First we cut each of the main branches so that one of its lower side branches becomes its new tip, and that tip ends within the outline we've set. (Below, center image.)
We use a hand saw and 3-cut method to make cuts without ripping.
( What's Coming Up 156 illustrates that 3-cut method.)
This takes 30 minutes.
(For more about gauging growth rate, see What's Coming Up 50, pages 3-4. )
This takes another 30 minutes.
Then we clean up by cutting and tying branches into 4' bundles.
The clean-up takes 60 minutes.
We schedule most of our pruning in late summer when the aim is to keep big plants small. We make exceptions like this late spring cut to the redbud when the plant is of a species that blooms in early spring, and we want the best flower show possible, and we can accept the possibility of excessive suckering that can come from hard cuts made during a plant's spring push.