Friday, May 29, 2009

What to do with this juniper?

We planted this juniper shortly after we moved into our house in 2003.

I thought it would provide a sturdy anchor for the front landscape. But it is getting quite tall and too narrow for my liking. Recently, a blackbird created a nest in it and everytime I went out to garden, I'd have the mother bird flying around the tree, chirping - just to make sure I knew her eggs were inside.

Neither one of us huge fans of birds anyway, my husband and I carefully removed the nest and put it in another evergreen away from the house. The mother bird found it and I think she's just as content.
Can you cut the size of these down? Would I damage the tree by doing so? Would it look awkward? I'm clueless.

Maybe an arborvitae would have been better for that more round look. What's that cliche, "hindsight is 20/20"?

So some advice please - can you reshape it (or shave off some of the top) - or should I leave it as is? Is there a special technique? I don't want it to look as if Edward Scissorhands got a hold of it!


Connie said...

I don't know much about pruning these. But I can totally see a nice Clematis or Honeysuckle or other vine growing there on that post. :-)

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Glad to see your back blogging now that the gardens are coming alive. I had to start from seed and plant some of the bush morning glories this year because I saw them from your blog last summer and they were so pretty. I cannot wait to see mine bloom.

Beth said...

Connie - well you and I are on the right track. Right around the corner from the juniper I have a Niobe clematis! :O)

HHG: I started the morning glory bush seeds indoors six weeks ago. They looked great and I transplanted them. Within a DAY of transplanting, my neighbor's overzealous chocolate lab ate them all but one. I was so furious!! I had to purchase more seeds and just recently had sown them in the ground. So much for my pre-planning! Good luck with your seeds!

Roses and Lilacs said...

I kind of like the tall narrow junipers. They aren't meant to be pruned low so you probably won't be happy with the way it would look cut back. Yours must have grown a lot in only 6 years.

I know you must hate the thought of starting from scratch with a new shrub.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Beth,
I'm going to sound harsh here, but I really loathe most junipers, unless the gardeners take the time to really work on shaping them. I'd give it away if I were you and start over with a better choice.... Given we're space challenged here, we'd never consider one and opt for a holly instead. There's a great variety of holly called "Sky Pencil" that is totally vertical and requires very little pruning and if we didn't already have 3 big hollies, we'd get a couple. Even though I sound mean about the plant, I do think it could benefit from a good pruning to give it a more interesting shape, but hey, you probably know that saying about a***oles and opinions --everyone has one!

I was glad to hear you relocated the blackbirds... we don't like them much either (they harass our nicer birds like the robins and cardinals), but I'd never deliberately hurt one!

Anonymous said...

Not big on the juniper either and we have the same type at our house... If I could convince the hubbie to cut it down, it would be gone tomorrow and something else in its place. And then I would have him take out the 4 other stupid square juniper or whatever the hell they are bushes!!!


Susie said...

Hey Beth, so what did you decide to do with it?

Beth said...

Well, I didn't decide anything! It has been graduation week at our house and my husband didn't want to butcher the tree so it still sits. He's not digging the pencil-look either. I think he might attempt to shave it - or gasp! take it out this fall. Decisions, decisions. Thanks for all the input!

Teriann said...

My parents had 3 in front of their house for many years and they got out of control. They did the flat top on them but kept it at a reasonable height - like up to the porch roof. I don't think it would look good to short. You can manicure the sides also, give it a clean look. If all else fails, pull it up in the fall. I have a bleeding heart that is beautiful as an anchor - just looses it's blooms to early. The pink ones are nice to - my neighbors is huge and absolutely beautiful - they claim to have gone crazy with the Mircle grow (the nice winter bed they made for it helped too.)

garden girl said...

Hi Beth, I'm not a fan of junipers either, but if you have the space and need more privacy anywhere, it might be able to be moved.

We have a lot of old shrubs here, many of which I wouldn't choose, or if I did they'd be allowed to reach their natural size and shape. Here most are pruned into hedges. The right plant for the right space and conditions, and everyone's happy. It's a lot less work that way too!

The Galloping Gardener said...

Really great blog and wonderful reading :-)