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A Cut Above
Tuesday, July 26
A Cut Above- How to Trim Juniper Shrubs
As a member of the Cypress family, Junipers are fantastic shrubs for a reason. They are deer resistant, easy to grow, and stay green all year round. The down side is that without pruning, they can reach heights of twelve to fifteen feet. Trimming Juniper shrubs help to keep them functional and eye-catching.
How to Trim Juniper Shrubs
Using handheld pruning shears or long handled loppers, branches should be cut at a forty-five degree angle. The goal is to remove limbs that are bare or have dead greenery. Junipers should be inspected periodically throughout the year to look for problem areas. It is much easier to remove branches as needed, as opposed to doing it all at once.
Cut any unwanted new branch growth just above the bumpy area that encircles it. This will help the shrubs recover faster from pruning.
Trim any new green shoots before they get too long. Since they are young and tender, it may be possible to pinch them off with the fingers. This should not be done during late summer, as the shrub needs the new growth to stay healthy.
What to do with Overgrown Junipers
Overgrown Junipers can be difficult to tame. If they are not trimmed properly, they will not produce new greenery. For this reason, it is best to do them in stages throughout the growing seasons. No more than one fourth of the branches should be removed during a single cutting session.
If a limb is trimmed past the area where the greenery ends, it will not re-grow. The center of the Juniper also won’t re-grow limbs. Care should be taken when cutting to avoid pruning these spots. If the shrub is seriously out of control, it may be best to replace them.
Since Junipers are fast growers, they are ideal candidates for shaping. This must also be done in stages, or the shrub can become damaged. It takes approximately three growing seasons to cultivate a juniper into a shape.
At the end of the first and second seasons, one-half of the new growth should be removed. This encourages the shrub to grow thicker each following season. At the start of the third season, they can be pruned into an actual shape. Templates can be created using a large piece of cardboard to ensure unity. They must be maintained by regular maintenance, with the outside edges being trimmed each year.
If well maintained, Junipers don’t take a lot of work. It is easier to trim them a few times each year in small amounts, rather than deal with overgrowth. By investing a minimal amount of care, Junipers will earn their keep and continue to thrive.