Junk Your Junipers

Junk Your Junipers –

Remove This Combustible Plant from Near Your Home


Junipers are highly combustible plants due to their volatile oils, dense growth, and retention of dead plant material.

Having juniper bushes near your home increases the likelihood it will be impacted by wildfire.

  • Junipers collect dead leaves and trash.
  • Junipers and trapped debris burn hot and fast.
  • Junipers give off large flames and generate abundant embers.

Junipers were a favorite foundation plant for many decades. Over time, what were once small discrete plants have often grown together to form a continuous wall of volatile vegetation.

The trapped needles and debris beneath make these plants highly susceptible to ember ignition. This is not the ideal plant to have in close proximity to your home!


Whether you DIY or hire a professional tree service or landscaping company, you will want to follow these steps:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Cut the juniper back to the trunk.
  • Rake out all the debris underneath.
  • Smaller plants may have shallow roots. In that case you might be able to dig the roots out or pull the plant out by the roots.
  • If the roots are deep, cut the stump flush with grade or lower and remove what you can. The plant should not grow back.
  • Or you can grind the stump, being careful that no power or water lines will be impacted.

What next?

Out with the old, and in with the new!

Once you’ve properly disposed of the juniper, you can plant something else.

  • Remember that no plant is fireproof, and all vegetation should be kept at least 5 feet from your home or in noncombustible flower pots.
  • Choose fire-resilient plants from the CSU Extension list or discuss with your local nursery.

Do You Know?

The specialists at CSU Extension have created a Low Flammability Landscaping Plants pamphlet (Factsheet 6.305) full of helpful information and plant lists.

Is it a juniper?

Junipers are evergreen shrubs. They come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

Blue Chip Juniper
Golden Juniper
Blue Star Juniper

If it’s a shrub that has needles or scales which don’t drop in the fall, it’s almost certainly a juniper.


Do You Know?

Still in doubt? Download a plant app on your smartphone that allows you to photograph your shrub for instant identification.