How to Prune Junipers in Containers


Gardeners use junipers in both landscape design and container plantings. You can find various types of junipers, such as spreading, creeping, upright and pyramidal. Upright and pyramidal are the forms of juniper that gardeners use in containers. You can easily maintain them by following a program of regular pruning. Junipers in containers respond well to selective thinning as buds form on new growth. The center of the juniper is devoid of any new growth--the branches are bare--and it is called a "dead zone." Therefore, when you prune your container juniper, be careful to leave enough green foliage so you don't expose the dead zone. That's why selective thinning works best when you're pruning junipers in containers.

Step 1

Cut away any damaged or broken branches in early spring (before any buds appear). This allows the plant to produce new spring growth and fill in quickly. You can remove any damaged or broken branches during the growing season without harming the juniper--you can do light pruning throughout the year.

Step 2

Prune to control the size and shape of your container juniper by selectively thinning. You will be cutting a branch away where it meets the parent stem or at a branch junction, remembering not to expose the dead zone.

Step 3

Cut out any interior shaded branches that may appear weak and undesirable. You can do this at any time during the year.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears


  • Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories
  • Wanner Garden Center
  • University of Minnesota
Keywords: juniper container prune, dead zone new growth, thinning early spring

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational columns "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in Oconee Today, a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies." "From Death to Living in the Light" and "Spiritual Intelligence" will be released by Ezop has a BA degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.