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Emergency dogwood pruning to save juniper hedge

Posted by enmnm MD (My Page) on
Sat, May 19, 12 at 22:08

We have a very beautiful and mature juniper hedge in our front yard. There are also two beautiful and mature dogwood trees behind them. When I got here, no one had pruned anything for years. Consequently, one juniper bush in front of one of the dogwoods had completely died, due to lack of sufficient sun, leaving a very prominent gap in the hedge.

Over the last 2 years I have been slowly shaping and pruning both the hedge and trees. However, I miscalculated the pruning needed on one of the trees. I did a nice job with the main branches, but didn't touch the little twigs that grew downward from the lower branches. These twigs are about the width of my pinky finger. They also are flowering profusely, and the tree looks like a cotton ball atop the hedge. The problem is that the junipers beneath this are not getting enough sun and are starting to...well, you know.

Can I prune the little twiggy branches now in order to get some light and air movement beneath the tree? I know, of course, one shouldn't prune BRANCHES, but again...these are about the width of my pinky finger.

What do you advise?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Emergency dogwood pruning to save juniper hedge

You can prune off bottom branches ANYTIME. No harm will come to the tree. There is no need to be timid about it or go slowly.

RE: Emergency dogwood pruning to save juniper hedge

Let's be on the safe side answering this question with a request that the OP do an online search for 'spider mites on junipers'. I am guessing this might be the problem as such infestations are known to start on one juniper under stress and slowly spread to others. With a bit of reading the methods of identifying and treating them should be quickly understood. Noted in the reading will be various organic methods to control spider mites. However, if mites are the problem and the hedge is an important landscape feature, having a professional treat the total hedge would be my choice. Years of experience speaking here.

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