En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Shell Beach, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Over-trimmed junipers in Shell Beach CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Help! My husband decided to "trim" the juniper bushes that are in front of our house that create a great private front yard. I guess he cut back into the dead wood and now nothing is regrowing. It's an ugly eye sore. Is there help? Or can you suggest maybe a climbing plant that will cover this up?

ANSWER:

We are afraid that is a major OOPS! From this article on Pruning Junipers, from the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories, we extracted the following information:

"Junipers do not produce buds on old wood and subsequently will not respond to drastic pruning. If specimens become overgrown, replacement rather than severe pruning usually is necessary."

In other words, you should not expect new budding on the old wood that is left. We recommend you read the whole article in order to judge whether the damage is so severe, it's a lost cause. We would not recommend planting a climbing plant to cover the remnants of the tree. In the first place, that would shade out whatever places might still have a chance to bud. In the second place, if the juniper does indeed die, it will then rot out and leave you with a vine that has nowhere to go. We would suggest you give the plant a chance to recover. Don't fertilize it, that is always a knee-jerk reaction to any problem and it just encourages the tree to put on new growth, which it obviously does not have the strength to do right now. The roots need to get some remaining foliage (there is some remaining, we hope?) to start providing food for the plant through photosynthesis in order to recover. If it does begin to grow back, and does so very unevenly, or simply does nothing, then you might as well replace it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Goat damage to Arizona Cypress from Palmdale CA
June 28, 2012 - My goats stripped the bottom branches of my Arizona Cypress. Will they come back and how can I prevent future damage?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in Virginia Beach VA
April 21, 2010 - I have a 5-6 ft. Redbud Tree and like to dig up and move to different spot in my backyard. How/what is the proper way to do it without killing the tree?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreen tree to hide power lines
April 10, 2009 - Live in Orange Connecticut and need a tree that grows fast and tall to cover the power lines which are quite tall. I'm thinking evergreen type trees so that the during the winter it provides the cov...
view the full question and answer

Tulip tree with white spots on leaves in Mississippi
July 31, 2008 - I have a tulip tree in my yard that blooms in the spring that is about 10-15 years old. However just this past week or so we have noticed that there is lots of white spots on the leaves and the branc...
view the full question and answer

Distance from existing structures to plant a tree in New York
March 05, 2009 - I would like to plant a large maple or birch near my suburban home. How far away from my home, garage, or any buildings should the seed be planted?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center