The Q&A Archives: Over grown yews and junipers

Question: The yews and junipers are 30 years old and over grown can you prun successfully down to about 3ft. without making the evergreens just a stalk? If they come back how long will it take? Thank you

Answer: Yews can be pruned back very hard and then clipped regularly to maintain their size. If you want to maintain them at three feet, cut them back a bit shorter than that at first and trim often to stimulate branching and assure they regrow nice and dense. The time to do this hard pruning is very early spring before the new growth begins. It usually takes just a year or two to regrow and look terrific again so this is well worth trying. There is a risk in doing this hard pruning that they will die outright, but usually they recover just fine and you have good looking plants much quicker than if you replace them and wait for new ones to grow in. The reason they regrow so quickly is that they have a huge existing root system in place.

Most types of junipers do not regenerate from bare wood and so would be replaced. If you replant with another shrub, select something with a mature size that fits the space where they will be planted to avoid future pruning issues like this.

Good luck with your evergreens!

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