Trimming hedges

Would it hurt my hedges if I wanted to trim them back quite a bit. By that, I mean, if I wanted to cut their height by 2-3 feet, would it harm/kill the plant? Should I just wait until the fall? These are not the evergreen type, they are the hedges that have stiff branches with leaves.
TIA, Hawkeye65
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The Addison's said:

That narrows it down to, oh, several thousand possibilities. ;)
Point being, the type of plant as well as the time of year, will determine if it's time to prune, and how much you can cut them back. You'll need to be more specific on the plant species and your location. Is a linked pic possible?
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How about a burning bush in metrowest Boston Massachusetts - can it be trimmed now?
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JL said:

Most likely, too late. Best to prune back burning bush in late winter, just before new growth starts.
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Do you HAVE to cut it back all at once? If you can, thin it out by about one third a year. You will get a fuller hedge, and it will not suffer from shock. My2cents.
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