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How to Prune a Wichita Blue Juniper

By Paula Ezop ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Wichita blue juniper is a beautiful blue-gray pyramidal shaped evergreen, which is extremely low maintenance. It grows to a mature height of 10 to 15 feet and a width of 4 – 6 feet. The Wichita blue juniper thrives in full sun to partial shade and is drought resistant. This lovely evergreen is hardy in zones 3 – 9. In landscape design it is used as a specimen planting, windbreak, screen, or privacy hedge.

Reasons for pruning the Wichita blue juniper are to: removed damaged or broken branches, to maintain its form/shape, to remove multiple leaders, and to remove any weak and undesirable branches from the interior of the plant.

Cut off any damaged or broken branches caused by heavy winter snow and ice. This should be done in early spring (before any buds appear). The juniper will produce new spring growth and will fill in quickly. Should any other branches get damaged or broken during the growing season you can remove them without harming the juniper. Junipers respond well to light pruning.

Prune to control the size and shape of the Wichita juniper within your landscape design by selectively thinning of any dominant branches and leaders. You will be making your pruning cut where the branch meets the parent stem or at a branch junction. Make sure to leave enough green foliage so you do not expose the dead zone. (Junipers have what is called a “dead zone” in the center of the plant.) The old wood will not produce any new growth.

Prune out any multiple leaders that may form. The pyramidal junipers have a tendency to grow multiple leaders, so if this happens you will have to choose one leader and cut away the others.

Cut out any interior shaded branches that appear weak and undesirable, be careful not to expose the “dead zone”. You can do this at any time during the year.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pole pruner

Tips

  • The pruning tool that you use is dependent upon the size and location of the branch that you are pruning.
  • Keep your pruning tools sharp. Many home/garden stores offer tool sharpening as a service to their customers. This is something that you should take advantage of.
  • The needles of the juniper are prickly -- wear garden gloves when pruning this evergreen.
  • It is difficult to prune an overgrown juniper. In most instances you would be better off to replace it.

About the Author

 

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.