If these trees are cut off will they die? We live in eastern Oregon and I am thinking of cutting some and replacing them with another more drought tolerant tree. Any suggestions?
Deschutes County Oregon forestry
Good morning. If you cut the juniper below the lowest living branch (including those coming out of the duff layer) you will kill the tree. Western juniper is not known to sprout when this procedure is followed. If you are cutting small trees (less than 2" trunk diameter) you might want to spray the stump immediately after cutting the tree with a 10% solution of 2,4-D herbicide.
To answer you question about a more drought tolerant tree, I am not sure you will find a tree more tolerant to drought than western Juniper. It grows in areas where annual precipitation is 9" or more. If you are wanting to keep it for landscaping then you might want to prune the lower limbs but not cut down the entire tree in order to reduce wildfire risk.
If you would like to ask more questions, you can contact me directly at:
498 SE Lynn Blvd.
Prineville, OR 97754