The Q&A Archives: Pruning Cedar Bonsai

Question: My juniper bonsai is three years old and doing very well with the care I give it. However, I have never pruned it. I don't know how to, so I have been afraid that I'd harm it. I would like information on how to prune and the best time to do it.

Answer: Congratulations on taking such good care of your plant! Caring for and pruning bonsai plants is such a specialized and intricate form of gardening that it is generally best to see pictures as well as read words when describing something as complex as repotting or pruning. A great resource for you is the American Bonsai Society, c/o Patricia DeGroot, P.O. Box 1136, Puyallup, WA 98371-1136, (206) 841-8992; web site: They have several publications available to help you begin to decide how to prune your bonsai.

Since you didn't mention which type of juniper you have, it is a bit difficult to make specific recommendations as you will see from the photographs at the site below.

This website provides information about a number of species used for bonsai based on information in Simon Schuster's book, Care of Bonsai:; there is a page specifically for Japanese Garden Juniper: and one for Eastern Red Cedar which is another type of juniper:
I hope one of these will apply to yours.

Enjoy your bonsai!

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