The choices often appear endless when choosing the perfect juniper shrub for the home landscape. The shrubs are available in all shapes and sizes from a large shrub to a simple, spreading ground cover. A member of the conifer family, junipers do not form cones for reproduction but instead utilize berries which often offer their own unique appearance to the shrub and can be a valuable food source for birds.
Ideal for xeriscaping, juniper shrubs require very little water to flourish once established. Many can tolerate long stretches of drought conditions with ease. This allows the gardener to maintain a stunning green landscape and not use nearly as much water as other water-hungry shrubs.
Juniper shrubs will tolerate virtually any soil, even alkaline but they do require adequate drainage. They do not tolerate wet roots for an extended time period.
Slow to grow, the juniper shrub rarely needs any form of pruning or trimming. Many people choose to plant annuals beside the juniper shrub as they await its eventual growth.
Apply two to three inches of mulch around the juniper shrub to keep weeds reduced. The large, spreading junipers are ideal ground cover because they dramatically keep weeds out of the flowerbed as they sprawl outward.
Avoid using chemical fertilizers on a juniper shrub. Nitrogen can easily damage the juniper. It rarely require any fertilizing to maintain their outstanding looks. Applying a simple layer of aged manure or compost around its base each spring will usually meet their nutrient needs even in nutrient poor soil.
Juniper shrubs suffer from very few pests. Spider mites may afflict them but are easily washed away with good hosing that will need to be repeated every few days over the course of a few weeks to gain control of the pest. Applying miticides is also an effective choice.
Consider the eventual size of the juniper when planting it beside walkways, foundations or doorways. Junipers are often a favorite shrub to plant beside headstones in cemeteries across the nation due to their ease of care but many who plant the shrubs do not take into consideration their eventual size so they headstones often become obscured by the foliage, tipped by the excessive growth or distorted when the shrub reaches its inevitable size.
Many varieties of juniper shrubs offer fragrant foliage and wood that can grace the landscape.