This is the time of year to shape your pines in the Northeast and Midwestern US. Pine trees and shrubs have put on new growth called “Candles.”
The basic idea is to shorten each candle by about one-half to two-thirds of its length, and to do so before the candle has fully enlongated and the needles have grown to full length.
If you wish to limit the size of the shrub cut off more, if you want to fill-in an area of the shrub or let it grow larger trim off less of the "candle." Trimming pines annually helps keep them from getting "leggy" or overgrown. This short video will help:
You have some "wiggle room" from about early June into early July. Some Christmas tree growers actually have workers use machetes to shape their pines each year into shapely cone-shaped Christmas trees, using a broad stroke up and down the side of trees. Others have various types of power equipment to mechanically trim-off the new growth.
As a homeowner, you can use hand pruners, hand shears or power shears. The candles are typically very sticky from the pine pitch once you cut them, so you may need to clean your pruners with a rag and some rubbing alcohol or WD40 as trimming continues and comes to completion. Most hand cleaners will help with your cleanup once you are finished.
Here's another video showing how to trim "candles" with hand pruners:
Watching the two short videos above will help walk you through the entire process.
Happy candling! Bob