If you live in a dry climate and want to add a fast-growing evergreen to your landscape, consider the juniper tree. This tree come in various shapes with foliage of different textures and colors, including shades of green, purple, bronze, golden, silver and grey. Junipers are ideal to use as screens, windbreaks and privacy hedges. The tree thrives in both hot and cold climates and can tolerate a wide variety of soils without healthy growth being compromised. Conifers like the junipers are especially suited to container growing because they require less nourishment than trees with broad leaves. They also grow comfortably in containers despite root restriction, unlike many other tree species. Follow these easy steps to successfully grow a juniper tree or shrub in a pot or planter.
Picking a Container
Choose a large container to ensure that the young junipers seedlings have plenty of room for roots to develop and provide adequate space for the established tree. A large container will support the tree as it forms its shape and provide good air circulation, preventing fungal infection. Pick a container that allows 1 foot in diameter for every 4 feet of the height of the tree. It should be about twice the width and depth of the root ball.
Carefully inspect the roots when you select your juniper at the garden center. The tree should not be bound to the roots nor have circling roots as they will end up winding around the tree. Use a sharp trowel to cut off a couple of inches off the root ball before planting in the container. This will encourage the growth of fresh roots.
Provide your juniper with well-drained soil mixed with some organic compost. Fill your container with soil up to about 2 inches from the top. In the center of the planter, use a small spade to dig a hole wide enough to comfortably accommodate your tree. When inserted into the hole, the tree should be at the same level as it was in the nursery, with enough soil underneath the root ball. Replace the soil into the hole and pat firmly around the tree. Add a slow-release granular fertilizer to kick-start the transplanting process. Thereafter, you can apply a good fertilizer once a year.
Plants in containers tend to dry out more quickly, so it is important that you apply water regularly. It will support the new transplant and encourage healthy growth. Inadequate water will result in stunted growth.
Regular pruning will help maintain the tree's shape and regulate healthy growth. Snip off wayward stems and branches.