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Tree and Shrub Care: Juniper Shrubs

juniper-746559-edited.jpgJuniper shrubs are awesome in the landscape.  Why?  They have an interesting visual texture, smell great, and can provide habitat for wildlife. 

Caring for Juniper bushes is is also easy, as they require little (if any) pruning to maintain an attractive shape, tolerate some very adverse conditions, and grow in any type of soil as long as it is well drained.

In the realm of tree and shrub care, let's discuss the best ways to care for your Juniper bush.

>>Did You Know?<<

Juniper shrubs are either male or female. The flowers of the male provide pollen for the female flowers which produce berries.   One male juniper can provide enough pollen for several females.

Care of Junipers

* Plant junipers in full sun or light shade - in shaded conditions, the branches tend to spread apart (which can permanently distort their shape).
* As said above, junipers tolerate many soil types as long as they are well drained (no wet foot, as this can cause decline).  
* Many junipers make an excellent blocking shrub from the street as they tolerate road spray and other urban pollutants fairly well.
* You can plant container-grown junipers any time of year. 
* Shrubs that are burlaped are best planted in the fall.
1. Dig the planting hole as large as the root ball and twice to three times as wide.
2. Set the shrub in the hole so the stem is even with the surrounding soil and back fill making sure there are no air gaps left then water deeply.
3. If the soil settles then add more soil to bring level. Don't leave a depression. 

* Water new or young shrubs during dry periods for the first two years.  After a couple of years the junipers should be fairly drought tolerant.
* Don't fertilize when planting, but use a 10-10-10 fertilizer in the spring, a year after planting. 
* Also , keep an eye out for juniper mites. Use a white sheet of paper and shake the branches to see if you see any "little red things" running around.  A good general-use plant insecticide from the garden store can be used for the control of these little mites (which can do serious damage to your plant).

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