The Q&A Archives: cutting back

Question: Having retaining walls built, I'm told I will have to cut back my 20 year old shrubs (junipers etc) is there a right way to do this so drainage can be installed without ruining bushes?

Answer: Woody evergreen such as junipers may not grow new foliage if you cut back to bare wood so you'll be taking a chance if you need to cut them way back. With the exception of needled evergreens you can generally prune shrubs back by as much as one third without harming them. If the plants are valuable to you, it might be worth the expense to have a certified arborist come out and assess both the plants and the site. He or she can make recommendations on the spot and you can decide how to move forward with the project. Best wishes with your landscape.

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