EVERGREENS PRUNING TIPS
Conifers - such as firs, balsam, spruce and pine trees should not be severely pruned or sheared. New growth is rarely produced from mature wood. To thicken the growth, prune the center tip of the side branches. Pruning should be done during the late winter and again in early summer, after new growth has been established. For hedges and screens, the trees can be topped to induce thickening and denseness. Small evergreens in foundation plantings can be controlled by shearing the end buds and leaders. The softer foliaged evergreens such as yews, aborvitae, junipers and retimosporas adapt to shearing to a smooth surface and various forms but are usually pruned in a natural form.
Broad Leaved Evergreen - shrubs such as rhododendron and laurel need little pruning except to preserve the natural shape of the plant and remove all dead and broken branches. Clip off old flowers back to an axil bud. Young plants should be clipped occasionally to encourage sturdy growth. Old overgrown plants of some varieties can be cut back severely in early spring. In cold climates, spread major pruning over several years, removing a third of the stems each year.