Reducing size is often one of the main goals of pruning shrubs. However, pruning every branch that grows beyond the desired outline of a reduced size will stimulate an explosion of growth next spring. Several times as many branches will grow, producing a plant that is much thicker.
To keep the natural thickness of shrubs, prune one branch at a time. If possible, branches should be shortened back to a side branch. If no side branches are growing on a particular branch, prune just beyond a bud or remove the branch entirely. Don’t prune every branch to the same length. The natural shape of shrubs is not perfectly round or flat on the sides or top.
If growth is too thick, remove entire branches back to their origin. Shrubs should have a tapered shape with lower branches slightly longer than those growing above. If upper branches shade lower ones, the lower branches will gradually lose their leaves creating a bare look.