There area unit over 170 cultivated sorts of juniper, together with low-growing ground cover or border plants, shrubs, and trees.
The fragrant foliage can be either needles or overlapping scales. Some shrubs have each sort of foliage as a result of the leaves begin out as needles and transition to scales as they mature.
Juniper shrubs are either male or female. The male flowers provide the pollen for the female flowers, and once pollinated, the females produce berries or cones. One male woody plant will give spore for many females.
When to plant:
Plant during milder months of spring or fall to avoid heat or cold stress.
How to plant:
Choose a sunny site with well-draining soil.
Amend the planting area with 20% organic matter. Dig a planting hole 2 to 3 times wider than the diameter of the root ball and slightly less deep than the rootball. Tease out roots if potbound, or make several slits in the rootball. Place plant in the hole with the top of the rootball slightly higher than the surrounding ground. Fill the planting hole with loose soil and tamp down gently to remove air pockets, making sure not to cover the rootball. Water thoroughly and again once or twice weekly until established. Spacing depends on the variety and how they are used. Allow adequate spacing to ensure good air circulation, which will make plants less susceptible to fungal diseases.
Pruning and deadheading:
Junipers want very little to no pruning so that plants retain their natural kind. In early spring, cut out any dead branches, trim errant growth, and gently form as required. Keep up with light pruning as young plants grow to keep them compact and healthy. Severe pruning of overgrown specimens can be a problem, as older growth at the center of the plant doesn’t regenerate. Cutting branches past live growth into dead zones can result in permanent bare gaps. Tolerant of most soil types, junipers prefer slightly acidic, organically rich soil with good drainage, as roots can rot in standing water.
Amendments & fertilizer:
When planted in optimal conditions, junipers need little to no supplemental fertilizer. If desired, apply an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer in early spring. Spread fertilizer around the root zone according to instructions and water in thoroughly.
In most regions, junipers need little to no supplemental water once established. They are more likely to suffer from overwatering and resulting diseases than they are from underwatering. Irrigate newly planted specimens every week or two until roots have developed sufficiently, and keep plants moist during extreme drought and heat spells.
Although virtually carefree when planted in the right conditions, they can be susceptible to some pests and diseases if not kept healthy. Insect problems include spider mites, juniper twig girdler, scale, juniper needle miner, bagworm, sawfly, and bark beetle. Diseases, that square measure primarily related to a fault wet soil, an excessive amount of shade, or lack of air circulation, embrace twig and tip blight, genus Phytophthora root rot, and cedar rust. Don’t plant close to apple trees, as juniper is at risk of cedar-apple rust, a fungus which will harm or destroy apple trees, likewise as crabapple, hawthorn, and quince.
Deer will leave them alone for the most part, due to the sharp needles and bitter taste, though extreme conditions can result in deer grazing on plants they wouldn’t otherwise.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT JUNIPER
With different sizes and forms to choose from, here are some tips to consider:
For borders and landscapes:
Choose varieties that will fit the scale of your property. Depending on the size and form, use as hedging, screening, in a mixed border, as foundation plantings, groundcovers, or a stand-alone focal point. Make sure to allow room for plants to mature without becoming crowded.
For slopes and hillsides:
Mass low growers and groundcover types along a slope or hillside for low-maintenance erosion control.
Plant a smaller specimen or dwarf type as a stand-alone accent in a container, or combine with other evergreen plants for year-round appeal.
Juniper berries, needles, and stems can be mildly toxic to dogs and cats if eaten, though most pets will leave plants alone due to the bitter taste. Ingestion is rarely if ever fatal, but can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and (in extreme cases) kidney problems. Consuming large amounts of berries can result in aborted pregnancy in dogs. Contact your local poison control or veterinarian if your pet exhibits any symptoms. See more Common Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats.