Choose the right tool. Use a pruning saw on branches larger then then 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter. Use loppers on branches on an inch or so in diameter. Pruners work best on the smallest branches. Whatever you use, make sure it’s clean and sharp.
Select the right time. Late winter is the best time to prune many trees or shrubs because they’re dormant and it’s easy to see what needs to be pruned. But there are exceptions.
Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs right after they finish flowering.
Remove dead branches in summer when they are easy to spot
Trees and shrubs that bloom during summer and into fall are best pruned in late winter or early spring, as soon as annual growth begins.
Avoid fall pruning. It stimulates new growth that could be killed by winter cold.
Your can prune the following anytime: suckers (shoots from the trunk base or roots); water sprouts (multiple soft, fast-growing branches that rise from a trunk or large limbs); branches that are dead, diseased, or damaged.