The best time to prune your trees and shrubs depends upon whether or not they bloom and if their buds come from new growth or old growth. For example Azaleas bloom on old growth so you’ll want leave them alone until after they bloom this Spring. Then prune them back within a week or so after they’re done. If they bloom on new growth, like a crepe myrtle tree for example, you’ll want to prune them as soon as possible after the last frost. In either case you’ll need three basic tools – pruning shears for small stems, long-handled lopping shears for larger stems and a pruning saw for big branches. Then, as you shape the plant, try to make your cuts at branching points, close, but not quite flush with the stem they’re growing from.