How to trim philadelphus (mock orange)?

I have couple of philadelphus (mock orange) bushes that have bloomed out. Now the plants look straggly and quite ugly, with dead-looking branches everywhere. I am wondering if it is okay for me to cut the plants down to the ground in the fall for spring growth. If not, how does one trim this plant?
Thank you
Jeffery
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Now
everywhere.
in the

Dead-looking how ? No leaves? Or just the rather untidy looking dried remains of the flowers? No leaves is not a good thing - it is too early for the shrub to have lost its leaves for the season, so the lack of foliage may indicate some other stress factor, perhaps lack of adequate water.
To maximize bloom for the following season, this plant should be pruned as soon as possible after flowering. You can trim it back now, but you will sacrifice a portion of next season's flowers. Cutting it down to the ground is rather harsh and at this time of year, you risk exposing it to winter damage, which in colder climates with severe winters, could kill it. If it is a mature shrub that has grown ungainly, you can remove a third of the oldest canes or stems coming from the base. This will encourage the development of new, more vigorous wood and you can actually rejuvenate the plant by doing the same for a period of three years. Otherwise, you can cut back taller stems and spent flowering branches to a strong shoot or new growth as needed, but as next year's flowers will form on the growth the plant produced this season, you will be removing them as well, unless you do this as soon as the plant is done blooming.
pam - gardengal

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Thank you very much for your reply. Sorry I was not clear on describing the condition of the bushes; the branches do have leaves on them, but they look very ungainly and unattractive, like a buddleia bush that I have. I thought maybe if I cut the whole thing down to the ground, I could make the branches grow out more attractively. I will take your advice and trim off the outside canes and not cut the whole thing down since we do have a severe winter here.
Jeffery

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnojunk (Jefffooz) wrote in message

Best done in early spring about the time you would prune roses.
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