1. After several years, shrub stems become crowded. Their leaves and flowers are sparser, and they look disheveled. Thin the shrub when it's dormant by removing the oldest and thickest stems.
2. Use long-handled loppers to cut stems up to an inch in diameter. Cut each stem 1 to 2 feet above the ground and remove it. Then there is room to cut the stub properly at ground level.
3. A pruning saw comes in handy for stems larger than 1 inch in diameter. This narrow, pointed folding saw fits into tight spaces between crowded stems. It also makes a smooth cut.
4. Thorough renovation of long-neglected shrubs requires removal of about 1/3 of the stems each year or two. After six years, the old stems are replaced by vigorous new ones.
5. With about 1/3 of the thick, old stems removed, there's plenty of space for this shrub to send up vigorous new replacement shoots.
6. Cut back extra-long stems to normal length. If the leaves have emerged, don't cut them all off, or the shrub may not grow new shoots.