Do use your index finger and thumb to pinch off the end (or terminal) buds of new branches on rhododendron, azalea, Japanese pieris, mountain laurel, and other broad-leaved evergreens to encourage side branching on the lower part of the shrub. As with a heading cut, manually removing the terminal leaf bud signals a dormant bud below it to grow, stimulating lush side branching. This is also a way to control the shrub's overall size.
Don't pinch off the flower buds in the process. These are the bigger, fatter buds at the ends of branches.