The Q&A Archives: Pruning

Question: I have two Hollywood Junipers about 15 years old and about 12'-15' tall. They have never been pruned. I have been told that they cannot be pruned. The problem is not the height but the width. They are very healthy and during the summer are getting branch heavy from water intake. I would like to cut them back or I am afraid they will become intrusive and I will have to remove them. Welcome your suggestions.

Answer: Junipers can be trimmed and even sheared (some are used as topiary subjects), but will look terrible at first until new growth covers the bare interior branches. It is also possible that too severe a trimming will kill them outright. Whether or not to replace them would depend on your tolerance for the interim ugliness as well as your willingness to trim them regularly. If you opt to replace them, do try to research the mature size of the new plants, and what, if any, annual pruning they require -- it is amazing how large the tiny things we plant can become!

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