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Remove suckers. Some plants, such as glossy black chokeberries tend to send up suckers which are new shoots from where stem meets root. Carefully cut out suckers which interfere with shape of plant.
Timing. Generally it is best to prune plants in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. However, for spring and early summer blooming shrubs and trees, such as lilacs, wait until after bloom and then trim. This will help you to avoid cutting off current buds.
In pruning it is best to recognize your limitations. For tall trees or high branches you may need to call a professional arborist. Also, if you have any questions on what or when to prune make sure you do more research before getting out those clippers.
Donna Evans is co-owner of Gizmo Creations LLC, a landscape design firm located north of Brainerd, Minnesota. Gizmo Creations works with homeowners, landscape contractors and business owners to create a unique landscape that incorporates the property owner's lifestyle into their landscape. Their website, www.gizmocreations.com, has numerous articles on landscape design as well as sample plans.