It is only necessary to prune Indian hawthorn shrubs as needed to remove dead, diseased or damaged branches. These shrubs' shape and growth habits limit the need for regular pruning, so only prune the plant under these conditions or when thinning is needed. Broken branches can give way to disease, so cut back damage promptly after it occurs using pruning shears.
Make cuts about 1/4 inch above a bud to ensure new growth occurs. The new growth occurs in the direction that the bud is facing, so select an appropriate bud to maintain the shape of the bush. Remove dead and diseased stems in the same manner, cutting below any discoloration or problem spots on the stems. Make cuts cleanly, as uneven cuts offer more opportunities for disease to spread. When disease is suspected, use rubbing alcohol or another sterilizer to clean pruning shears in between clippings to prevent it from spreading.
Because rubbing of branches can lead to disease and insect infestations, thin and remove branches as needed to prevent rubbing. Buds for the following year begin forming shortly after flowers die back, so prune Indian hawthorns shortly after the flowers die to prevent damaging the next year's flowers.