Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Black spots and fuzzy circles on live oak leaves
November 20, 2010 - We live in Georgetown Texas and have many Live Oaks on our property. Lately some leaves have fallen off which have fuzzy round circles on the back along with some little raised black dots. Should we...
view the full question and answer

Determination of the sex of Mexican persimmon (Diospyros texana)
January 30, 2008 - Last spring, I planted a persimmon fruit from a Mexican Persimmon. I now have 6 small seedlings coming up. Since they all came from the same seed source - 1 black persimmon, will they all be male tree...
view the full question and answer

Plants Toxic to Horses
October 26, 2013 - I want to put planters on the front of my horse barn, which is also in the front field, so the horses could eat what is in it if they want to. I am looking to put a miniature pine tree in the planter....
view the full question and answer

Red oak (Quercus shumardii or Q. buckleyi) for small yard.
December 13, 2007 - Hello, I want to plant a red oak but my yard is not large. I'm looking for a red oak that is medium size in width. The height is not so much of a concern. From what I've read, the Shumard is m...
view the full question and answer

Is Black Cherry allelopathic from Austin
May 21, 2010 - Is the Black Cherry an appropriate tree to plant in north Austin as a shade tree? Your site says this tree may be allelopathic to garden plants . Do you know specifically which plants it might help o...
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.