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That said, be cautious about excessively cutting the tops of arborvitae.

Apr 06, It is safest to start cutting back yews when they are dormant. Late winter is perhaps the ideal time to start pruning a yew shrub. The types of pruning cuts to use depend on the outcome you desire.

Richard Jauron.

Dec 10, Late fall -- about December -- is another excellent time to think about trimming emerald green arborvitae or other kinds of arborvitae. Prune Juniper, Arborvitae, and Japanese Yews from late winter into early spring. Is it okay to cut a shrub all the way to the ground? The general rule is if a shrub grows multiple stems from the ground up, pruning it close to the ground is okay.

If the shrub grows from a single trunk at ground level and then branches into multiple stems, do not.