Laurel can be pruned during any time of the year; however, it is recommended that laurel be pruned in the dryer summer months. It is possible for cankers to form where the branches have been cut. Cankers are small infections that can be exacerbated by dampness.
Making sure that the pruning shears are clean, sharp and dry is important because it reduces the amount of potential contaminates and makes it less likely that cankers will form. Laurel branches should be thinned by removing dead branches as well as branches that cross or crowd one another. Mountain laurel should be deadheaded after the flowers fade.