Upright Juniper Pruning: Pruning An Upright Juniper Shrub

prune juniper
prune juniper
(Image credit: bazilfoto)

Upright junipers are tall, hardy, and slender shrubs to small trees that make a real statement in a landscape. Left to its own devices, a juniper can become lanky. Pruning an upright juniper is essential to keep it looking its best. If you are wondering how to prune an upright juniper or have other questions about upright juniper pruning, read on.

Upright Juniper Pruning

Upright junipers are tall, shrubs/trees that are described as columnar in a landscape setting. They work well in garden spots that are narrow but where a plant with height is needed. When you start pruning an upright juniper, one intent is to keep it narrow and dense. As the branches grow, they can become heavy and pull away from the trunk. This causes the tree to look disheveled, rather than tight and neat. Upright juniper pruning can help a shrub that is losing its shape. You’ll need to start selectively pruning a juniper bush by trimming back each branch’s terminal tip. This will reduce the length and weight of the branch, making it less likely to pull out from the trunk. You can also use an arbor tie to attach sagging branches to the central trunk.

Training an Upright Juniper

Training an upright juniper is another term for pruning the tree when it is young. If you start training an upright juniper early, the tree can grace your garden for years. When to start pruning a juniper bush? Get out the pruners in early spring. Pruning an upright juniper at this time of year gives the tree’s branches time to regrow over the summer season. Spring is also a great time to clip out juniper branches injured in winter weather.

How to Prune an Upright Juniper

Start by taking out dead and dying branches. Remove these at the branch junction. This selective thinning also leaves the upright juniper looking natural and open. Continue pruning a juniper bush until you have removed all broken, diseased, injured, or dead branches. Take out interior branches that have become shaded by other growth. Without sunlight, these branches will die anyway, so it is better to remove them. If you are wondering how to prune an upright juniper when branches cross, you’ll want to prune out one of them. This eliminates the rubbing action. Crossing branches can block air circulation and block out sunlight, conditions that can lead to spread of diseases.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.