Induce backbudding/inner growth on scale juniper

Hi everyone!

I have this 30y old juniper chinensis of unknown variety. It’s a scale juniper with alight green minty color. The foliage in my opinion is not very dense and my goal is to start filling the pads.

The picture shown is the tree before wiring.

Now for the question:

  1. What’s the timing for pruning the tree in favor of promoting more inner growth/ backbudding? (Western Europe / zone 6)

  2. Where to cut back to? Green parts, brown parts, bifercations etc)

Hope you guys can help me out and also elaborate one the why.



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Not a juniper specialist but general conifer advice. Vigour / health and have the canopy sufficiently open to let light reach those spots you would want backbudding at. Pruning doesn’t trigger backbuding as in deciduous.

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Listen to Ryan’s Asymmetry Telperion Farms podcast. They talk about how to invoke back budding on Pines and Junipers. Bottom line… remove foliage (solar panels) in early summer. This forces the tree to produce back buds to restore the energy flow, assuming the tree is in good health and growing strongly before removing foliage,.
Telperion Farms > Bonsai Mirai: Asymmetry (

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Foliage density and hormonal distribution. I don’t have any junipers but I just finished listening to him talking about it on a Sabina

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I was at a demonstration with Tylor Sherrod yesterday. He was styling a California Juniper. He was asked about back budding. He said 1) get the tree max health. Sun, water, fertilizer. Then 2) expose are you want buds to max sunlight by trimming foliage blocking the light. Obviously it’s a balancing act. I know much more about pines which are very different.

My healthy junipers bud everywhere were they get light. On pines I just reduce foliage and buds grow.

What are you trying to achieve? Just thick canopy? Or develop branches in certain areas. There is back budding and there is back budding with specific purpose. Experiment on one tree or one branch. Learn and begin to understand how your trees respond to intervention. Do that all the time and in a few years you will be a better grower. We never master the skill of growing. The best we can do is try to master growing,

It’s a great tree!!! You probably already do but I always encourage people to join a club and get a teacher.

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Thanks for your reply.

I did the research and came to the same conclusion.

I wired it out and made sure the sun exposure is maximized. Now its a job of getting it as strong and healthy as possible by watering and fertilizing.

And yes, I am in a club. :slight_smile:

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