Juniper Tree or Juniperus are trees that we call red cedar is really a juniper. But many others are shrub-like and as such are extremely useful in landscape plantings especially since they will tolerate poor soil. They do well by the seashore as well as in hot dry places, and they cover banks beautifully.
Juniper Tree is great variety in their shape, foliage textures, and foliage colors; many make fine specimen plants, and the smaller ones look good in rock gardens, either as accents or tailing down over rocks. The low, spreading junipers make excellent ground covers.
Many varieties of Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) such as the bluish “Hetzii” and the flat topped “Pfitzerana” may grow as tall as 10 feet and just as wide, sending out long, irregular horizontal branches. They are usually misused because people rarely understand how big they will grow; a compact juniper is more appropriate for most landscaping situations.
But given the right space, the big Juniper Tree can be effective. The variety called “Sargent juniper” forms a low, bluish mat. Varieties of common juniper (J. communis) include “Depressa” which grows under 4 feet tall and “Compressa” a little gem of a plant that grows upright with a pointed top and never exceeds 2 feet.
Tam juniper (J. Sabina “Tamariscifolia”) is much used because it forms a low, wide tidy mound of rich green. Varieties of creeping juniper (J. horizontalis) are the most prostrate of all; “Wiltoni” is also called “Blue Rug” forms a blue mat just a few inches high that spreads widely and is excellent for the foreground of a shrub planting or in a rock garden.
“Bar Harbor” is gray-green and turns purplish in winter. Andorra juniper (J. H. plumose) is taller than Bar Harbor under 2 feet but also has a fine, purplish winter color. Moreover, Junipers like full sun and soil that is rather dry, sandy, well-drained, and slightly acidic. They rarely if ever need feeding.
They should not need much pruning if you have chosen the right juniper for the spot, and they are usually appreciated for the irregularity of their branching patterns. But you can remove awkward hoots in spring or summer, trim recent growth in early spring if more business is needed or cut all of the season’s growth in summer to limit size. Cutting hard to bare wood will not, however, produce branching.
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