At 08:02 PM 04/24/2000 -0700, you wrote:
>I have 3 large 7 feet tall junipers that i would like to resize and
>shape. In the past I have lopped off the top and sides to reveal what
>looks like dead branches inside. After a few months they green up again
>but are not very shapely more like a box.
>My question is: can they be pruned to a smaller size and properly shaped?
In a word, no. Those 7-foot junipers are designed, by nature, to be 7-foot
junipers. Topping them (i.e., removing their apical buds) and otherwise
severely pruning them to "properly" shape them will only produce those
dead-looking branches you've already seen. No amount of pruning will produce
dwarf junipers from junipers meant to be large.
Your best bet is to remove the junipers you have a replace them with what
you want. If this is not an option, then the best means of pruning them is
to remember the rule of threes: remove no more than one-third of the
branches each year for three years. Remove the branch all the way back to
the main stem (or trunk) of the juniper, not just the tip--junipers leaf out
on new wood. Pruning this way will open up more of the interior of the
juniper to light, which it needs to produce new growth, and you won't have
the "dead branch" effect. Whatever you do, don't lop off all of the green
growth you do have; the plant won't be able to photosynthesize and won't
recover with new growth as quickly as if you follow the rule of threes.
Hope this helps,
Dawn M. Ripley
5561 Budd Road
New Albany, Indiana 47150-9109
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