Pruning Shrubs in NH Winter

Really, it is.   And I’m not just saying that because we don’t have any snow to push.  Why prune deciduous shade and fruit trees in the winter?  Let me count the ways:
1. With the crown free of leaves, it’s far easier to recognize the structural flaws within the tree.
2. By pruning during the winter months, your trees are less susceptible to pests and diseases.
3. Pruning promotes vigorous growth when the spring season begins.
A bad pruning job is akin to a bad haircut.  Sure it’ll grow out, but I’m sure most of my lady readers wouldn’t have their husband give them a haircut.  If he doesn’t know how to properly prune a tree, I wouldn’t have him do that either.  While a bad prune job will rarely kill a plant, it can result in undesirable shape, poor structural form, and might leave your neighbors laughing at you for several years.  Ouch.
So what is pruning, and why is it necessary? 
In its most general terms, pruning is the selective removal of parts of a plant.  Why is it necessary?  In the horticultural trade, pruning is exercised for several reasons, including deadwood removal, shaping, improving or maintaining health, preparing plants for transplanting, or increasing quantity and quality of flowers or fruit.  In the general residential landscape, we are generally pruning for overall plant health and shape; increased flowering is generally a bonus side effect.  Fruit trees are in a class of their own, and have their own special pruning requirements to maximize fruit production.
Pruning might be the most misunderstood and improperly performed landscape task by the general homeowner.  With good reason, it's not easy.  With the science of pruning techniques and the special requirements of so many different plants in the landscape, it is difficult for anyone but a highly trained and experienced horticultural professional to posses enough skill, experience, and knowledge to not be dangerous. 
We commonly see pruning being performed at the wrong time of the year, with the wrong tools, with the wrong techniques.  My recommendation to the frugal homeowner is to invest your manpower into a task such as mowing the lawn or mulching the beds, and leave the pruning to a trained professional. 
I could go on and on about the process and techniques of pruning, but it is evident the internet is already bursting with this information (and I’ve already bored the average blog reader enough).  If it’s a chore you really want to take on by yourself, my best advice is to read up on the best practices for your specific plants, and to invest in the proper tools (which likely does not include gas powered hedge trimmers).  If you don’t want to tackle this task on your own, our tools are sharp and ready for action!