All spring we have been advising you not to prune out branches without leaves yet. After last October’s flash freeze and this March’s freeze of the new leaves, it was important to give shrubs, trees and roses time for a second set of leaves to come out before removing wood. By now we should be seeing new green leaves forming if the wood is still alive.
So now we can prune away any branches that are not leafing out. Do cut back to a leafed-out branch or sprout; don’t leave a stub. Some evergreens may still be looking very brown. Look closely to see if tiny leaves are forming amongst the brown ones. Use a broom or gloved-hand to brush away dead needles. If you start removing branches from a conifer it may never look good again, so if you see any green, give it a chance.