Bedding plants

Cutting juniper - tips and tricks for a successful hedge and topiary cut


Juniper is generally undemanding, but needs a cut every now and then. You can find out when and how best to cut juniper here.

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The juniper is a plant that presents itself in a variety of ways in different growth forms. Last but not least, this can be attributed to the good cut tolerance. Whether as a hedge, solitary plant or in an attractive shape, juniper (Juniperus) is versatile and attractive.

A regular cut should not be missed in order to stimulate the growth habit and to maintain the attractiveness of the plant.

When should juniper be cut?

Juniper is robust and extremely tolerant of cuts. It does not matter which form of growth is sought and whether the juniper stands in the hedge or should impress in a single position. The hobby gardener remains flexible with regard to the right time for the shape or maintenance cut. Cutting measures can be carried out during the entire growth phase. Spring and autumn are preferred. In spring, the plants should be cut before budding. The ideal periods for the juniper pruning at the end of the garden year are the months of September to October.

Tip: Juniper should not be cut when there is frost. Rain or direct sunlight should also be avoided on the day of the cut.

What you need to consider before cutting

Check the cutting tool before cutting. The hedge trimmer should not only be sharp, you should also disinfect your cutting tool before use. This is preferably done with as high a percentage alcohol as possible. Juniper has quite strong needles. Under certain circumstances, this could lead to injuries when cutting. The plant sap of the cypress family is slightly toxic and could cause unpleasant reactions in allergy sufferers.

Tip: If you want to cut juniper hedges, check the hedge for breeding birds in advance. If there is a nest in the hedge, it should be cut later.

Equipment to protect against direct plant contact

  • gloves
  • safety goggles
  • sturdy work shoes
  • long trousers
  • long sweater or jacket

A little advice - the right hedge cut

Juniper is preferably planted as a hedge. Since the plants only grow moderately, a hedge cut every year is completely sufficient. As mentioned above, spring is the best time. This promotes the growth of the plant and you ensure an attractive appearance. Hedges are preferably cut trapezoidal. This is not only due to an optical aspect, the hobby gardener strives to allow sunlight to penetrate into all areas of the plant and thus prevent wasting. Before the actual cut is started, all branches that have died over the winter are removed.

Tip: In order not to lose sight of the desired shape during the cut, cords can be stretched or a wooden frame can be set up.

The hedge cut is made from the plant crown to the base. Keep an eye on your appropriate orientation guide. If the corners are rounded slightly, more light can enter. For topiary cutting, the hedge trimmer is always aligned parallel to the plant. If the hedge has lost shape over the summer, a second hedge cut in late summer can also keep its shape over the winter.

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This is how the hedge is cut with juniper

  1. cut from top to bottom
  2. Set up scaffolding or tension cords
  3. Don't lose sight of the shape
  4. Remove dead shoots, sickly branches and branches growing inwards

Cut juniper as a specimen plant

The juniper cuts a fine figure not only as a hedge. Even in a single position, the plants can look attractive and impressive. A regular maintenance cut should not be missed here either. Without appropriate pruning measures, solitary plants reach heights of up to twelve meters and also quickly expand.

The juniper is very well tolerated by cutting, but rarely forgives radical cutting measures. So cut less and calmly more often.

Tip: The juniper can also be cut several times during the growth phase.

First, dead shoots are removed. Each cut should start in a branch fork. Solitary plants are also very suitable for topiary. You can opt for a fairly easy-to-cut ball, a more elaborate spiral, or a creative animal figure. The appropriate templates can be made from wire or purchased and used as a cutting aid. The stencils are placed over the plants and all protruding branches are removed. Smaller scissors should be used for the fine cut.

This is how the solitary plant is cut

  1. recut regularly
  2. do not undertake radical cutting measures
  3. Remove old and dead branches completely
  4. use the template for the topiary

Cut juniper as bonsai

The easy-care and robust juniper is particularly popular as a bonsai. The plant can be shaped as desired. However, the bonsai will resent drastic cutting measures. Regular pruning, on the other hand, is well tolerated. If the shoot tips are regularly shortened, the plant grows more densely. So that the growth form appears particularly delicate, it can also be plucked with your fingers. The bonsai cut should also be extended to the bark at least once a year. Holes and fiber tears in the bark can promote pest penetration. The fibers of the bark are removed using tweezers. Leftovers can be brushed off.

In the video: Maxi Bonsai topiary

Care after the cut

The care of the juniper usually begins with the shape and maintenance cut. The growing season should be involved in further care measures. The first cut in spring is already a prerequisite for rapid growth. In order for the plant to stay healthy, it needs a lot of water after cutting. If compost is incorporated into the substrate, the plant receives a reliable long-term fertilizer. Container plants require more care than the juniper in the field. The frost-sensitive plants should only be cut in spring.

Advantages and disadvantages of pruning

Juniper is easy to cut and tolerates the entire growing season through cutting measures.If the cut has been missed for several years, it can be difficult because the plant cannot tolerate a radical cut.
The cypress plants are also very suitable for topiary, whereby the classic ball is just as possible as artistic figures.Juniper is slightly poisonous and can cause allergies, so make sure you wear appropriate protective clothing.
If juniper is cut regularly, this has a beneficial effect on the growth habit and attractiveness of the plant.
The trade offers various templates for successful shape cutting.