Pruning juniper bonsai is very important, and you must do so regularly so that you can maintain your pride in looking at the plants.

Pruning Juniper Bonsai

These Cupressaceae family plants are easy to prune, so it does not matter if you are a beginner or not; you can surely do so by yourself.

Read this article for the easy methods of pruning juniper bonsai for beginners.

What Are the Steps To Prune Your Juniper Bonsais?

The steps to prune your juniper bonsai include identifying the branches that need pruning, gathering and sterilizing your pruning tools, cutting off the excess branches, and disinfecting your juniper trees when you are done. Remember to remove the debris as well.

– Identify the Branches That You Will Prune 

Don’t just start pruning your juniper bonsai trees without knowing what parts you are removing. Your pruning activity will be easier and quicker if you have already marked the parts that will go.

Some parts of the bonsai that you may prune are:

  • Overgrown branches: Of course, these are your major targets because you need your bonsai to stay in shape.
  • Sick branches: While you will be pruning sick parts of your bonsai so that the plants stay beautiful, you must also know the cause of the disease so that you can treat the plant.
  • Crowded needles: If a branch has more needles than you want, remove the excess ones.
  • Discolored or dead parts: If there are yellow or brown needles still attached to the bonsai, now’s the best time to remove them. However, you can remove them at any time.

– Gather All the Pruning Tools That You Need

To prune junipers, you need to use some tools. Please gather these tools:

  • Rubbing alcohol: You can use alcohol to disinfect your tools before using them and even keep the junipers safe.
  • Pruning scissors: While we highly recommend that you pinch the trees instead of cutting them, you will make use of scissors to remove hard parts from the trees.
  • Gloves: You should wear gloves, especially if you want to prune the junipers with your hands so that you will go uninjured.

– Sterilize Your Pruning Tools

Don’t just start pruning your junipers without sterilizing your tools. The tools, especially if you have kept them for a very long time, can expose your junipers to bacteria and fungi. This is why you must disinfect them before you use them. Also, it is good practice to disinfect your scissors if you used them for a sick branch before you use them to cut other branches or plants.

Sterilize Your Pruning Tools

You can disinfect your tools by using rubbing alcohol. However, a better way is to keep them in boiling water for some minutes. If the sun is hot, you can disinfect your tools by placing them under the sun for some hours.

– Start Pruning the Juniper Bonsai

It is time to start pruning the plants. Pinching juniper bonsai branches and leaves is the best way to prune them so that they do not lose their needles after pruning them. However, you can cut them, especially if they are too hard. Root pruning is also important, especially if there are bare and dry roots.

Please be careful when pruning the plants and do so slowly. Start with the less crowded areas before moving to those with many needles. Also, make sure that you do a clean job and do not leave any unwanted needles or branches still attached to the plant.

– Shape Your Juniper Bonsai

Just cutting off the excess needles and branches is not enough. You need to give your trees the perfect shape in your mind. If you are growing juniper bonsai indoors, just like other gardeners, you need to make sure that your tree has the perfect shape.

Shape Your Juniper Bonsai

Look at the tree a few steps away from it so that you can see it clearly. Visualize (or draw out) a shape so that you can give the tree just the shape in your mind.

– Clean Up the Plant

After pruning your bonsai tree species, it is time to clean them up. Remove the pruned wood, needle, and other parts so that your garden can stay beautiful.

Also, you will be keeping your bonsais safe by removing the debris, as pests hide under debris.

– Water and Fertilize Your Plants 

After pruning and cleaning your plants, it is time to water and fertilize them. Watering them helps them to recover quickly from the stress. Fertilizing them gives them extra nutrients so that they can grow more needles and other others.

If you do not want to fertilize your juniper, just make sure that the bonsai soil is nutritious. Never let the substrate get nutrient depleted.

How To Avoid Mistakes While Pruning Juniper Bonsai?

You can avoid mistakes while pruning juniper bonsai by not pruning too many branches of the same tree at once. Moreover, you should always prune your juniper bonsai during its growth period to avoid any permanent damage. In the end, disinfect the plant after pruning as the last precautionary measure.

– Do Not Prune Too Many Branches at Once

When pruning the plants, prune a few branches or leaves at a time. This process is stressful, and the bonsais grow very slowly, so it might be difficult for them to recover if you prune too many branches at once. Junipers are special bonsais, so you must prune them carefully and slowly.

Do Not Prune Too Many Branches at Once

While you need to prune your bonsais, remember that pruning is a very stressful activity for the plants, and they are slow to recover. As slow-growing plants, your junipers would love it if you could avoid pruning them when it is not necessary. Only prune your plants once or at most twice yearly.

– Prune the Junipers During Their Active Growing Period

These junipers as bonsais are very slow-growing and you know it. Imagine pruning them in a season when their growth is minimal or halted. You may not easily see the progress or will have to wait months before you see any reasonable progress. If you prune them in their active growth months, especially in the summer months, you will quickly see progress.

Junipers need to grow, so you should leave some leaves on their branches while pruning them. Also, keep them under direct sunlight or a bright light after pruning them so that they can carry out photosynthesis and grow.

– Disinfect the Plants After Pruning Them

One of the essential tips in juniper bonsai care guidelines is not just leaving the junipers after you prune them. Pruning exposes the bonsais to harmful microbes, as they have fresh cuts and openings. This is why you should try to disinfect them after pruning them so that you can keep them safe. 

Disinfect the Plants After Pruning Them

You can make use of rubbing alcohol. However, you can also use any plant-safe anti-microbial product that you got from gardening stores near you. Spray the product on your bonsais when you are done pruning them before you know that you are good to go.


It does not matter if you are growing Chinese juniper, California juniper, or other juniper species, you can now prune your plants with ease.

Just before you get started, remember the following points:

  • Before you start pruning, make sure that you already know the branches that you will be cutting.
  • Do not prune your juniper branches with unsterilized tools, as they can expose the plants to infections.
  • While you can cut your bonsai branches when pruning them, pinching them is a better way.
  • After pruning the junipers, spray rubbing alcohol on the cuts to keep them safe from microbes.
  • The best time to prune your plants is during their active growing period.

Make sure that your bonsais are happy with the bonsai tree care tips in this article. Also, remember that you should not be in a hurry when pruning your plants.

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