How to Grow a Juniper Tree


Juniper refers to a wide range of shrubs, ground cover and small trees. The plant has small, soft green to silvery-blue foliage and pale blue berries, used to make gin. These evergreens make nice privacy screens since they have foliage year-round. Plant juniper in the spring or fall (if you have temperate winters). Once established, juniper trees are low-maintenance. They are drought-tolerant and can withstand hot summer weather.

Step 1

Select a full-sun site offering well-draining soil to plant your juniper tree. The trees can tolerate part shade but will grow leggy.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the size of the tree's root ball. Remove rocks and roots from the hole, then jab your shovel into the ground at the bottom of the hole. This loosens the soil there, which helps your juniper root easier.

Step 3

Pull your juniper tree from its container and massage the root ball between your hands to break it apart. Untangle circled and tangled roots before placing the juniper tree in the prepared hole so it rests at the same depth it sat in the container.

Step 4

Hold the trunk straight with one hand and backfill the hole with soil with the other hand to plant the juniper. Gently firm soil around the base of the tree.

Step 5

Water the newly planted juniper tree until the ground becomes saturated.

Step 6

Irrigate your juniper tree with 1 inch of water weekly, unless you receive sufficient rainfall that week to equal 1 inch. To determine how long it takes to give the tree 1 inch of water, run your hose on its lowest setting into a bucket and time how long it takes to get 1 inch of water in the bucket. Then soak your juniper tree for that amount of time.

Step 7

Prune the juniper tree annually to maintain its natural shape. Clip off limbs that grow downward or those that crisscross other limbs. Trim branches back if they grow too long. Remove dead or diseased wood to keep the tree healthy. When pruning juniper, always leave some needles on the branch; it cannot grow again if you remove all foliage.

Step 8

Fertilize your juniper annually in the spring. Galetta Rose Nurseries suggests applying 4 oz. per 10 square feet of 12-4-8 fertilizer. Scatter the fertilizer on the ground in a 10-foot square, then water the ground to work it in.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Juniper sapling
  • Water
  • Anvil pruners
  • 12-4-8 fertilizer


  • Clemson University: Juniper
  • Tree Help: Juniper
  • Galetta Rose Nurseries: Growing Pine, Juniper and Spruce
Keywords: plant juniper, grow juniper, juniper tree care

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.