If you have a garden full of gorgeous flowers and blooming plants, chances are you would do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and beautiful. While cutting back your blooms might seem a bit harsh, seasonal pruning is beneficial to many plants and flowers for a number of reasons.

According to Texas A&M University, gardeners use pruning to train their plants, maintain the health of their bounty and improve the quality of spring flowers, fruit, shrubs and leaves.

While you might think that plants survive just fine in the wild without such methods, natural pruning does actually take place. Whether it’s an animal breaking off a branch, dead leaves and twigs blowing off in a storm or competition for a light source that results in part of a plant dying, most greenery experiences pruning in one form or another.

The University of Minnesota also points out that pruning can extend the blooming time of your flowers, regenerate your plants and encourage hardy new growth. You’ll be able to control the flower size and the number of flowers on your shrubs, trees and landscaping designs, as well as the size of your houseplants. Pruning is also an effective way to keep plants from invading the space of others, and it can even help control pests and diseases.

So, when’s a good time to start pruning your plants? LewisGardens.com recommends pruning most flowers in the early spring when new growth and blooms haven’t appeared yet. Some shrubs, like rosebushes, should be pruned right after the flowering season has ended. If you’re unsure of when to prune a specific species, it’s best to do your research online before you begin.

The tools you’ll need for pruning include pruning shears and lopping shears. For smaller plants, a sharp pair of scissors might even do the trick. Texas A&M University warns that keeping your pruning tools in good condition is essential, as rusted, dull or dirty blades can harm your plants and cause issues in the future. Clean, sharp blades will cut the plants efficiently and in a manner that will encourage the wounds to heal quickly.

When you’re ready to prune, there are several techniques you’ll need to master. According to the University of Minnesota, this includes deadheading, cutting back, pinching, disbudding and thinning. Basically, you’ll just need to remove dead flowers, leaves and branches and reduce the size of your plants to make room for new growth. It can be a time-consuming process, but it’s worth it if you want to enjoy big, gorgeous flowers.