Can you please identify this evergreen plant? It is overgrown in my backyard and I would like to know how and when I can prune it without damaging the plant.
I really appreciate your help.
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
From your picture I am unable to make a firm identification. I would need to see a close up of the trees needles to absolutely sure. Here is a site that will help you to begin identifying your tree. If you are still unsure you should send in a close up picture of the branches.
When it comes to pruning these trees it is important to note that they do not grow back if you cut into old wood. Cutting off branches is usually restricted to removing deadwood, branches that are crossing or a branch that poses a hazard. If you trim off branches you will be left with a bare patch. Evergreen pruning is restricted to cutting newly grown wood at the tips of branches. I am attaching some links below that have diagrams showing where these cuts are made on new wood. This pruning technique will fill out the branch you prune at its tips. Evergreens are large trees and this one will probably grow much larger than it is at the moment though the trees around may shade it and slow it down.