Garrya eliptica is one of those shrubs that rarely - if ever - need pruning. However, if the need arises, there is a time and method that should be noted to ensure continuing crops of drooping tassels that this shrub is grown for.
Garrya eliptica is best grown against a wall or sturdy fence, so can over time be a bit overbearing - Something that should be borne in mind at planting or design time, for it rarely responds in the normal manner when the secateurs are used.
As well as being suitable as a wall shrub, it is quite spectacular as a large stand alone specimen shrub. I this case there are several ways in which it can be trained and pruned.
I all cases of pruning your Garrya - the early spring is best - as soon as the silk tassel flowers have become unsightly! This alone is a good reason for a light trim, for it does tend to look a little messy right after flowering - before the new foliage starts to emerge.
If you are happy with the overall shape - and size, then simply snip - or clip - off the faded catkin tassels as soon as possible, and in any event before the new leaf shoots start to emerge. Avoid cutting back into old wood - unless you want new growth to train along the wall or fence. If grown flat against the wall, it can be trimmed with garden clippers in order to keep it neat and tidy against the fence. this will encourage new growth over the whole face of the plant, ands will not therefore be too rampant.
If training is required, cut one or two (no more) branches back hard to where you want the new training stems to grow from.
New growth from these low cuts will be vigorous and may require further trimming of the laterals to train the new shoots where you want then to go.
Once this has been done, and the shoots sent out new laterals, then clim back over time to match in with the rest of the wall shrub.
Garrya shrubs and small trees are best left un-pruned - other than trimming off the old faded tassels if required.
This does not preclude the normal husbandry pruning of removing diseased or broke branches - or indeed any that need cutting off for aesthetic reasons.
The shrubs grown in this way, can often be renewed by way of rejuvenation pruning - which is best carried out over the course of a few years - selecting branches that fall into line with your personal desires. Be prepared for some vigorous regrowth from the pruning cuts, and train as required throughout the first year.
A rare but useful way of growing Garrya is as a large evergreen hedge. Only uses the clippers once - again right after flowering to ensure time for new flowering wood to grow ready for next winter's display of tassles. Don't be tempted to carry out a further cut later in the year. If grown as a hedge, you will have to be prepared for a little 'non-conformity later in the summer! But you will be rewarde with drooping braches full of the silk tassels.