Just as the early years of a child’s life, the “formative years”, are so critical in the development of a person, so are the early years of a plants life. This is especially so where pruning is concerned.
For example, by performing some simple structural pruning during the first eight or so years of a trees life, one can transform a tree that is destined to be structurally unsound and even hazardous when mature, to a structurally sound one. Of course this requires one to think futuristically as far as economics are concerned, but in the case of the tree, a pruning cut that takes a minute today, may circumvent the need for future tree work costing thousands of dollars. Not to mention how appearance is improved with proper pruning.
Now is a good time in metro Atlanta to perform structural pruning on most landscape ornamentals. However, avoid pruning spring flowering trees and shrubs in metro Atlanta now, unless a loss of blooms can be tolerated.