Junipers (Juniperus spp.) are hardy evergreen conifers with berry-like cones and needle-like leaves. This group of woody plants grows 4 inches to 50 feet tall and spreads 6 to 20 feet wide. The needles are dark green, light green, blue, silver-blue or yellow. Juniper trees are commonly used as groundcovers, foundation plantings, screens, hedges, windbreaks and specimens. Junipers grown in containers survive planting anytime during the year. Fall is the best time to plant ball and burlap-wrapped junipers.
Remove grass, weeds and debris from a planting area with full sun exposure. Plan the site in advance since it needs enough room for the mature height and width of the juniper variety.
Loosen the soil to a depth of 24 inches with a shovel. Break the soil clumps up with the edge of a garden hoe. This eliminates soil compaction and improves drainage.
Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Add 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil removed from the hole. Use the rate of 2 tsp. for every gallon of container the juniper is planted in. Do not dump the fertilizer in the bottom of the hole since this causes burn damage to the roots.
Remove the juniper from its container and loosen the root ball with your hands. Gently spread the roots out so that they do not grow in a circle. Place the juniper in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the ground.
Fill the hole halfway with soil and pour a bucket of water in the hole. Fill the hole the rest of the way full with soil and gently firm the soil around the plant. Sprinkle water around the juniper until the soil is wet. Water twice a week for the first month while the juniper tree is establishing new roots.
Things You Will Need
- Garden hoe
- Properly space the juniper trees if planting more than one. If junipers are planted too close together, it cuts off air circulation. Lack of air flow makes the junipers susceptible to insect pests and plant diseases.
- Junipers do not grow well in waterlogged soil. If the site is prone to hold puddles after it rains, then switch sites.
- Do not severely prune your junipers. They do not produce new growth on old wood so do not trim back large limbs. Junipers do not recover from this type of damage. Gradually shape your junipers by pinching tips and cutting out old, dead branches.
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