How to Remove Junipers

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Juniper shrubs can be difficult to remove because of their weak branches

Sprawling juniper shrubs (Juniperus communis, USDA plant hardiness zones 2-7) have different growth patterns. These needled evergreens can turn into 15-foot-tall shrubs, spreading 12-inch-tall plants and, less often, 45-foot-tall trees. Needless to say, they can get too large, and removing overgrown junipers might be the only solution. Sometimes, the roots are so large that you'll need some help to get them out of the ground.

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Juniper Bush Removal Cost

Hiring someone to remove a large juniper tree or shrub can be pretty costly, and costs will vary significantly depending on the size and location of your home. You could pay from $75 to $125 per shrub plus additional labor costs, as landscapers have to charge for their overhead, insurance and travel expenses. Taking out a big juniper tree will be much more; the estimate ranges from $250 to $1,200 each.

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It's easier to remove a bush than a tree, and the latter isn't always recommended for the average homeowner. Experts explain that tree limbs are a lot heavier than they look, and it's challenging to predict where a tree will fall. Saws should never be used on ladders either. With smaller trees, you'll want to trim as much from the top as possible and dig a large hole around the base until you can see a foot of the primary roots. While it's possible to tie a tree to a truck (standard SUVs and trucks can usually haul 3,500 pounds), it comes with the risks of damaging the truck and hurting the driver. Pulling juniper bushes with trucks could be safer, but it's still a dangerous proposition.

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How to Prune Juniper Trees

Evergreen trees, like junipers, rarely need pruning unless you need to control the growth or create topiaries. If you need to do this pruning, you'll need to make sure that you never prune the central trunk; otherwise, it will develop secondary trunks that will weaken the tree. Should that main trunk die off, you'll need to choose a stable branch to take over and remove others that may be competing for the top spot.

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All of the side branches have to be less than half the diameter of the trunk; if a side branch is too large, prune the back of its needled area to slow it down. You may need to remove a branch altogether if it is getting too large for the trunk. For this removal, use a saw to cut oversized branches to right outside the branch collar. You can find "how to prune juniper bushes" videos that should provide guidance for this process.

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Trimming Juniper Bushes

Once juniper bushes get to a certain size, you can't really prune them to make them smaller in any way. The goal of trimming juniper bushes is to give them shape and make them bushier. If you don't want that, there's no real need to prune them. These evergreen bushes are best pruned in the later winter or early spring; avoid doing it in the fall or when it's below freezing since it can damage or kill the plant. Trim the branches down to the branch collars and keep in mind that the branches will not form needles unless some needles are left on them.

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You must remove all the roots if you want to remove a juniper bush since the bush can reform from root clippings. You can first chop it down with an ax or chainsaw all the way to the ground. You'll want to give the roots a day or two to dry up and then wet the soil surrounding them. Take a spade and make holes across all of the root paths, clipping stray ones with clippers and using a hacksaw for the larger ones if needed. Once everything is well chopped, you can dig out the remains with a shovel.

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