Gardening Answers Knowledgebase
Knowledgebase record #649
I have a young 5-foot tall Hollywood juniper. How do I prune it to shape and train it so it looks good?
Because of the natural beauty of its form, Hollywood juniper, or Juniperus chinensis 'Torulosa', is not a good candidate for pruning, and I would recommend only pruning branches which are interfering in some way, such as intruding into a walkway. Below are links to information on pruning junipers:
In her Guide to Pruning (Sasquatch Books, 2006), local pruning expert Cass Turnbull advises strongly against shearing and cutting into old wood, because you will be looking at woody stubs for a long time, if not forever. You can remove lower limbs which may be blocking sidewalks, but in general, avoid pruning. "Junipers, like most conifers, are difficult to prune. This is because the barren portions of the branches can't produce new greenery (break bud) once the exterior green has been removed (headed back). Never expose those ugly, barren internal branches . . . What little can be done to help an overgrown planting involves removal of the lowest limbs, and/or selective heading (grab and snip) or thinning off the worst, most interfering branches. Always hide the cut beneath some natural-looking greenery."
Your young plant should shape and train itself without the intervention of pruning.
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