Crabapple trees are frequently an ornamental choice for landscapers and property owners, as is the juniper bush. Both offer different things, as they are very diverse species. The crabapple belongs to the Rose family, as do all apple trees, while the juniper bush part of the cedar family. Both exist in the wild, with as many as 70 kinds of junipers and over 20 types of crabapples growing in various locations across the United States.
The crabapple is a small tree, with one popular ornamental type, the Dolgo Crabapple, growing only to 20 feet high. Another kind, the Prairie Fire, is similar in height. Even in the wild, crabapples rarely are over 30 feet, with one species, the Oregon Crabapple, an exception since it can attain 40 feet in height. Juniper bushes, unlike juniper trees, are low to the ground and are seldom higher than a few feet. For example, the Arcadia Juniper is just 18 inches at its tallest.
Junipers possess evergreen leaves, with many different shades of green available among the multiple types you have from which to choose. Golden Pfitzer has a gold-green look, Blue Rug has blue-green foliage and Buffalo Juniper is a deep rich green, to name just a few. The foliage is almost scale-like in its appearance, looking as if someone took the time to weave it. The foliage of crabapples falls off when the time comes in the cool days and nights of autumn. The colors vary, from the red-green leaves of the Prairiefire variety to the light green of the southern crabapple--a native species.
Crabapples are subject to many diseases. Among them are fire blight, powdery mildew, scab and cedar apple rust. The Prairiefire Crabapple is the most resistant to these ailments, according to the Nature Hills Nursery website. Junipers are also victims of cedar apple rust and in fact, the disease goes from junipers to apple trees, including crabapples. The fungus that causes the ailment starts on the juniper, spending the winter on it before emerging in the spring and developing into a spore-producing gelatinous substance. The spores get onto the crabapples by means of the wind, where they cause lesions on the leaves.
The juniper bush is quite useful as a shrub to place around foundations of buildings as it can grow in poor quality soils. Juniper bushes make excellent ground cover to prevent erosion as well as fine hedges and windbreaks. The crabapple tree is much more of a visual ornamental species, with green leaves, fragrant pleasing-to-the-eye flowers and some able to provide you with fruit for pies and other baking and cooking purposes.
Many crabapples bloom in the early to mid-spring, such as the Dolgo, which flowers in April. It takes between three to five years for the Dolgo to produce fruit. The Prairiefire will have fruit on its branches by June as it matures, and the apples can stay on the tree until December. Some juniper bushes will often keep their vibrant green colors even through the winter, while some will fade a bit. Most juniper bushes begin to spread out over the ground after a few years growth, so consider this so they have room to expand.