How to Trim Junipers


When you grow evergreen juniper shrubs in a landscape, you have an excellent opportunity for creating beautiful and attractive shrubs. As your junipers grow, you must maintain them by trimming them. Trimming junipers will keep them at the height, width and shape you desire. Because junipers produce new buds on new growth, a gardener must regularly trim them to keep them attractive. Prune junipers in the spring before new buds form.

Step 1

Check the juniper for winter damage in the early spring. Remove branches that are broken and damaged by clipping them off at the point where they intersect with the next largest branch.

Step 2

Look carefully at the interior area of the juniper where a lack of light often creates an area of branches that do not have extensive green growth. Often the branches in this area are crowded, rubbing against each other and damaged. Remove any branches that appear weak or that are rubbing against other branches. Try not to create gaps as you remove this growth because the juniper will not grow to fill in these gaps. Perform this pruning only to thin out the juniper of old and weak branches. Leave surrounding green foliage intact to cover up the interior of the juniper.

Step 3

Trim the juniper to shape the top, the sides and the bottom of the shrub. Trim away branches and limbs as necessary to create the shape you desire for your shrub. Make sure you do not trim away so much from the top, sides or bottom that the interior area of the shrub becomes visible. Cut back the limbs to make an even and smooth line alone the outer perimeter of the juniper.

Step 4

Remove growth from the top of the juniper if you wish to limit the height of the juniper. Cut back branches only to the point of the first stem junction and keep in mind that you must keep the interior of the juniper concealed as you remove outer growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you allow junipers to grow without pruning, over time they will become unsightly and overgrown. If this occurs, the best course of action is to replace the entire shrub rather than prune them severely. Junipers do not respond well to severe pruning techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Hedge shears
  • Basket (for collecting branches)


  • Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories: Junipers
Keywords: evergreen juniper shrubs, junipers grow, trimming junipers

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.