How To Trim A Juniper Bonsai Tree

The juniper bonsai tree is a beautiful and elegant addition to any room. It can be a fun project for those who have a green thumb, but it can also provide an interesting challenge for the less experienced gardener.

This article will walk you through the steps on how to trim your juniper bonsai tree properly so that you do not damage its natural beauty or shape.

Juniper Bonsai trees are evergreens native in Japan that require regular pruning and trimming to achieve their unique look. They are common around the globe and there are many bonsai tree enthusiasts.

Juniper bonsai trees can grow from six to twelve inches tall and need proper maintenance, including regular trimming as new branches come in. 

Read on to discover how to properly trim a Juniper Bonsai Tree. We will also discuss some additional ways to care for your juniper tree and some precautions to take when bringing it into your home.

How To Properly Trim a Juniper Bonsai Tree

How To Properly Trim a Juniper Bonsai Tree

Properly trimming a Juniper Bonsai tree should be done as the tree grows new branches and foliage. Juniper Bonsai trees traditionally do not have branches or foliage on the bottom third of the plant, so to obtain this look, they must be cut off regularly.

Bonsai trees must be pruned in specific months to ensure they have the time and conditions to heal. Here is how to properly trim a juniper bonsai tree.

Prune Dead Branches Without Cutting Foliage

To correctly prune your Juniper Bonsai tree, you must remove any dead branches without cutting off additional foliage. To do so, use a concave cutter or pair of bonsai shears to cut the branch off at the trunk. Be sure to use the appropriately sized cutter for the width of the branch.

If you are trimming multiple branches, try to keep it to less than ten percent of the entire tree to reduce stress on the plant.

If your shears or cutters are too big, you risk cutting part of the trunk out. If the cutters or shears are too small, you risk leaving part of the branch intact or creating wounds on the trunk from multiple cuts.

After removing any dead branches, be sure to place a wound sealant over the cut to keep out moisture and allow the tree to heal the exposed area. 

Cut New Growth That Appears on The Lower Third

Because Juniper Bonsai trees do not traditionally have branches or foliage on the lower third of the plant, any new growth that appears there should be trimmed off.

Once you remove a branch, it will not grow back, so be sure to plan accordingly and remove only the branches you want to remove permanently. Remove any growth that does not fit into your plan for your Juniper Bonsai tree’s appearance. 

When removing branches on the lower third, use Bonsai shears or concave cutters and apply a wound sealant when you are finished.

Junipers grow year-round, but you should avoid intense pruning during extreme temperatures. Extreme heat or sunlight, as well as frost or extreme cold, can inhibit the juniper’s healing process.

Use Bonsai Shears

When you are removing only a portion of a juniper branch, you should be using bonsai shears. Bonsai shears are a staple amongst bonsai tree enthusiasts because they cut cleanly and are incredibly easy to use.

If a juniper branch is too long for your liking, a pair of bonsai shears can trim it back cleanly so it can continue growing from a lateral bud. 

Check The Tree Weekly

It is a good idea to check your bonsai tree once a week during the spring and summer months as it grows. Check your juniper tree once a week on the same day to trim any new growth on the bottom third or any dead branches. Be sure to follow the steps above and try not to do much pruning in the late summer or winter months.

Additional Way to Care for Your Juniper Bonsai Tree

Additional Way to Care for Your Juniper Bonsai Tree

There are some additional ways to care for your juniper bonsai tree aside from pruning. Wiring your bonsai is a great way to give it a unique shape. Let’s look at some wiring techniques and a few additional questions and concerns about the bonsai practice.

Use Caution When Wiring Your Tree

Juniper bonsai trees are traditionally wired into unique winding shapes when they are young plants. They can be bent aggressively without breaking and held in place with raffia or wire. Be sure to use caution when bending branches and some parts can potentially be brittle and end up breaking.

Precision is Imperative when Wiring

Wiring a juniper bonsai tree needs to be done with precision and care and can be a complicated process to do well.

Double-wiring or wiring two branches of a similar thickness using a single piece of wire is a technique that can provide more stability for your tree and be a bit easier to manage, rather than wiring each individual branch separately.

Single branch wiring is more time-consuming but can provide more than enough support for the tree.

Do Juniper Bonsai Trees Stay Small?

Juniper bonsai trees are normally small, but that does not mean they are always that way. Juniper bonsai trees stay small only because of pruning and root restriction.

If you were to consistently repot your juniper tree into larger pots, it would continue to grow taller because the roots are not restricted. So, if you would like your juniper tree to grow taller, simply give its roots some space to expand.  

Is Trimming a Bonsai Tree Cruel?

Some believe that tampering with the tree’s natural shape and form is a cruel method for growing. Though some may consider trimming a bonsai or constricting its roots in a small pot cruel, bonsai trees cannot feel pain.

Bonsai trees experience stress when being trimmed, but with proper care like wound sealant, bonsai trees can heal perfectly fine. 

Pruning and constricting the roots of your bonsai will in no way kill or harm it; only stop it from growing larger. Bonsai trees can be repotted and allowed to grow tall just as healthily as keeping them small and pruned. 


Properly trimming a juniper bonsai tree takes a few steps, along with some care and caution. To achieve the unique shape of the juniper bonsai, you need to prune dead branches and any new growth that appears on the bottom third of the plant.

It is best to use concave cutters or bonsai shears when doing this trimming to ensure you cut through the branch cleanly and do not cause any unnecessary stress to the tree. 

Some other ways to care for your juniper bonsai tree include wiring it to achieve the unique shape of traditional Japanese bonsai. Be sure to wire your tree carefully, so you do not break any of the branches.

Size your juniper tree accordingly by either restricting its roots in a smaller pot or giving them room to expand.

If you liked reading this article and want to expand your knowledge on trimming different bonsai trees. Stay tuned to our blog!

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