In the future I’d like to prepare a report or series of reports on the topic of “Pruning”.  This has to be one of the most broad and important topics in gardening and one of the least talked about.  In the meantime I’ll post articles to help build awareness on the different pruning techniques and how to apply them.

This is Torialosa Juniper.  It is a juniper variety that is considered upright in form with a loose, irregular habit.  If you let this plant do what it wants to (without any pruning), it will grow predominately at each of its branch ends.  This will result in a very open, gangly shape.  This also causes a lack of structural strength where sagging and broken branches may occur.

To combat Torialosa Juniper’s propensity to grow just at the branch ends,  selectively “tip prune” and cut back the ends of these aggressively growing branches.  Certainly be conscious of the shape as you make these cuts, keeping the plant wider at the base and tapering towards the top.  I even snip a little bit off the less aggressive branch ends just to encourage the plant to fill out more.

You’ll be amazed over time how this process of “tipping back” each branch end produces a fuller plant.

Years ago I explained this principle to a customer of mine.  He too had a Torialosa Juniper.  It happened to be planted near where he parked his car in the driveway.  It became a habit of his to pinch-back the soft tips of all the branches using just his fingers.  You have to see how beautiful and unusual this plant has developed because of this.  I would liken it to a bonsai plant, compact and with a lot of character.

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