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How to Plant Juniper Shrubs

Junipers (Juniperus) encompass more than 170 species and varieties. Evergreen and coniferous, junipers range from low growing ground covers to tall trees. Popular varieties are Chinese juniper, Japanese juniper and creeping juniper. Junipers are hardy plants that are tolerant to a wide range of soils and conditions. Their use in the landscape includes ground covers, hedges and screens. They also make good windbreaks. It's easy to plant and grow juniper shrubs, and even a novice gardener will have success.

Select an area in your landscape to plant the juniper that receives full sun to partial sun. Junipers are tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions.

Consider the plants growth at maturity, when selecting a site. Varieties such as Chinese juniper can reach a height of 50 feet with a width of 20 feet and Japanese juniper grows to a height of 2 feet with a width of 12 to 20 feet.

Amend the planting site with a rich organic material, such as compost or peat. Make sure the planting site drains very well and does not retain water, as junipers are not tolerant of wet conditions. Work the organic material into the soil to a depth of 6 inches to 1 foot.

Water the juniper while it is still in the container, before placing it in the ground. If the soil is already wet, there is no need to water the plant.

Dig a hole that is approximately three times larger than the juniper’s root ball. Remove the juniper from the container and loosen the root ball. Place the plant into the hole and cover the hole with soil, patting it down firmly around the base of the plant with your hands. Do not plant the juniper any deeper than it was growing inside its original container.

Water the juniper two to three times per week, during its first year of growth. In regions that are wetter, water once per week, depending on the weather. In regions that are hot and dry, keep the plant watered regularly for the first two years. Juniper plants are relatively drought tolerant once established.

Fertilize with an all-purpose, granular fertilizer in spring, summer and early fall. Apply the fertilizer to the planting site and water in well.


Pruning juniper shrubs is not recommended or necessary.

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