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Juniper tree pruning

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When Should I Prune my Juniper Tree?

When should you prune a juniper tree? Why is juniper tree pruning important? And what are the most common juniper tree diseases? Read on to find out…

The juniper tree, or Juniperus communis, is an evergreen confider that’s a UK native species. You’ll also find it across Europe and most parts of the northern hemisphere.

Juniper is a fragrant tree, and its stems are often used to perfume beauty products. Juniper berries are famously used to flavour gin and are now a popular culinary ingredient. In maturity, this tree will reach heights of 10 metres and can live for up to 200 years.

Sadly, UK juniper populations are in decline and the species has become a priority under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Juniper is one of only three conifer species native to Britain (the others being yew and Scots pine). The tree is valuable to nesting birds, and the juniper pug and juniper carpet moth are dependent on it as a food source.

Recording ancient juniper trees is incredibly helpful for the Ancient Tree Inventory. Any tree over half a metre in girth is well worth recording.

Why prune a juniper tree?   

The juniper tree tends to look after itself and doesn’t require much if anything in the way of pruning other than early on in its life where formative pruning is beneficial. A little pruning of young junipers once a year will assist in maintaining good shape.

Of course you will want to remove any dead wood or diseased branches in order to preserve the health and safety of the tree. These should be cut back to the main trunk so that the tree doesn’t continue to waste energy that could otherwise be used on promoting new growth and maintaining the health of the rest of the tree.

When is the best time for juniper tree pruning?

Juniper tree pruning is best carried out in early spring, just before the new spurts of growth start.

Diseased or dead branches are best removed in late winter to early spring.

Always try not to cut the bottom branches shorter than the ones above them Tapering into the bottom can result in too much shade, which will kill off the bottom of the tree. Make sure you aim for a wider base than top.

What to look for when pruning a juniper tree

Aphids tend to be quite a serious problem for the juniper tree, as do caterpillars and juniper scale. Juniper scale is a small, sap-sucking insect that can encrust the juniper tree resulting in small, white-brown scales on the foliage. Canker can also be an issue.

How to care for a juniper tree in winter

It is a good idea to increase watering of juniper trees during the autumn, before the first frosts start to appear. Water deeply, then wait till the soil dries before watering again. This will allow the tree to store some water for later use. As soon as winter arrives, reduce the watering to about once per month.

Ahead of the first frost, put a layer of organic mulch around the tree around 3 inches from the trunk. This will conserve the moisture in the soil and stop the soil temperature from fluctuating too much.

If your juniper tree is particularly young, be sure to use wind protection measures.

Tree Preservation Orders

You must never carry out any type of tree work – whether that is pruning, pollarding, coppicing, cutting back or dead-wooding – if there is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in place. Always confirm this before you go ahead with any work, and if there is an Order in place you will need to obtain permission from the local authority. Be aware that this can take up to eight weeks to come through. Also note that if the tree is situated in a conservation area, permission must be sought before undertaking works of any kind.

The importance of juniper tree pruning expertise

If you value your juniper tree then show it you care by investing in the expertise and specialist advice of a qualified tree surgeon. With the help of these experts, you will enjoy an attractive, healthy juniper tree, year-round.

When selecting a tree surgeon, look for checkable references and certificates that prove their qualifications. In addition, ask to see insurance documents so you know you are covered for the work being carried out. Furthermore, if you can, seek to engage a tree surgeon with Trading Standards and local authority approval for a guarantee of value for money.

If you have a juniper tree that needs pruning or trimming, why not get in touch with T.H. Tree Surgery Services? As fully qualified and highly experienced Trading Standards and local authority approved tree surgeons, we can provide you with specialist expertise across all elements of juniper tree pruning. For a free, no-obligation quotation, contact our helpful experts on 01268 642814 or get in touch here.


Terry and the team did a great job of reducing the size of a large tree in my garden by 50%.They turned up early, worked quickly and quietly and were so tidy. I was seriously impressed with the clearing up afterwards - they even went into the neighbours garden to pick up any branches that had fallen the other side of the fence.I'd definitely use this company again if needed.

Wow, thank you very much Lisa, what a fantastic review. The team look forward to the next time we might be of service to you. Best Regards.

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