The juniper is typically a shrub but can sometimes grow to the size of a small tree. The common juniper grows in the northern areas of North America, Asia and Europe, which gives it one of the widest of geographic ranges for any woody shrub or tree. You can employ this species for your landscaping needs, since it is not difficult to establish, even in poor soils.
Juniper trees are evergreen, keeping their needles for as long as three years before new ones grow in to replace the old. This translates into no unusual fall colors and the needles turn a yellow-brown color in the winter. The needles have the shape of an awl and grow at a large angle from the stem. Juniper tree needles have a blunt tip, are concave with a whitish stripe on the top side and vary in color from a grayish-green to a bluish-green shade. They grow in a whorled pattern of threes on the branches of the tree and join at their bases.
The rounded cones of Juniper resemble berries but they are indeed cones. The cones are bluish-black and appear waxy as they develop on the branches. These cones take as long as three years in some instances to ripen and contain three seeds. They are usually less than an inch wide and some people employ them to flavor gin. The bark is reddish-brown and attractive, peeling off the trunk in strips. The foliage usually hides it from your view.
Transplanting Juniper Trees
Transplant junipers from containers or plant those that you purchase from your local nursery. Dig a hole wider than the roots or root ball and as deep into the ground as the juniper is in its container. Place the tree into the hole and spread the roots out as much as you can. Fill in the hole with the dirt you took from it originally and pat it down gently. Keep the area moist during the first and second years of growth as your juniper tree takes hold.
Juniper trees are no stranger to poor growing conditions and this means that once you have one growing, it will need very little attention. Juniper trees can grow in rocky soil and tolerate winds and snow. You should attempt to plant them in full sun if possible. Remember that this is a species of northern latitudes, so junipers will not do well in places where the weather is extremely hot. Consider using juniper trees to create hedges or screen to give you privacy.
Cultivars of the juniper tree include many low-growing shrubs such as Gold Beach and Repanda, but there are also small tree species you can opt for. Among them is the Hibernica, known as the Irish Juniper, which features bluish needles and can grow to 15 feet in height. This cultivar has dense branches and grows in a column shape.