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Junipers are evergreens perennials from the cypress family. Their genus is very extensive and currently has more than 70 species. They all grow in the northern hemisphere and are found both in the subtropics and in the Arctic zone. The Latin name of the plant is Juniperus, and in some regions it is called heather or juniper.
Junipers take a wide variety of forms. Some species are low shrubs creeping on the ground. Others are large trees growing up to 12, or even up to 30 meters in height. However, they all have two common characteristics: cones, very similar to berries, and unusual needles. It, depending on the type and age of the plant, can be either needle-shaped or scaly.
Junipers are very fond of light, but otherwise quite picky. They tolerate drought and cold, survive on the most meager soils and in the most adverse climatic conditions. But in big cities they feel uncomfortable, because their needles over time accumulates harmful substances.
Junipers look picturesque and are often used in landscape design. They green cities, decorate gardens, plant in summer cottages and grow houses in pots as indoor plants. At the same time, they are very unpretentious, and therefore even a beginner gardener can easily look after them.
The main feature of junipers is a powerful root system. It penetrates deep into the ground, where it spreads in different directions for tens of meters. Thanks to this, plants can extract water and nutrients even from the most meager and arid land.
The survival of juniper contributes to its unusual needles. From above, it is covered with a thick layer of cuticle and a waxy coating that protect the plants from the adverse environment. Typically, in young plants, needles are needle-shaped, and in adults, scaly needles, however, this depends on the particular species. A complete change of needles occurs within 8-10 years.
The fruits of juniper are juicy cones, most often dark blue. They are very similar to berries, and therefore they are often called so: cone berries or simply juniper berries. One such cone berry, depending on the species, contains from 1 to 12 seeds. Birds and animals readily regale their fruits, while helping to spread seeds around.
Juniper berries are also consumed by people. Fruits are eaten raw, used as spices in cooking, prepared from them tinctures, liquors and preserves. But here it is important to remember that only one species — the common juniper — is edible. In all other species, they are poisonous and in no case can they be eaten.
Junipers are different rare longevity. In the mountains, specimens are often found whose age is estimated at 800, or even 1000 years. At the same time, they still continue to grow and yield fruits with viable seeds. According to experts, individual junipers can survive up to 3 three thousand years.
Another record of this plant is the ability to secrete a large number of volatile production, that is, substances that destroy harmful microorganisms. Junipers produce them 6 times more than conifers, and 15 times more than deciduous.
Unfortunately, junipers have one serious drawback - they grow very slowly. Even in the most favorable conditions, most species grow by only 5-10 centimeters per year.
The main types and varieties
70 species of juniper grow in the wild, but today, for decorative purposes Only eight of them are used:
- Juniper is ordinary. The most common and popular view in landscape design. Under natural conditions, it grows in Northern Europe, the Urals, Siberia, North America and even North Africa. It can take the form of both a low shrub and a tree standing up to 15 meters. This is the only species whose berries are edible.
- Juniper is Chinese. The birthplace of this species is China and North Korea. It is a low tree or shrub with ascending branches. The crown is pyramidal or columnar. The view looks great in both group and single landings.
- The juniper is scaly. Grows in China, the Himalayas and Taiwan. This is a low shrub with dense branches and with green prickly needles. The shape of the crown is irregular cushion. The species is photophilous, but not at all picky about the condition of the soil and can grow on both alkaline and acidic areas of the earth.
- Red cedar. Distributed in the United States from North Dakota to North Florida. It is a powerful tree up to 15-30 meters in height and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 meters. Used for landscaping cities, large gardens and parks.
- Juniper is horizontal. Grows in the Atlantic region of the United States and belongs to the creeping species of juniper. It features beautiful blue-green needles, which in the cold season become brown. This view looks great on flower beds and often lands in squares and parks.
- Juniper Cossack. It grows in Mongolia, Central Asia and in the steppe regions of Siberia. It is a low shrub with open branches. It grows very quickly, so it is often used to strengthen slopes and decorate lawns. It tolerates urban conditions.
- Juniper is rocky. In vivo grows in the United States in the states of Oregon, Texas and Arizona. Prefers to settle on the rocks, growing in height to 10−12 meters. The main feature of the view is a pyramidal crown with a very beautiful symmetrical silhouette.
- Juniper is coastal. Originally from Japan and Sakhalin. It grows in coastal regions, while easily tolerates wintering under a layer of snow. It differs in gray-green shiny needles, as well as plentiful and large fruits of a dark blue color. So far, very few varieties have been bred from this species.
Juniper stands middle Pfitzeriana. In vivo, it does not occur - it is an artificial hybrid of Chinese and Cossack junipers. It is a powerful shrub up to 3.5 meters high and 7 meters wide. It features a funnel-shaped crown and obliquely ascending branches.
Through the efforts of breeders, from this small number of species, dozens were obtained various hybrids and varieties. They are strikingly different from each other in the shape of the crown, the size, color of the needles and berries, and therefore are able to satisfy any landscape design needs. Here are the most popular ones:
- Stricta (Stricta) - Chinese juniper with a smooth and symmetrical crown in the shape of a cone. The needles are green-blue, very beautiful. The variety is photophilous, but young plants are afraid of sunburn.
- Gold Cone (Gold Con) - refers to the juniper and ordinary differs thick conical crown of golden green. It is not picky about either the condition of the soil or moisture.
- Meyer (Meyer) - one of the most popular columnar varieties. It grows in height up to 3-5 meters. The needles are very beautiful: from silver-green in the summer to green-blue in the winter. Extremely frost-resistant and feels good in Russia.
- Gold Coast (Gold Coast) - a sprawling shrub with platy shoots and golden yellow needles. It is not picky about conditions, but grows very slowly in the shade.
- Mint Julep (Mint Julep) - dense wide shrub with bright green needles and beautifully hanging branches. It grows rapidly: in a year it grows 10-15 cm in height and up to 20-30 cm in width. Well suited for parks and large gardens.
- Gold Star (Gold Star) - a sprawling, but not very tall shrub. Shoots grow from the center of the bush and branch heavily. The needles are golden green or golden yellow.
- Meyeri (Meyeri) - a variety with a funnel-shaped crown and slightly dangling tops. The needles are silver-blue or white-blue. It grows from 2 to 6 meters in height.
- Blue Arrow (Blue Arrow) - the most popular variety of rocky juniper. It features a very narrow and straight columnar crown. The needles are tightly pressed to the branches and have an intense gray-blue color. It grows rapidly, up to 10−12 centimeters per year. It lends itself well to haircut and holds its shape for a long time.
- Blue Chip (Blue Chip) - low, creeping shrub on the ground. It is distinguished by soft gray-blue needles, which turn a little purple in winter. The plant is unpretentious, but does not tolerate stagnation of water in the soil, so when planting it is necessary to lay a drainage layer. The variety belongs to horizontal junipers.
Landing and care
In the open ground It is not difficult to grow junipers, since most of them are not demanding either on moisture or on the state of the soil.
Selection of seedlings
Seedlings 3-4 years old, which are sold in 3- or 5-liter containers, are best suited for planting. It will be right to get them in garden centers and nurseries with a good reputation.
When choosing seedlings, you need to pay attention to the appearance of their bark, branches and needles. If there are thickenings on them, then such plants should not be taken - this is a sign of fungal diseases.
Preparation for landing
The ideal time for planting in the ground is April or May, and October is most suitable for planting juniper in the fall. It is very important to keep the original earthen lump on the seedlings, since this is how they better take root. Immediately before planting the plant, its roots can be immersed in “Kornevin” or a similar root growth stimulator for two hours.
For small forms (for example, for juniper Blue Chip), holes are dug at a distance of half a meter from each other. For trees and large shrubs, the distance should be at least 1.5−2 meters. The size of the pit should be made approximately 2-3 times larger than the earthen coma of seedlings.
They begin to prepare the place 2 weeks before the proposed landing. At the bottom of the pits, a drainage layer with a height of 15−20 cm is laid, which can be done from broken brick or sand. Soil is poured on top:
- 1 part of clay soil;
- 1 part of sand;
- 2 parts of peat;
- 200-300 grams nitroammofoski.
For the Virginian juniper, half a bucket of compost is added to the soil, and if the ground is sandy, then the same amount of clay. For Cossack juniper, you need to add 200-300 grams of dolomite flour.
Landing and transplanting
The seedling is placed in a hole and covered with soil as described above, but without fertilizer. If the seedling is small, its root neck should be flush with the ground. If large, then it is placed at 5-10 cm above the soil level.
Immediately after planting, the seedling must be watered, and around the trunk pour a layer of mulch from peat or sawdust.
Juniper transplant tolerates very poorly. To make the process less painful, it is recommended in spring to cut off the peripheral roots with a shovel, which are located about 40 cm from the trunk. After six months or a year, new roots form inside the earthen coma, and the plant can be transplanted.
Watering and feeding
Juniper care is usually straightforward. For example, watering it is recommended only during extreme heat. In this case, from 10 to 20 liters of water are poured under an adult plant.
However, all junipers, especially Chinese and ordinary, like sprinkling, which is better to arrange in the evenings. You can also occasionally carry out shallow loosening of the soil around the trunk with the associated removal of weeds.
It is enough to feed the plant once a year - in the spring. For this, 30-50 grams of nitroammophos are scattered around the trunk, the fertilizer is embedded in the ground, and then it is watered. If the soil is very scarce, then top dressing can be given all season, but not more than once a month.
Pruning is usually done only for hedge formation. In all other cases, it is better to limit ourselves to sanitary pruning, since the juniper grows very slowly and takes a long time to recover.
Although the plant is quite frost-resistant, it is recommended to nevertheless prepare it a little for wintering. To do this, dry and broken branches are cut, and then the juniper and the soil adjacent to it are treated with a 1% solution of the Bordeaux mixture. It is not necessary to wrap up adult plants: it is enough to tighten and twine their branches with twine. For winter, young seedlings can be covered with spruce branches.
Diseases and Pests
Most often, junipers suffer from rust, a fungal disease. You can recognize it by the characteristic thickenings, similar to the spindle, which appear on the needles, cones and skeletal shoots. In addition, in the region of the root neck, sagging and swelling are formed, which is why the bark dries up and crumbles on the trunk. If the disease is started, then the branches will gradually begin to die and the plant may die.
At the first sign of rust, immediately remove and burn all branches affected by the fungus. Sections are disinfected with 1% solution of copper sulfate and cover with garden var. To prevent rust, the plant can be treated in spring with a Bordeaux mixture and other antifungal drugs.
As well as rust, other diseases are treated:
- necrosis of the bark of branches;
- biorell cancer.
As for the main pests of juniper, then to combat them it is recommended to use the following drugs:
|Pest||A drug||Dosage (gram per 10 liters)|
In each of these cases, treatment should be repeated twice with an interval of 2 weeks.