Pruning Spring Flowering Shrubs
Prune spring blooming shrubs right after flowering. These shrubs set their flower buds in summer and pruning any other time will eliminate the all important spring floral display.
You'll need safety glasses to protect your eyes and gloves. Use bypass pruners that make a clean cut that closes quickly. Cut small stems 1/2 inch diameter or less with hand pruners. Use loppers to extend your reach and cut slightly bigger stems and a pruning saw for the rest.
Start by removing any crossed or dead branches. Then remove a few of the larger stems, on suckering shrubs, right back to ground level. Reduce the height on the remaining stems as needed. Make your cut on a slight angle above an outward facing bud or stem.
A bit more information: Summer blooming shrubs like Potentillas, summer blooming spireas, and Annabelle hydrangeas form their flowers on new growth. Prune these, when needed, in late winter or early spring before growth begins or anytime during the dormant season.