Juniper Trees are diverse, with between 50 and 70 subspecies. With every size, from a low-shrub to a tall tree, Junipers will fit the needs for most homeowners. Juniper Trees are native to several regions throughout the world, including North America, Africa, Central America, and Asia. These evergreens can reach as high as 130 feet tall, though some varieties offer low ground-cover instead. There are 12 species within the genus Juniperus which grow well in the United States, including the privacy screen or hedge known as Juniper Wichita Blue. The other most common species are the Spartan Juniper and the Hollywood Juniper.
Oftentimes, Junipers are commonly referred to as Cedars, though true Cedars fall under the genus Cedrus. For this reason, Junipers may be called redcedars or whitecedars, the lack of space noting the inherent difference between these and true Cedars. In USDA hardiness zones 3 through 10, Juniper Trees can offer shade, privacy, and adaptability.
It is essential to learn about the Juniper Tree before planting a new sapling, as the tree’s needs, the effort on the part of the planter, and the benefits and concerns around any new tree change from species to species. Juniper Trees are adaptable to sunny and drier climates, and they are perfect property privacy protectors and shade providers. Read about the essential facts on the Juniper Tree below. Then, carefully read the specifics about planting and caring for Juniper Trees in the proceeding sections.
How to Buy Juniper Trees
The Tree Center offers carefully chosen Junipers, which will ship quickly to most locations throughout the United States. There are twelve species of Juniper Tree and Shrub native to The United States, though the most common are the Spartan Juniper, Hollywood Juniper, and Juniper Wichita Blue. This species of Juniper offers blue-tinted foliage, which can grow quickly, making it ideal for privacy screens and perimeter barriers. Be sure to buy from tree specialists, such as those at The Tree Center, as the initial growth of the Juniper Tree prior to planting will impact future growth.
How to Plant Juniper Trees
Sun: Plant in full sun. Mild partial shade acceptable.
Water: Water immediately after planting and once per week for the first twelve months, unless it rains.
When to Plant: Spring is best, though Junipers can also be planted in late fall with proper mulching.
Juniper Trees are hardy and adaptable trees, but they still have their preferences for water needs, soil types, and location areas. Depending on the species of Juniper Tree planted, different locations may be beneficial. For example, taller species, such as the Hollywood Juniper or the Spartan Juniper, can reach upwards of 15 feet tall. These should be planted far away from foundations and fences; on the other hand, the Juniper Wichita Blue can reach 30 feet, but is often pruned to less than 10 feet, enabling it to remain a tall hedge acting as a privacy screen. These smaller shrubs do well when planted along property lines, and the Juniper Wichita Blue can be planted closer to homes.
Once the location has been identified, the next step is to dig a hole. The hole should be three times the size of the Juniper’s root ball. When planting any kind of tree, a wide hole is needed. Do not worry about the depth of the hole. Too deep and necessities such as water and oxygen will have a harder time reaching the Juniper’s roots. The hole should be about two to three inches less deep than the Juniper’s root ball. This is because the tree will settle over time. So, make sure the top of the root ball is visible once in the hole.
The next part is best done with two people; set the tree in the hole so it stands vertically. Then, begin backfilling the hole with soil. Be sure to work some of the Juniper Tree’s roots into the soil as its backfilled, as this will quicken its rooting. Water immediately after planting and gently compact the soil around the plant with feet and hands. If using mulch, begin mulching with 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the tree.
Juniper Trees do not do well with excessive watering, which is, in part, why the soil consistency matters significantly. Identifying the soil type in which the Juniper Tree will be planted is essential to future growing success. The soil will fall into one of three categories. Clay soils are made of small particles. When wet, the soil clumps together with ease, often making it difficult to separate the soil into its component pieces again. Clay soils are usually red-tinted, and though useful in pottery, are detrimental to water-draining properly through the soil. Silt or sand soils are similar. The particles are larger than in clay, though equally poor for water transference.
Loam soils are the best, especially for Juniper Trees. Loam soil is characterized by a variety of granular sizes. This variety not only allows for diverse nutrient offerings, but also for excellent water drainage and oxygen availability. Whatever soil the Juniper Tree is planted in, the tree can be successful with proper care and attention. The difference is that in loamy soils, less direct intervention from the planter will be needed.
Juniper Trees grow well in areas in which droughts are frequent, though during a sustained water absence, some minimal watering by the landscaper may be necessary. Juniper Trees can be drought tolerant. Water the Juniper Tree immediately after planting and once per week for the first 12 months at least after planting unless it rains. Water with two to three gallons of water to a depth of 30 inches. It is best to water Junipers once or twice a week aggressively than to water frequently but sparingly.
It is best to observe the changes in the Juniper to assess whether too much or little water is received by the tree. If the needles are dry and falling frequently, the tree likely needs to be watered. If the soil surrounding the tree is saturated, it likely is being overwatered.
Mulch and Fertilizer
Micronutrient needs of Juniper Trees are minimal, and as such, fertilizers are not needed. Mulch can be beneficial, as natural mulch will both enable water and oxygen transference to the soil surrounding the Juniper Tree. Use a natural mulch made of wood chips and mulch a 3 to 4 inch layer around the base of the Juniper. Cedar mulches work well for Juniper Trees, though most varieties will provide equal benefit. Water after mulching.
Information on Juniper Trees
Juniper Trees grow best in hot, dry climates; specifically, in the United States Junipers are found primarily west of the Mississippi River in the Pacific Northwest south to Arizona, including Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, though Junipers grow throughout America. Once established, Juniper Trees are relatively tolerant of drought and can go without water for short, dry spells.
Junipers produce a small seed, or berry, similar in physical description to a blueberry. Though not usually eaten as the seed is both hard and bitter, extract from the berry is used to flavor gin. Although Juniper Trees can make excellent privacy screens, they are also used for their ornamental qualities. Some species are cultivated as bonsai, and other species, such as the Juniper Wichita Blue, are planted for their unique blue hue. Juniper Trees usually grow at a moderate rate of at least a foot per year.
Juniper Tree Varieties and Cultivars
Juniper Trees consist of a controversial mix of species, numbered somewhere between 50 and 70 unique varieties. These varieties span both low groundcovers to shrubs to tall trees towering at 130 feet tall. Regardless of the height, Juniper Tree planters can find a species suitable to the land’s needs. Although the Juniper Wichita Blue is a great fit for those looking to create privacy screens and hedge barriers, the Spartan Juniper and Hollywood Juniper are taller and planted to offer a hardy tree, reminiscent of a Cypress.
Juniper Wichita Blue
The privacy tree known as Juniper Wichita Blue is hardy is USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9, meaning in grows well throughout most of the United States. Juniper Wichita Blue is easily identified by its blue tones. Although this species can reach heights of 30 feet, the Juniper Wichita Blue is usually between 10 and 15 feet tall. The Juniper Wichita Blue is often used as a privacy screen or garden accent tree. If planting as a privacy tree, plant between 3 and 5 feet apart, as the eventual width of the Juniper Wichita Blue is between 4 and 6 feet.
The Spartan Juniper is considered one of the most popular upright growing Junipers in the United States. Reaching heights between 15 and 20 feet, the Spartan Juniper is a columnar-shaped evergreen, tolerant of salt, drought, heat, and cold. Minimal effort is needed to grow the Spartan Juniper, which usually grows between 12 and 18 inches a year.
The Hollywood Juniper reaches heights between 10 and 15 feet tall. The Hollywood Juniper is easily identified by its spiraling, twisted branches, which add an eccentric twist on the landscape ornamental. Although the Hollywood Juniper can be 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide, the roots of are usually small and narrow, so landscapers can prune the tree to be much smaller for smaller spaces.
Benefits of Juniper Trees
Juniper Trees are beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:
Juniper Trees are known for their hardiness qualities. Juniper Trees typically require minimal care and watering, making them especially valuable and popular in drier regions of the west and Rocky Mountains. Juniper Trees are often used as privacy screens to keep out unwanted noise and intrusions.
Juniper Tree Concerns
Although Juniper Trees are easy to care for, be careful to plant any Juniper Trees within a short distance of fruiting trees, especially Apple Trees. Junipers Trees are sometimes attacked by the fungus commonly known as Cedar-Apple Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae). After making its home on Junipers, it will damage Apple Trees, decreasing produce significantly.