The juniper tree is one of the most popular hedgerow evergreen trees, and is often used as a natural fence to keep in animals, or to provide privacy in a garden. Junipers are hard-wearing and can stand long periods of dryness, although they are less fond of poorly draining soil. Once they have become established, Juniper trees require very little maintenance—maybe an annual prune, perhaps the odd insect removal; but they struggle to grow roots in new places, meaning that growing a juniper tree can be a challenge. Planting a juniper tree can be very difficult, as they often loose significant amounts of roots during movement.
Planting an Adult Juniper Tree
There are a few steps that can be taken to assist you in growing a strong and long-lasting juniper tree:
- Before planting your juniper, soil preparation is essential. The ground needs to be thoroughly mulched and watered the day before planting takes place.
- On the day, dig a deep hole around 4 feet deep and 5 feet wide. Add a good bag of compost to the removed soil, and mix well.
- Lay the juniper tree down, and remove any burlap or sacking with scissors.
- Lift the juniper tree into the center of the hole, taking care to ensure that the juniper tree is upright. Spread the roots around the bottom of the hole.
- Water the root ball, and then half-fill the whole with soil. Water thoroughly, and leave overnight.
- The next day, fill the rest of the hole with soil, covering the roots completely.
- Spread fertilizer in a broad circle around the tree, making sure not to over-cover the tree base. Water until there is a small pool of water at the base of the tree.
Planting a Seedling Juniper Tree
- Water the juniper thoroughly in its seed pot.
- Dig a generous hole for the seedling’s root ball, and water well. Add compost.
- Remove the juniper from the seed pot, and loosen some of the longer roots.
- When placing the seedling in the ground, ensure that it is only as deeply in the ground as it was in the pot.
- Half-fill the hole, and water. This will help remove air pockets
- Fill in the rest of the soil, and water again
- Mulch the area around the plant.
Taking Care of the New Plant
The juniper tree will need to be watered regularly for the first few months after transplanting. It is also important not to prune the tree, as they can suffer from severe "die back" up to 2 years after being planted. Instead, inspect the tree regularly for signs of trouble and take off any dead leaves or twigs by hand.
Continue to water the tree regularly until the ground becomes frozen—at the end of October, mulch the plant heavily and water until a pool forms at the base of the tree. This will ensure that the tree has enough water to last the winter.