Junipers are attrctive evergreen shrubs that produce distinctively flavored fruit that is sometimes added to foods like sauerkraut. Juniper shrubs are helpful for filling out gardens and backyards, adding texture and soft green color. However, there are some diseases and pests that can be problems for your juniper shrub.
Junipers are woody, evergreen shrubs. The common name for the juniper evergreen is the tam juniper. This shrub can grow 3 to 10 feet tall. The trunk of the shrub is about the diameter of a pencil. The bark is brownish, bumpy and does not peel. The leaves are scaly and about the length of a credit card. The edges of the leaves are serrated, with the shrub has an alternate leaf arrangement. The veins on the leaf are pinnate. The juniper shrub produces single green flowers, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The fruit is small, spherical and gray.
Junipers are found throughout the northern temperate zones. The juniper shrub can survive in partial shade or full sun.
Trim back new growth all the way to the origin of the growth in order to control how large the juniper shrub gets. Cut the area above the side shoots. If you do not want the lower branches to lose sunlight, and also want a layered look, thin out the top branches. Do heavy pruning between February and April; light pruning can be done anytime, according to Washington State University.
According to Bellarmine University, the tam juniper originated in China. In ancient Sumeria and Babylon, junipers were sacrificed to the gods. The fruit of the juniper evergreen was believed to have medicinal purposes and was used to treat digestive problems and colic. Today, juniper fruit is often dried and added to dishes such as sauerkraut and turkey stuffing. The fruit is also used to flavor tea and gin. In Sweden, the juniper shrub branches and berries are used to make beer.
Some pests can be very harmful to the juniper shrub. The phomopsis blight is a fungal pathogen that can cause dieback; it often occurs in poorly drained areas. The bagworm can do enough damage to kill a juniper. The leafminer can cause extensive foliage damage.