
5) Do not prune when it’s wet.
As a general rule of thumb, you should not prune when it's damp outside. This will only allow the spread of diseases among plants. Damp weather encourages the growth of microbes that will make the most of the damage your pruning does. When you cut into a plant, it’s as if you are creating a tiny wound. These act as paths to infection and can make the plant vulnerable, so it’s best to wait for dry, sunny conditions.
5) Know the best tool to use before pruning at any season.
Hand pruners are the most commonly used tool for making precision snips, thinning out unwanted branches, and reaching places other tools can't. Choose a good pruning tool that is sharp and durable. Tools made of carbon steel and surfaced with titanium coating are the best to use. They are better in edge retention and reduce friction, which keeps blades sharper and decreases expended pruning effort significantly.
6) Complete your pruning tasks within the recommended timeframe.
When pruning, timing is important to ensure a healthy growth and vigorous fruits or bloom in the growing season. To help you accomplish this, choose a tool that will make pruning easier and faster.
A tool that provides ergonomics and comfort are recommended. This way, you can prune more plants because you don’t get that much tired, which normally slows you down.