Fear of Pruning

Arlington, MA

I know some of my plants would be healthier with some snipping, but I am really hesitant to prune or "clean up" plants, even in the spring, because
1) the shrubs I've brought in are new-ish--within the last year or two--and I've heard that they need to be older to prune.
2) books about pollinators have made me think that any dead stalk might harbor baby bees or caterpillars.
3) they're natives! no one's out there pruning in the wild, are they?
I know, in a vague way, not to prune buds and/or bushes that bloom on old growth (and can probably figure out which those are) but otherwise I'm at a loss. Can anyone give advice or point me to resources for gardeners way more interested in habitat than tidiness? Many thanks.

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