Uses of Junipers in the Landscape
What do you think when someone mentions junipers? At first you might tend to have negative thoughts, but junipers deserve their spot in landscapes, due to their different shapes and sizes. Junipers have numerous uses in landscapes, like groundcover, hedges, windbreaks, topiaries, and foundation plantings. Junipers are evergreen and part of the conifer family, but produce berries instead of cones. Junipers are heat and drought tolerant once established, and tolerate poor soil conditions. Junipers perform best in full sun, but can tolerate shade. Also, junipers do not like wet locations and prefer well-drained soil. Depending on the species, juniper planting zones range from two to nine.
Junipers as Groundcovers
Groundcover junipers are excellent evergreen groundcovers that grow from six inches to two feet tall, depending on the variety. Groundcover junipers are rugged, fast growing, and can quickly cover large areas in landscapes. The foliage can vary from green or blue-green in color. Groundcover junipers are outstanding plants for landscaping slopes and banks. They need very minimal pruning, however clipping the tips of main branches will promote a dense branching system. A few good examples of groundcover junipers are: Blue Pacific Juniper-a low trailing habit and ocean blue-green foliage color that spreads two to three feet wide by four inches tall. Green Mound Juniper- very short growing with beautiful bright green foliage and just a hint of blue. It grows five feet wide by six inches tall. Blue Rug Juniper- a silvery blue, needle like foliage with a purple tinge in the winter thatgrows three feet wide by four inches tall.
Uses of Junipers
Junipers are an excellent choise for tall landscape hedges or windbreaks due to their fast and dense growth habits. Juniper's size varies from four to eight feet wide and ten to twenty feet tall. The foliage can range from green or blue in color. Upright junipers will need some light pruning to maintain their shape. These focal point upright junipers are used as special shaped topiaries, trimmed as spirals and poodles. A few good examples are: Hetzi Columnaris Juniper- it’s a upright juniper with a nice medium green color, good berry production and grows four feet wide by ten feet tall. Canaertii Juniper-its foliage is a good dark green color with a compact pyramidal form that grows seven feet wide by fifteen feet tall. Blue Haven Juniper-it has intense blue foliage with a very symmetrical, pyramidal form whic grows four feet wide by ten feet tall.
Junipers used for foundation or backdrops in landscapes are a great choice due to their fine texture and arching branches. These junipers can reach five feet tall by eight feet wide. They are available in light green, golden, blue-green, and blue in color. Foundation junipers will need light pruning to maintain their shape. Good examples of these junipers are: Saybrook Gold Juniper-its new growth foliage is extremely bright yellow in a compact horizontal spread and it grows three feet tall by six feet wide. Sea Green Juniper- is a green compact juniper with a fountain like growth habit which grows four feet tall by six feet wide. Grey Owl Juniper- a medium size juniper with a horizontal spread, brilliant silver gray foliage color, growing four feet tall by six feet wide.
With over 170 species and varieties of junipers to pick from, you should be incorporating junipers into your next landscape design.