Tips for Pruning a Juniper Shrub

By Heidi Green , last updated May 22, 2011

If you have a juniper shrub you may be looking for tips on how to properly prune it. Fortunately, juniper shrubs are hardy and acclimate well to a variety of different climates and conditions. Because of this, the maintenance required for a juniper shrub is light, and this includes the number of times you will need to prune it. Also, the natural form of a juniper shrub, which grows year-round and is considered an evergreen, is quite attractive and typically does not require much intervention. That being said, there are times that your juniper shrub will start overgrowing. If this is the case, there are certain strategies you can take that will keep the shrub healthy and attractive and prevent damage.

Prune at the Right Time

It is important to prune when your juniper shrub is best prepared to handle it. Because the shrub will still be dormant in early spring, this will be the best time to prune. Because the shrub probably hasn't sprouted many leaves at this time, it will give you a good chance to see the interior branch structure of the shrub and find and remove branches that are dead or disease-ridden. It will also give you a chance to see where healthy buds have started to grow.

Use the Correct Pruning Techniques

If you are not careful about the techniques you use while pruning the shrub, you could cause serious damage to it. The two main, and correct, methods for pruning ornamental shrubs are "heading" and "thinning." Heading involves trimming a branch back to its healthy buds. When you make the cut, try to cut at a slight angle, at about a quarter of an inch above the healthy bud. Thinning involves cutting either an entire branch or shoot back to the ground or a more prominent branch, without leaving behind a stub.

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