Need some education on ‘creeping’ Juniper.

Howdy everyone. I just got a new house and inherited a decent lawn, flower beds and the whole 9 yards. They seem to have been somewhat taken care of, but lightly neglected with the amount of vines, poison oak etc I just extracted from them this weekend.

Most of the shrubs I can handle, however, it has creeping juniper planted in the bed along the drive way and I've never dealt with it. It needs a decent amount of trimming as it's been allowed to grow over the retaining wall, but something I noticed was that it appears to be about 3 layers deep, with the top and outer layer of the branches still green with needles, however the underlying branches against the ground are somewhat buried in old leaves and decaying matter and seem to be devoid of any green needles. The second layer up is more on the dry side, but again very little in the way of growth.

Most of what I've read has given conflicting information about trimming, but nothing has really addressed if this is natural, or if these have just been let to grow wild and really should have been thinned out each year so the lower part didn't turn to compost mush.

I assume if I do have to prune these back to try and save them, I likely need to cut out the entire bottom layer against the ground and "clean out" under the plants a bit, as well as lightly trim the top cover back to allow more air/light to the lower bits of the plants. I'll take pictures tonight to add but any advice is helpful as they do still look good and I want to make sure they stay good for a long time. Of course, if this is normal and I'm just worrying too much, tell me that too 🙂

I appreciate any advice given in advance. Thanks!

submitted by /u/KH-DanielP
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